Friday, April 29, 2011

Yeager -An Autobiography (Review)

Last month, I had the chance to watch "The Right Stuff" for the first time. I know how odd it might seem that someone like me, a veritable space-nut, had never seen this film about the Mercury Astronauts and early rocket flight. The movie came out when I was only 3 years old, so it was something that had escaped my attention for all these years.

After I watched the movie (which was excellent, by the way), my father mentioned I might like to read Chuck Yeager's autobiography. He'd picked up a copy of it at a local used bookstore a while back, so there was no waiting or searching for it online. I was able to dig in the very next day.

Yeager's autobiography is an exciting account of his life, starting with his humble upbringing in West Virginia, continuing through his time as a fighter pilot in WWII, his breaking of the Sound Barrier in the X1, and onward until his retirement as a Brigadier General in 1975. It's an altogether amazing true-life story.

The book is told in a very informal manner. Most of it is like sitting down and listening to an old fighter pilot talk about his exploits. There are also little asides speckled throughout the book called "other voices," where someone important in Chuck's life (such as his wife Glennis, or old friend Bud Anderson) will add their perspective. This unusual format made this one of the most entertaining history books I've ever read.

If you have any interest in early rocket flight, WWII flyers, or just want to read about an exceptional American hero, you can't go wrong with Yeager's autobiography. It's a 5-star read all the way.

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