An inspiriting story related with journalistic rigor and disarming frankness.

THE LOST INTRUDER

THE SEARCH FOR A MISSING NAVY JET

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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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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