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Paperback Yeager : An Autobiography Book

ISBN: 0553256742

ISBN13: 9780553256741

Yeager : An Autobiography

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Book Overview

General Chuck Yeager was the greatest test pilot of them all--the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound . . . the World War II flying ace who shot down a Messerschmitt jet with a prop-driven P-51 Mustang . . . the hero who defined a certain quality that all hotshot fly-boys of the postwar era aimed to achieve: the right stuff. Now Chuck Yeager tells his whole incredible life story with the same "wide-open, full throttle" approach that has...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Life Worth Living Vicariously

If I could jump inside one person's head Being-John-Malkovich style and experience their entire life, beginning-to-end, without regard to anything but the sheer roller coaster thrill of it, I'd probably pick Chuck Yeager. (Granted, the guy's not dead yet. But unless he meets a truly horrendous end--eaten alive, say, by Bengal Tigers, while slow-roasting over a barbecue pit--I'd consider myself a truly lucky man to see everything he's seen and do everything he's done.) Ripping through the sound barrier in a bullet-shaped orange rocket plane, battling Messerschmitts in the cold European skies, testing exotic aircraft of all shapes and sizes in the bleak Mojave desert, hunting and fishing and hiking the high Sierras, hooting and hollering with friends on crazy drunken misadventures--it all sounds too fun to be legal, and except for the hooting and hollering part, I haven't done any of it. What's more, he lived the kind of life that people don't seem to believe in anymore, the life of the self-made man who rises from nothing, who picks himself up by his own bootstraps and succeeds through good ol' Yankee Doodle initiative, ability and gumption. One of the nice things about this book, though, is that he doesn't rub it in. He's the first one to acknowledge how lucky he's been to live the life he's lived and live to tell about it. An upside-down-bolt on an airplane aileron, parachute shroud lines that almost burnt through after an ejection gone awry--any of these things could have ended this remarkable life long before old age, and he knows it. Beyond the good luck, though, he knew enough not to press his luck. One realizes, reading this book, that Yeager's flying career's remarkable not because he took chances, but because he didn't get so cocky and full of himself that he took one chance too many. In the test pilot business, it's better to fade away than to burn out (or up). I last read this when I was a kid, not long after it came out--I'd been blown away by "The Right Stuff" and was nuts about everything aviation-and-space related. I don't think I've seen it in twenty years, but I've had a hankering to read it for a while now, so I picked it up, put down the boring weighty intellectual tomes I usually read, and ripped through it in a couple days, eagerly smuggling it into the bathroom at work to steal some pleasure out of the boring workday. I'll never live this life, never get a pilot's license--with my narcolepsy and my bad eyes, I probably shouldn't even have a driver's license--but thanks to this book I can live Chuck Yeager's life vicariously, for a couple days, anyway.

Balls Out!!!

Legendary flying ace Chuck Yeager has put on paper not only his life, but his amazing character as well.Since I was a child I was told the stories of Chuck Yeager by my brothers.One of whom was an aviator himself, and was in awe of this man.When I read his autobiography, which is definitely one of the best books I've ever read, I felt a new kind of respect for the man. A man who was never given a college education, yet managed to be one of the greatest aviators and men in history. He overcame the odds more than a few times.What touched me most about this book was it's honesty.He never embellishes the truth, and tells it like it is, always. The book may not be the best articulated book in history, but that is because that is not Chuck's way.He recounts all the major events in aviation history with a style that reveals his passion, and his determination that if you are going to do something, do it right.Eloquently put by Chuck, do it balls out.I most enjoyed his manner in the book, fun loving without losing sight of himself, his demeanour is that of a mischievous brother who'll stand up for what he believes in, no matter what.This man is a role model and one of the world's finest heroes. Read the book and meet the man.

One to read over and over

The word around the campfire is that Chuck Yeager is real SOB. Fortunately, I heard this long after I'd read this book and decided he was anything but. I still question this "SOB" assessment. General Yeager signs books, answers fan mail and cracks great jokes. This is the Chuck Yeager that comes across in the pages of this book, which is undoubtedly one of the best aviation yarns ever written. Yeager had a way of being at the right place at the right time. Those places and times form the heart of this book, and the heart of the golden age of aviation itself. If there is a person most qualified to tell the story of how America transitioned from piston-fired aircraft into the supersonic jet age, Chuck is that person. Told in a loose, casual manner, the story whizzes along at mach speed, slowing only to allow "other voices" (friends, family, comrades) to further illustrate Chuck's highly adventurous life. The book can be very funny, as when Yeager describes "topping" a tree with his WWII trainer's wingtip; it can be suspenseful, as when Yeager and others describe his nearly fatal flight beyond Mach 2. And the book can be sad, as when he illustrates the dangers of flight testing by revealing that streets at Edwards Air Force Base were named after fallen test pilots. Of course, it's all old news now - some of the lore has even decayed into clichés. But the magic of this book is that the moment you pick it up and start reading, it all seems new again.Yeager bashers always seem to miss what this book hits on so well; it's not the things he did, it's the way he did them. This isn't the story of a war ace turned arrogant test pilot; this is the story of a country boy who inadvertently made a name for himself merely by doing what came naturally to him. We should all be so lucky.

a delightful yarn by an American original

This is a well-written book, whether the credit goes to Mr. Yeager or his ghost-writer. I liked the commentaries by Yeager's wife and his fellow pilots, and I loved the tough-guy prose that really was honestly earned. Yeager started out as a sergeant-pilot and ended by becoming one of the most famous USAF test pilots that ever was. You can't help but like the man.

A straight shooting biography of several amazing lives.

Yeager personafied the WWII generation, the finest ever produced by America. His humble description of his amazing life is inspiring to all and incredible to those with a love of aviation. Besides his own history, he chronicles the life of several other people, such as lady pilots Pancho Barnes and Jackie Cochran, who also lived lives that read like movie scripts. A book that has to be read several times to be fully appreciated. Also check out "The First and the Last", by Adolf Galland, for an equally unusual true account by a great aviator and leader. Farron Dacus, Irving, Texas.
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