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Lords of the Sky: Fighter Pilots and Air Combat, from the Red Baron to the F-16 | [Dan Hampton]

Lords of the Sky: Fighter Pilots and Air Combat, from the Red Baron to the F-16

The New York Times best-selling author of Viper Pilot and retired USAF F-16 legend Dan Hampton offers the first comprehensive popular history of combat aviation - a unique, entertaining, and action-packed look at the aces of the air and their machines, from the Red Baron and his triplane in World War I to today's technologically expert flying warriors in supersonic jets.
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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Viper Pilot and retired USAF F-16 legend Dan Hampton offers the first comprehensive popular history of combat aviation - a unique, entertaining, and action-packed look at the aces of the air and their machines, from the Red Baron and his triplane in World War I to today's technologically expert flying warriors in supersonic jets.

One of the most decorated fighter pilots in history, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Dan Hampton goes back 100 years to tell the extraordinary story of the most famous fighter planes and the brave and daring heroes who made them legend.

Drawing on his expertise, Hampton shines a spotlight on the pioneers who have ruled the air from World War I through the Cold War to today. He provides unique insight into gutsy pioneers such as Manfred von Richthofen and his red triplane, and the flyboys in the iconic P51 Mustang who faced the Nazi Lufwaffe. Here, too, is a thoughtful look at modern air warriors, including his own exploits in the high-tech f-16 Falcon.

Interwoven throughout this sweeping narrative history is Hampton's personal account of traveling the world to find these storied aircraft. Strapping himself into the cockpit of such planes, he shares the thrill and experience of flying each. Exhilarating, told in his acclaimed high-octane style, Lords of the Sky is a fresh look at the development of aviation for history and military buffs alike.

©2014 Ascalon, LLC (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (96 )
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4.2 (86 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Znapel 07-31-14
    Znapel 07-31-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Great history, but ending goes off-topic"
    Any additional comments?

    I grabbed Lords of the Sky after having read Hampton's other excellent book Viper Pilot. Most of my knowledge of air combat is from WWII and later. Hampton's history of the very beginnings of military aviation and fighter combat was very interesting. It also provides a basis to show the sharp contrasts in just how quickly aviation matured. And how some things (the core of air combat) remained the same. I appreciated the author's telling of stories from more than just an American point of view.

    If I had any qualms it would be that the post-Korea part of the story mostly involves Americans, SAMs, and Weasels. Given that Hampton was a USAF Weasel pilot this is not surprising. There's a good account of Weaseling in Viper Pilot and I found it very interesting. However, I think the focus here takes the story off-topic.

    I was disappointed that harsh lessons of air combat in Vietnam and America's losing touch with ACM prior to it weren't really touched on. Neither was the creation of Red Flag and Top Gun. John Boyd and the theory of energy-manueverability weren't mentioned. The Air Force's air superiority fighter, the F-15, is mentioned only in passing, and its replacement the F-22 is also mentioned just once (as a multi-billion dollar, single-mission waste).

    Those qualms aside it was a great all around book, with me learning something in every chapter. His stories do a good job of immersing you into combat in various eras. The narration was fantastic. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in air combat.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 07-29-14
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 07-29-14 Member Since 2006

    Tell us about yourself!

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    "Outstanding history of the fighter pilot"

    This book weaves histories of the pilots, planes, tactics, weapons and personal stories together in an informative and entertaining way. John Pruden's narration was very good.
    A very good book combined with a very good narration yields a very pleasurable listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Ventura, CA, United States 08-10-14
    Steve Ventura, CA, United States 08-10-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting, but very technical"
    Any additional comments?

    If you are very familiar with all types of airplanes, flying jargon, military anachronisms, flying formations and military terminology, you will like this book. If, like me, you are not so well versed in these things, you will find this book a slow read and a bit hard to follow. I would have preferred to see the author pick out a few key, milestone advances in fighter planes and to have developed those in detail rather than cover so many different types of planes and training evolutions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph 01-14-15
    Joseph 01-14-15
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    "Fantastic book"

    Great book provides enough in depth history to keep you oriented. Very well written with great narration. Truly fantastic book on air combat. Listening to this once is not enough!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mitchell J. Albala Seattle, WA United States 12-05-14
    Mitchell J. Albala Seattle, WA United States 12-05-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written, but not enough about the "Lords""
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Full disclosure: I didn't finish this book. As other's have noted, this book is very technical. There's also a lot of background history, which is very well written, and easy to understand. So you can learn something from that. It starts off very well with WWI, and tells the stories of many pilots, but after that (I got as far as the start of WWII), there isn't much about the pilots themselves, which is what the title implies and what I was looking for. So, for what the book is — mostly history and technical details, it's excellent. But for what it ought to have been — more about the pilots — not so good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James E. Johnston 06-27-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This book is a shack (hits a bullseye)"
    Would you listen to Lords of the Sky again? Why?

    After reading Edward H. Sims - The Greatest Aces, I thought I had gotten the fighter pilot history lesson. Little did I know there were yet vast unpublished information about the historical ascent of fighter pilots that had contributed to their rise. Dan Hampton has scored a hit here and retrieved history lessons I had never heard before. He does a great job with detail (with audio you must not slumber least you will miss something important). Well arranged with a historical rise beginning with the Wright brothers to modern day aircraft, he manages to describe why a fighter pilot can be skillfully honed but not created. This skill is in so many ways (he calls it hands) must be part of the natural order of creation.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Puts together history in the right order to explain the rise of the fighter pilot, his tactics and their strategies.


    Have you listened to any of John Pruden’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Great


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Pride. Someone has finally explained the uniqueness of the fighter pilot


    Any additional comments?

    If you are disappointed that you are not a fighter pilot and upset that you never got the chance, than this book is not for you. If you can find objectivity in your heart without the jealous pains of "Why not me!", then you will find out why the fighter fraternity is for just a few precious individuals. I have seen so many pilots think they have the "Right Stuff", only to be losers.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark MARQUETTE, MI, United States 08-30-14
    Mark MARQUETTE, MI, United States 08-30-14 Member Since 2011

    22 retired Army officer. History buff , WWII and flying enthusiast. I love to read, but I work as a gunsmith and firearm instructor and just don't have the time, audible is my FIX !!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Waste of time"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Rewrite it by someone who know how to write.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Dan Hampton again?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I want my money back, this one just sucked.

    2 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results
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  • Andy
    Hampshire
    9/12/14
    Overall
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    "Bandits at 6 o'clock"

    I really liked this book and would recommend it but in-line with some other reviews the content of the book was slightly different to what i anticipated. I expected a book purely concerned with fighters and the pilots who flew them but large chunks of text are taken up with historical notes on the campaigns behind the fights. While these are done well anyone will a good understand of the conflicts may find these sections frustrating.

    The core material focusing on the planes and pilots was done very well with the admiration the author has for all the aviators shining through.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Paul S. Turner
    birmingham ,england
    7/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The real top guns"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Lords of the Sky Unabridged to be better than the print version?

    Some books are better listened to than read. And this is one of those


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Lords of the Sky Unabridged?

    Wild weasels over Vietnam


    What about John Pruden’s performance did you like?

    A very good narrator


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The very best of the best


    Any additional comments?

    A wonderful book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • G
    St Leonards On Sea, United Kingdom
    12/2/14
    Overall
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    "Gripping tales of 100 years of fighter aviation"
    What did you like most about Lords of the Sky Unabridged?

    After reading Viper Pilot I was keen to once more hear Dan Hampton's wonderfully worded proles on the ballet of air combat, to on non-flyer he really brings to life the excitement, terror and also the unbelievable complexity of dogfighting, so much more than point and shoot.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The historical background provided was at just the right level and in fact is quite excellently written. Hampton is quite opinionated and makes no apologies for it.


    What about John Pruden’s performance did you like?

    The performers' tone and accent fits perfectly with I'd imagine from a seasoned USAF pilot, not to mention the sound effects!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results

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