A long book without a dull word in it. (Some might take exception to the roll call of pilots with whom Gann has worked and who have fallen victim to that hunter, fate, but so great is the interest the reader builds in these men, that most will want to know their end.) Nineteen years of Ernest Gann's life were dedicated to his own role and this is the story of those years:-of the grueling training, of the assignment to experienced pilots as a virtual extension course, as the trial and error- with the margin allowed for error terrifyingly small, of living with fear and it concommitants. Millions of miles of air were compassed in these years, mainly in commercial flying, and he learned to know far reaches of his own country, the Atlantic, the Pacific and the cruel northland. One finds here the stuff of which many of his books were subsequently made: chapters XI and XII recording the true story behind Island in the Sky; chapter XVIII, Tragedy and Escape, which is less close a parallel, contains some of the ingredients that went into The High and the Mighty -- and the overall reach of factual, emotional, philosophical actuality that gives his creative works such a powerful sense of authenticity. It is absorbing reading and through its pages the man- as well as his chosen field- comes alive.