• Terror of the Autumn Skies

  • The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I
  • By: Blaine Pardoe
  • Narrated by: John McLain
  • Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (235 ratings)

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Terror of the Autumn Skies

By: Blaine Pardoe
Narrated by: John McLain
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Publisher's Summary

Frank Luke, Jr., was an unlikely pilot. In the Great War, when fliers were still "knights of the air", Luke was an ungallant loner, a kid from Arizona who collected tarantulas, shot buzzards, and boxed miners. But during two torrid weeks in September 1918, he was the deadliest man on the Western Front. In only 10 missions, he destroyed 14 heavily defended German balloons and four airplanes, a rampage unequalled even by the dreaded von Richtofen, and the second highest American tally of the entire war. Cocksure and constantly reprimanded, Luke was actually under arrest on the day of his final flight, but he stole a plane to join the fatal action that won him the first Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to a pilot.

Blaine Pardoe retraces and refreshes Frank Luke's story through recently discovered correspondence. What emerges is a portrait of a life out of an "Old West" that was, by the late Teens, colliding with modernity. Frantic, short, and splendid, the life of Frank Luke, Jr. dramatizes the tragic intervention of an American spirit in the war that devastated Europe.

©2011 Blaine L. Pardoe (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Terror of the Autumn Skies

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Terror of the Autumn skies

Very well researched, I like all the facts the back ground of Luke's strengths and weaknesses and his single mindedness to finish what he started to do.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very good but not totally outstanding

Well researched and well presented. I liked the book and it was worth the cost, but I cannot say it was over the top like some of the books I have listened to.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

Great story filled with history. Felt like I was there in the action A great job of narrating

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Very nice recount of a historic aviator

A very good recount of Frank, Luke Junior, and his life in the army air corps

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fine research held back by unpolished writing

Highly sympathetic bio, written in an unpolished style that adds to the overarching “aw shucks” feel of the book. Many imaginary conversations are inserted, giving the feel of a work of fiction. However, the author pulls from numerous sources to provide background info on his subject. Access to German war records lends humanity to the enemy.

The author analyzes and compares multiple versions of Luke’s life as presented in various sources written over many years, discrediting those that have been embellished into fiction. Despite his thorough sourcing efforts, the author’s writing includes errors of terminology, grammar, and usage. In short, fine research is held back by unpolished writing. And he stretches the metaphor of dead pilots “flying west” much farther than needed.

Reader frequently has trouble with pronunciation — for example, in WWI Germans were referred to as “bosch,” the French word for cows, which is pronounced “bahsh,” not “boosh.” Additionally, he has the annoying habit of assuming contrived accents for every quotation cited. Finally, it’s very slow reading — suggest speed 1.4 or higher.

Many thanks to Audible for making this volume available free of charge.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story of an American flyer in WWI

I had heard of Frank Luke Jr. but I had no idea what a colorful life this brave young man lived. The author rigorously researched and eloquently told Luke’s short life.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Just another Tragic story of Ww1

Over all i enjoyed the book, learned about a brave young man who died heroically, but it was one small tragedy in a time full of tragedy. A life never got to be completely fulfilled. Now main complaints are the way the narrator said some fo the names annoyed me. Then when every lime about a pilot dying was something about them flying off into the sunset

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Great story of an amazing pilot!

As an native of Arizona I was aware of Luke and his deeds from WW1. This book really fleshed out the man and gave proper attention to his life and exploits.

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  • JS
  • 05-02-22

Good story. Reader is just ok.

Excellent historical research & accuracy. This is tempered, however, by the mechanical & almost computer-like voice of the reader. He also repeatedly mispronounced many words. The Meuse River, for example, is constantly referred to as the “Moose River.”

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    4 out of 5 stars

solid listen

narrator sounds like Steve Blum, and author seems to take historical inaccuracies as an insult, which is nice

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-22

Dreadful

undoubtedly the worst combination of badly written book matched to appalling narration that I have come across on Audible. Dreadful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-12-22

Good book

Didn’t know about this pilot he deserves to be remembered. The author managed to bring this time period to life, the book is full of well researched history well done.

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  • GC
  • 01-23-22

An Enlightening WW1 biography

Accounts of WW1 air combatants tend to be consigned to a few National Aces interspersed with few other recognised accomplished Allied airmen. Thus I was fully engrossed in this detailed account of a fearless young American gladiator of the skies when the very ability to get aloft and remain there without the added danger of enemy actions was truly impressive. A well collated and well delivered biography of an otherwise lost character. Recommended.