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BookBrowse Reviews Enduring Courage by John F. Ross

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Enduring Courage

Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed

by John F. Ross

Enduring Courage by John F. Ross X
Enduring Courage by John F. Ross
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  • First Published:
    May 2014, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2015, 416 pages

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At the turn of the twentieth century two new technologies - the car and airplane - burst onto the American scene. At the hot center of them both was Eddie Rickenbacker. Enduring Courage is his story.

Enduring Courage, by John F. Ross, is a huge hit with BookBrowse readers. 15 out of 17 reviews gave it a 4 or a 5. Why were pages flying, and why are readers so mesmerized with ace pilot Eddie Rickenbacker?

In Enduring Courage, John F. Ross provides a vivid portrait of the utterly amazing Eddie Rickenbacker, who was forever at the center of action throughout his long life. Rickenbacker's resume included that of a successful race car driver in the early 1900s, America's top flying ace in WWI, and some 24 harrowing days adrift at sea in WWII. Not only is this a thrilling tale of bravery and perseverance, but Ross also presents a window into eras of time that have long gone by (David M). The book chronicles more than just the life of Eddie Rickenbacker. It's an amazing journey through the history of car racing and the rapid evolution of the airplane (Mary Lou C). I've lived in Iowa my whole life; we tend to claim anyone who crossed our borders or lived here for any time at all as Iowans, yet I had no idea Eddie Rickenbacker lived here to drive the Cornstalk Circuit and work/race for the Duesenbergs. There was much more to this man than being a WWI flying ace (Carol T). Eddie Rickenbacker could have been the real-life prototype for Indiana Jones (Linda H).

Readers were humbled by Eddie Rickenbacker's heroic nature and innovative action:

We forget the cost and sacrifice for so many things we rely on in our daily lives today and take for granted. Reading this historical account definitely makes one aware of that dangerous journey and those courageous men whose vision and guts brought us to this point (Mary Lou C). A great glimpse into the character of men who helped build the auto and aviation industry into what it is today. Eddie Rickenbacker and his contemporaries pushed beyond the limit whether in racing or flying (Rosemary T). We need more genuine heroes like Eddie Rickenbacker. Author John Ross offers a thoroughly researched, engaging, well written biography about this memorable 20th century WWI ace pilot and aviation pioneer (Linda H). Rickenbacker truly was a pioneer in the racecar and aviation field. His childhood was a tough one, but like a phoenix he rose above the ashes and made the most of his life (Laura G).

They were also impressed with the way John Ross brought this story vividly to life; its fast pace and impeccable research:

John Ross did an incredible job of relating historical facts while still bringing to life the story of Rickenbacker, a man many have heard of but few actually knew. I don't usually read a lot of books on history, but found this book compelling (Rosemary T). In this biography I learned in stunning detail why my parents and millions of others revered Rickenbacker. In well sourced, fast-paced style we are told of him assuming the role of man of the house at age 14, his death-defying racing of primitive automobiles, his becoming ace of aces in the WWI air war and his survival, decades, later during another war. If you like history dished up as entertainment and appreciate life lessons in a true story, read this book (Sara F). This is, without a doubt, one of the easiest books that I have ever read. Ross knows his subject very well and it shines through! The narrative flows and is never dull or flat (Jane M).

Readers did say, though, that the attention to mechanical details made it sometimes hard to follow:

The book hit a few slow spots (for a non-mechanical female), but overall it was wonderful and kept me glued to its pages (Mary Lou C). What a page-turner! The book reads like fiction, but I learned so much about WWI flying and its changing philosophy. At times, a little too technical for me (Catharine L).

All in all, readers were captivated, and thought many others would love Eddie Rickenbacker's story:

The clear writing and fast pace of this book were a joy to read. I highly recommend it. I think any history buff would love this book, along with book clubs that enjoy memoirs and biographies (Kathleen B). This is a history of car racing, airplanes, wars and survival. History buffs will enjoy this book. It is a good one for book clubs with male members (Cynthia S). I think it would be great supplemental reading for high school history (Catharine L). This would be great for a person who loves to work on cars and engines and understands all of it (Bea C).

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in June 2014, and has been updated for the May 2015 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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