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Absorbing if selective reminiscences from a WW II flying ace/author (the bestselling God is my Co-Pilot) whose venturesome retirement matches his eventful career as an Air Force officer. Born in Macon, Ga., Scott (who turns 80 next year) never wanted: to be anything but a fighter pilot. Despite some difficulty gaining admission, he made it through West Point and won his wings. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Scott (then stuck in a training command) found a back door to China. Once in the Asian theater, he talked his way into Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers just before the storied mercenaries were inducted into the US armed forces. While with Chennault (whom he idolizes to this day), the author performed heroically himself, shooting down 22 Japanese planes. Posted back to the States in 1943, Scott was assigned public relations duties, which allowed him time to dictate God is my Co-Pilot. Somewhat less than upwardly mobile in the postwar Air Force, the maverick warrior left the service as a brigadier general in 1957. He remained active on many fronts, including the lecture circuit and as a writer whose experiences had expanded to encompass big-game hunting. When his beloved wife died in 1971, the author began roaming further afield. As a septuagenarian, for example, he traveled the entire length of the Great Wall of China. In mid-1984, Scott also cashed in a wealth of IOUs with the old-boy network to fly an F-16 jet at supersonic speeds. Currently, the old, bold airman is heading a nonprofit organization that's developing an aviation museum at Robins AFB near his childhood home in central Georgia. Beyond some amusing yarns about his long-distance courtship of wife Kitty Rix, Scott offers little in the way of personal detail. Nor does he dwell on either military politics or defense issues. Well worth the price of admission, though, are the author's vivid accounts of aerial combat, the excitement of flight itself, and his civilian exploits. Scott's amiably brash and frequently dramatic memoir has 16 pages of photographs (not seen).

Pub Date: March 1st, 1988
Publisher: Bantam