I COULD NEVER BE SO LUCKY AGAIN by James H. Doolittle

I COULD NEVER BE SO LUCKY AGAIN

The Memoirs of General James H. 'Jimmy' Doolittle

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The reminiscences of an authentic American hero who, while best known for leading a bold airstrike against Japan early in WW II, has made his mark in a wealth of other endeavors. If the memoirs at hand read more like a bare-bones flight log than a reflective autobiography, they at least afford an engrossing record of a remarkable and eventful life. With editorial assistance from Glines (Attack on Yamamoto, Four Came Home, etc.), Doolittle (who turns 95 in October) looks back on seven decades of conspicuous accomplishment as a pilot, military officer, scholar, and businessman. Raised in gold-rush Alaska, the diminutive author earned spending money as a teenaged prizefighter and hard-rock miner. Attracted by the adventure of aviation, he left college in 1917 (one semester shy of a degree) to enlist in the US Army's Air Service. Doolittle won his wings but did not get overseas. After the Armistice, he stayed on to gain renown for the fledgling Air Corps and for himself as a daredevil stunt pilot and racer. The author also earned a Ph.D. at MIT, making substantive contributions to the emergent science of aeronautics. With a growing family to support, however, he resigned his commission in 1930 to accept a lucrative position with Shell Petroleum. Doolittle's corporate post kept him in the limelight, but his greatest acclaim lay ahead. Having rejoined the Army after war broke out in Europe, he organized and led the so-called ``Doolittle Raid'' that helped stem steady reverses in the Pacific theater and that won the author a general's stars and the Congressional Medal of Honor. Since WW II, Doolittle, an outspoken crusader for air power, has served on high-profile commissions and fared well in private enterprise. Doolittle makes a fine job of recalling his public triumphs and setbacks; beyond pro-forma tributes to his wife, though, he acknowledges or dramatizes almost no personal joys or sorrows (even the 1955 suicide of the author's son is dealt with in summary fashion). This cavil apart, a captivating account of a genuinely inspiring career. (Three 16-page photo inserts--not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-553-07807-0
Page count: 592pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1991




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