A larger-than-life hero with a towering personality, Robin Olds was a graduate of West Point and an inductee in the National College Football Hall of Fame for his All-American performance for Army. In World War II, Olds quickly became a top fighter pilot and squadron commander by the age of 22—a double ace with 12 aerial victories.
But it was in Vietnam where the man became a legend. He motivated a dejected group of pilots by placing himself under junior officers and challenging them to train him properly. He led the wing with aggressiveness, scoring another four confirmed kills and becoming a rare triple ace. With his marriage to Hollywood actress and pin-up girl Ella Raines, his nonregulation mustache and penchant for drink, Olds was a unique individual whose story is one of the most eagerly anticipated military books of the year.
Christina Olds, the daughter of Robin Olds, holds a B.A. in English and creative writing from Vassar, is a member of the Air Force Association, and is the first honorary lifetime member of the Red River Valley Association.
Ed Rasimus is a retired USAF fighter pilot who holds a B.S. in political science and an M.S. in both political science and international relations. He has previously written two books on the Vietnam air war, When Thunder Rolled and Palace Cobra.
©2010 Robin Olds with Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Massively welcomed by his legion of fans." (Walter J. Boyne, author and former director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.)
I always enjoy a good history lesson from those that actually lived it. So happy Robin's daughter was able to gather the stories of her father together to create this memorable story.
A member of the Greatest Generation, Robin Olds, a pilot's pilot tells his fascinating story with humor, accuracy, and humility. My husband, a USN retired Naval Aviator, loved this account of a fellow fighter pilot from his detail of the aircraft flown, challenges he faced on and off the ground, and the love of flying common to all pilots. I enjoyed the history of an era, the personal side of his story, as well as opening topics of conversation between my combat veteran and me that had never occurred to me to ask him about.
Robin Olds' career and life are over, but kudos to his daughter, her co-author, and the narrator for bringing this legend back to life---if only on the page or in our ears.
Say something about yourself!
I listen to more military history than is probably good for me. This audiobook stands in the top 5% of war memoirs that I've read or listened to. The narrator does a superb job, and the book is consistent, clear, and focused in a way that many war stories are not.
Then there's the subject material. The author is West Point '44. Flies P-38 Lightnings, and P-51 Mustangs during WWII, later commands an air wing over North Vietnam in F4 Phantoms, and goes on to become the Commandant of the Air Force Academy. There's enough technical detail to satisfy most engineers, but it doesn't make the material inaccessible to those who would rather skim over the details.
God, maybe it's because my own Dad was a vet of the same age, but by the end of this thing, I was so choked up I couldn't talk for awhile. What a beautiful, touching ending.
This was a vital, powerful human being, and I am sure we only touched the surface of his life.
My favorite parts were the technical and flying passages. I loved the stuff about dealing with the torque of the P-51, and mastering aircraft without any familiarization, and the war tactics.
It opened my eyes about SAC, and the inside of a previously opaque organization, The USAF.
Why couldn't a guy like that fly forever?
Robin Olds is an Air Force legend. He was "bigger than life" and always "above the mundane, red-tape hassle" so prevalent in military operations. Christina Olds, his daughter, has provided an insight into the man that makes the stories stand out. This is an outstanding biography that shows Olds, warts and all, and why he is rapidly becoming a part of the military folk lore. Highly recommended.
I met Robin Olds in 1994 at an airshow where I was the Pilot/Performer Liaison. He mentions in the book that he flew his old P-51 in 1994 and it was at that airshow. I had some one on one time with him as I chauffeured him around and if I had but known what I know now, I would have had lots to talk to him about. What an interesting man, and a real American hero.
Say something about yourself!
A member of the "Greatest Generation", a graduate of West Point, a talented fighter pilot, a principled commander and one very lucky guy. Robin Olds had an interesting life. He got to do exactly what he wanted to do, fly fighter planes. He did it very well, was lucky, and survived to tell the story. He married a Hollywood star, tragic mistake, although it lasted longer than most such marriages. A good life.
The last third of the book takes place during the Vietnam War He fought bravely and did a good job of fighting the Vietcong and protecting his pilots. He ultimately ended up as frustrated with the Executive Branch and the Diplomatic Service as the rest of us.
I'm just this guy, y'know?
... and this sure qualifies as one. The descriptions of aerial combat in WWII and over Vietnam are very well-written. The insights into family and other personal life on the home front are engaging as well.
Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.
Robin Olds is a man who would make John Wayne look like a wannabe. Olds has feet of good solid clay.
As a Vietnam vet and a lover of the military, this book had great appeal. It far exceeded my highest expectation.
If you favor the military or love America, you'll want to read this book.
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