Summary and book reviews of Air Warriors by Douglas C. Waller

Air Warriors

The Inside Story of the Making of a Navy Pilot

by Douglas C. Waller

Air Warriors
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 1998, 496 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 1999, 255 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

An absorbing behind-the-scenes account of the physical and psychological trials endured by the most specialized group of pilots in military history.

Veteran journalist Douglas Waller, who wrote The Commandos after observing the training of special forces soldiers, chronicles his rare and intimate experience with the training program for Navy pilots in Air Warriors. Waller, who was granted permission to participate in the pilots' grueling training regime, has written an absorbing behind-the-scenes account of the physical and psychological trials endured by the most specialized group of pilots in military history.

From his bird's-eye view in the passenger's seat, Waller follows pilot trainees through two years of intense preparation. He offers vivid illustrations from the fray: hair-raising aerial dogfights; stomach-swallowing dive-bombing runs; high speed tactical maneuvers grazing the desert floor; and numerous nerve-twisting aircraft carrier takeoffs and landings. In addition to his own experiences and those of the group of trainees he joins, his research is based on interviews with hundreds of other students and their instructors. Hurtling through the air at death-defying speeds, these pilots-in-training struggle to maintain their composure while withstanding conditions that are designed to challenge them to the very limits of human endurance.

Waller's deftly drawn portraits of the men and women he encounters in this singular culture of elite pilots are as satisfying as his adventure narrative. The pilots, whose grit, determination, and mental agility operate on an elevated threshold, come into sharp focus behind Waller's keen lens: their aspirations, awe inspiring. Air Warriors combines an examination of the modern Navy, recovering from past sex scandals, with a portrayal of a privileged cadre of men and women whose ambition and commitment coexist within a tightly knit group. Waller is able to capture images of these pilots training, living, and fighting with an acuity and intelligence that are often absent from Hollywood and television treatments of this diverse and fascinating subculture. Air Warriors takes the reader for the first time inside the cockpit and behind closed doors for the real story of the making of a Navy pilot.

Chapter One: The Chamber

McKinney inhaled deeply the smell of nylon canvas and metal and plastic from the flight equipment room. For three weeks he had been sitting through dreary classes, about as far as it seemed to him that he could get from anything having to do with flying. Now he was finally being fitted for a helmet and oxygen mask. The helmet wasn't too small or large like the ones he had been told to wear in the past. This time it fit perfectly. A sailor measured the distance from his nose to chin for the size of the oxygen mask that would clamp snugly to his face. For the first time in his training, Charles G. McKinney II, ensign United States Navy, felt like a pilot.

McKinney walked to the room next door. Its whitewashed, cinder block walls reached two stories high. In the middle sat the chamber, a white steel box the size of a railroad car with green tinted glass windows around it and a control panel at one end with dials and switches that would activate ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Library Journal

Navy Wings of Gold do not come cheaply. In this fast-moving study of young men and women under stress, Time staff writer Waller takes us into the intricate and intense world of Navy flight training....Recommended for public libraries.

Kirkus Reviews

An eye-opening account of how our new vastly reduced, gentrified navy works, short of recruits, given more global peacetime missions than ever by civilian officials concerned with the military as an equal-opportunity employer.

Publishers Weekly

Once readers catch on they won't want to put down this engrossing saga that will likely become an unofficial recruiting tool for naval aviation. Throughout, the would-be aviators are revealed as supremely talented, courageous and intelligent young people. And by showing how individual aviators have been unfairly tarred by the Tailhook scandal, Waller offers a powerful argument that repercussions from the infamous sex-capade have gone too far. The Navy will love this exemplary book; but so will the vast corps of military supporters and adventure-lovers.

Reader Reviews

Kathleen

Air Warriors was one of the best books I have read. It was very specific and descriptive in explaing the training of a naval aviator. If you are interested in naval aviation you would love this book. A must read!!!!

Anonymous
Marc Resnick
A terrific book! I actually got nauseous during a dog-fight chapter! Mr. Waller has shown me how demanding and dangerous it is to become a Navy Pilot.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Air Warriors, try these:

  • Lost in Shangri-La jacket

    Lost in Shangri-La

    by Mitchell Zuckoff

    Published 2012

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Lost in Shangri-La recounts the incredible true-life adventure of twenty-four officers and enlisted men and women who boarded a transport plane for a sightseeing trip , which became an unforgettable battle for survival when the plane crashed.

  • In Harm's Way jacket

    In Harm's Way

    by Doug Stanton

    Published 2002

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A harrowing, adrenaline-charged account of America's worst naval disaster at sea -- and of the heroism of the men who, against all odds, survived.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Guineveres
    The Guineveres
    by Sarah Domet
    It's a human need to know one's own identity, to belong to someone, to yearn for a place ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.