In addition to Enduring Courage, John F. Ross is also the author of War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America's First Frontier. Winner of the Fort Ticonderoga Prize for Contributions to American History, he has served as the Executive Editor of American Heritage and on the Board of Editors at Smithsonian magazine.
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John F. Ross describes the surprising facts he learned about Eddie Rickenbacker as part of his research for Enduring Courage
What inspired you to write about Eddie Rickenbacker?
As a boy I read Rickenbacker's gritty memoir, Fighting the Flying Circus, about flying against the Germans in World War One. I was thrilled by his derring-do in the skies of northeastern France. Like all good ideas/topics, something about him stuck with me for decades. I later realized that Rickenbacker offered an ideal opportunity to explore so many fascinating themes: What is the role that courage plays in our lives, for instance? And how did our national fixation with speed begin? I've also wanted to write about the American entrance into World War One, when we truly jumped onto the international stage.
Also, quite frankly, I thought it important to remind Americans about the caliber and toughness of the men and women who built this nation. We're so often paralyzed today with decisions, so afraid of risk. Rickenbacker and others embraced dangerous new technology and made it better, showed others the way forward. I wanted to remind us all of this nation's greatness.
Rickenbacker was a pioneer in two arenas of speed: ...
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