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An inspiriting story related with journalistic rigor and disarming frankness.

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A former U.S. Navy pilot battling Parkinson’s disease attempts to find a lost aircraft in this debut memoir.

In 1989, an A-6 Intruder, a Navy fighter jet, went down off the coast of Whidbey Island, Washington. For a variety of reasons—turbulent weather, rough tidal currents, and limited underwater visibility—the Navy search was unable to recover the $30 million aircraft. Eventually, they simply gave up, deciding that any further attempt would be “futile and cost prohibitive.” At the time that the Intruder went missing, Hunt was in the “ready room,” the Navy squadron’s command center; the aircraft’s disappearance was personal to him, as he’d flown it over 500 times. Over the next quarter-century, he fantasized about tracking down the lost plane on his own and accomplishing what the Navy couldn’t. This dream was unfortunately complicated in 2005 when the author, then a 43-year-old commercial airline pilot, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. As a result, his flying days were over and his diving days were numbered. Still, even when he was scheduled to undergo major brain surgery, Hunt was more inspired than demoralized by his condition, and he committed himself to the thrilling, if improbable task, of finding the Intruder: “My battle with Parkinson’s did more than instill in me a hope of finding the jet,” he writes, “it fostered a profound belief that anything was possible if I honestly gave it my best effort.” The author’s account of his search is as meticulous as the preparations for it, showing how he doggedly pursued clues to the Intruder’s whereabouts like an investigative journalist. He also offers a candid discussion of his deteriorating health condition, his medical treatments, and the torpor that both eventually visited upon him, which made him turn to alcohol. Additionally, Hunt provides a brief history of the Intruder—a key player during the Vietnam War that was retired during Operation Desert Storm. The author’s prose is always crystal-clear and sometimes moving, particularly when he discusses the ways in which his quest revitalized his life in the face of physical decline. 

An inspiriting story related with journalistic rigor and disarming frankness. 

Pub Date: July 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5463-3497-2

Page Count: 238

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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