List Price: $ 14.95
Save 16 % off List Price
The Millionaire's Unit : The Aristocratic Flyboys who Fought the Great War and Invented American Airpower
The Millionaires' Unit is the story of a gilded generation of young men from the zenith of privilege: a Rockerfeller, the son of the head of the Union Pacific Railroad, several who counted friends and relatives among presidents and statesmen of the day. They had it all and, remarkably by modern standards, they were prepared to risk it all to fight a distant war in France. Driven by the belief that their membership in the American elite required certain sacrifice, schooled in heroism and the nature of leadership, they determined to be first into the conflict, leading the way ahead of America's declaration that it would join the war. At the heart of the group was the Yale flying club, six of whom are the heroes of this book. They would share rivalries over girlfriends, jealousies over membership in Skull and Bones, and fierce ambition to be the most daring young man over the battlefields of France, where the casualties among flyers were chillingly high. One of the six would go on to become the principal architect of the American Air Force's first strategic bomber force. Others would bring home decorations and tales of high life experiences in Paris. Some would not return, having made the greatest sacrifice of all in perhaps the last noble war.
Nostalgia permeates this romantic account of how U.S. air power was established in WWI by a privileged, patriotic group of undergraduates known as the Yale Flying Club. The book was developed from an article published in the Yale Alumni Magazine, and it shows: Wortman harkens back to a bygone era when campus regattas were the place to be seen, Harvard-Yale football games drew crowds 80,000 strong and, perhaps most jarringly, American isolationism placed the country's air command not just behind Germany's fearsome air service, but behind British and French forces as well. Preparing themselves for fire fights and bombing missions that generated harrowing casualty figures, these wealthy, elite Yale students saw it as their responsibility to fight on the front lines, and in the first wave. In a brief but important epilogue, Wortman spells out just how profoundly the times, and in particular the Yale campus, has changed in the past 90 years. Though times have indeed changed, and not entirely for the better, Wortman's creeping nostalgia serves to make attractive a history littered with inconvenient details; how readers react to this viewpoint-especially with regard to the compare-and-contrast epilogue-will largely determine their opinion of the book.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
May 29, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.