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Publisher's Summary

In 1942, Norman Hanson learned to fly the Royal Navy's newest fighter: the US-built Chance Vought Corsair. Fast, rugged, and demanding to fly, it was an intimidating machine. But in the hands of its young Fleet Air Arm pilots, it also proved to be a lethal weapon.

Posted to the South Pacific aboard HMS Illustrious, Hanson and his squadron took the fight to the Japanese. Facing a desperate and determined enemy, Kamikaze attacks, and the ever-present dangers of flying off a pitching carrier deck, death was never far away.

Brought to life in vivid, visceral detail, Carrier Pilot is one of the finest aviators' memoirs of the war; an awe-inspiring, thrilling, sometimes terrifying, account of war in the air.

©2016 Norman Hanson (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 11-26-17

Absorbing

This memoir is about a pilot aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. Hanson was a squadron commander. Hanson tells about his time in boot camp and in pilot training. He then describes life on the carrier, HMS Illustrious. Hanson describes in detail the actions he fought on HMS Illustrious in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Lieutenant Commander Normal Hanson was born in 1914 in the village of Keighley, Yorkshire. He served in the Royal Navy from 1941 to 1946. He fought in the Pacific and took part in the Palembary refineries attack and in the Sakishima Islands.

The book is well written and almost reads like a novel. The book was originally published in 1979. It is one of the few memoires about the British Navy in the Pacific.

The book is almost thirteen hours. Chris MacDonnell does a good job narrating the story. MacDonnell is an English actor and audiobook narrator. He grew up in the acting world as both his parents worked for British film director David Lean.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • B Taub
  • Ann Arbor, MI United States
  • 09-15-17

Interesting account of little covered piece of WW2

At least here in the US, we don't hear much about the British navy in the Pacific in WW2, and even less about British naval pilots. Hanson does a nice job of recounting his experiences as one of those pilots. There was a lot to learn here, especially for aviation buffs as the author covers his flight training in Florida, his time serving in Egypt and, eventually, his work flying Corsairs from carriers in the Pacific. He mourns the close friends he lost but also, at times, gives very detailed accounts of things like the experience of flying a corsair and the experience of escaping one that had crashed and was sinking. He also, at times, demonstrates a wonderfully dry sense of humor.

I definitely recommend this book if you're interested in military aviation, WW2 naval aviation, Corsairs, or the experience of being a British naval pilot.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Gr8 pick

Really enjoyed this book! A very interesting and informative story about a carrier pilot. If you're not familiar with a British accent it can be difficult to understand but it also makes it feel authentic

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome!

awesome story and one of the best narrations I have heard on audible. really worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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British Corsair in the Pacific?

Nicely humorous account of a deadly serious business, wonderfully read. So long ago, but nothing has really changed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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beautifully written and narrated

I've read a lot of books on Naval Aviation and enjoyed all of them, but this was the best. and the narrator was superb!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Carrier Pilot

One of best stories of WWll I have read. This story presents a British pilots story and point of view.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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excellent book

very well written account of a British Corsair pilot during World War II from his perspective.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

About half way done and in no hurry to finish

This is an audiobook I listen to when there is nothing else available. It's kind of interesting but also kind of annoying with the heavy British accent of the narrator and terms which don't translate well into American English. I'm a pilot so I understand much of what he's saying but even at that I'm still left guessing more often that I'd like.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

a long listen, little pay out

loved the topic but struggle to finish , wanted more battle experiences, glad he made it home.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • TonyG
  • 10-22-17

One man's war

For those of us who have never fought in war it is almost inconceivable to understand how people experienced death, humour, dislocation, comradeship, without any of the "safe space" nonsense that afflicts the West today. These were brave men, and listening to Hanson's story is uplifting. Chris Macdonnell reads it well with clarity and empathy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen Howlett
  • 11-25-17

A new perspective on a rarely mentioned group of men

This book is a telling of the appalling losses of men and machine even before actual combat. The bravery of these men deserves far more recognition than they get. Very interesting book on the life of a man becoming a carrier pilot and the loss of most of his friends and for a change we get the British under a kamikaze attack.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Williams
  • 04-09-18

Not so well read

Not the most action but a good story none the less. Poorly narrated though with pronunciation changing from correct to incorrect and then sometimes back again

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • deltavee
  • 03-06-18

One of the best of the genre

There are many stories of the experience of war but this one is exceptional. The performance perfectly captures the author’s intent and delivers an understated but moving reading. Audible at its best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Runabout 66
  • 12-16-18

Thought provoking tale

A reminder of the heroism of all those who served in the forces during the world war 2. I found the naration a little strange at first but got used to the stile quickly. The story is well told and engaging with the right amount of humour to take the edge off the underlying threat of death faced by all.

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  • Jonathan
  • 10-10-18

A Story of British Understatement, Courage and Brotherly Love.

A married man, slightly older than his peers, wants to be an aircraft mechanic. He’s streamlined into Pilot training, sent to America to train for Aircraft Carriers and passes test after test. He makes many friends from every nationality in the Allied Forces. He also loses many in training and combat.

A narrative of humour in the face of fear; anxiety, courage, empathy, and above all brotherly love for his friends.

Beautifully narrated.

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  • julian
  • 04-04-18

One of the best Second World War books ever

So much technical detail also day-to-day life of Navy pilots
Storyteller fantastic great

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-07-18

good

good listen read by a gay sounding pom .a bit off putting
but good yarn well worth buying

2 of 3 people found this review helpful