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Chasing the Demon

A Secret History of the Quest for the Sound Barrier, and the Band of American Aces Who Conquered It
Narrated by: John Pruden
Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
4 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)
Regular price: $27.37
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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not at all what it purports to be

If you’re looking for a book in the vein of “The Right Stuff,” do yourself a favor and buy The Right Stuff. This is my first Dan Hampton, so I can’t compare it to other works, but I expected a story of the background of the pilots and the development at Edwards AFB, and even after reading negative reviews gave it the benefit of the doubt and went in excited. In truth, the bulk of the book is about the World Wars with a vague theme of the desire to fly faster, the last eighth focusing on the X-1 and the jets that pushed it up. If the book were titled tidbits of military aviation history and why I believe Yeager wasn’t first even without valid documentation, it would have been less of a letdown.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Chasing the Demon

Story is very weak and does not reflect the title at all, Has nothing to do with the X-planes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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All over the place

If you were looking for the history of breaking the sound barrier be prepared for chapter after chapter of pointless history that has little to do with the subject. this book is seriously all over the place and I found myself zoning out but missing nothing os substance.

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This Review Needs a Title...

The author states at the forward that this book is written for the common person. He's right. The subtitle of this book, "A secret history of the quest for the sound barrier and the band of American aces who conquered it", is deceptive. Approximately 10% relates to that topic--the rest is superficial history of the 20th century. If you aren't an aviation buff, then maybe this is a good read.

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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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  • 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

0 of 1 people found this review helpful