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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Viper Pilot chronicles another thrilling chapter in American aviation history: the race to break the sound barrier.

In the aftermath of World War II, the United States accelerated the development of technologies that would give it an advantage over the Soviet Union. Airpower, combined with nuclear weapons, offered a formidable check on Soviet aggression. In 1947, the United States Air Force was established. Meanwhile, scientists and engineers were pioneering a revolutionary new type of aircraft which could do what no other machine had ever done: reach mach 1 - a speed faster than the movement of sound - which pilots called "the demon."

Chasing the Demon recreates an era of excitement and danger, adventure and innovation, when the future of the free world was at stake and American ingenuity took the world from the postwar years to the space age. While the pressure to succeed was high, it was unknown whether man or machine could survive such tremendous speeds.

A decorated military pilot with years of experience flying supersonic fighter jets, Dan Hampton reveals in-depth the numerous potential hazards that emerged with the Air Force’s test flights: controls broke down, engines flamed out, wings snapped, and planes and pilots disintegrated as they crashed into the desert floor. He also introduces the men who pushed the envelope taking the cockpits of these jets, including World War II ace Major Dick Bong and 24-year-old Captain Chuck Yeager, who made history flying the Bell X-1 plane faster than the speed of sound on October 14, 1947.

Chasing the Demon recalls this period of the emerging Cold War and the brave adventurers pursing the final frontier in aviation.

©2018 Ascalon, LLC (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Definitely not “The Flight”

I have read and enjoyed many of Lt. Col. Hampton’s books including the story of Charles Lindbergh in “The Flight”. That’s what I thought this was, a focused story of achieving supersonic flight. Instead it is a wandering story that spends what I would estimate is less than 25% on the actual topic. There is a lot of material on early flight that doesn’t contribute to the main story. For a better history of early flight I’d recommend “The Wright Brothers” by McCollough. Then comes an overly long history of World War I and II which I think could have been summarized in a single chapter for this story. Most disappointing is that Gen. Chuck Yeager’s efforts are very nearly an afterthought, considering I expected the book — similar to “The Flight” — to be focused on achieving the first fully documented supersonic flight.

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Not much meat, lots of salad.

This title was very deceptive. This book is 8 1/2 hours long and only about 45 minutes are actually about the subject of breaking the sound barrier and there is very little actual detail in even that. The rest is character history and general WW I and WW II and US history. I really could have done w/o the first 7 hours.

I would suggest that listeners should find another book on the sound barrier subject - this one just does not cut it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Interesting additional facts & theories

well written and narrated. Definitely additional theories tho be considered than what official history has recorded.

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Storys of Real men.

Another great history lesson from Dan Hampton for the modern reader and a great performance by John Pruden.
I really love feeling like i am getting to know these men. Men who served our country and deserve to have their stories told.

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History lesson..

This is good aviation history lesson but took a long time to get to breaking the sound barrier.
Need to hang in there to get to the point if the book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-18

pile of shit

hay cunts this is a pile of shit get Tom Wolfs book The Right Stuff instead! it would be better if the reader had my cock in his month wile reading oh yes oooooi