Call it rather Stories from the Best True Aviation Books and consider it also a first-person history of flying from world War I--Rickenbacker intercepted on patrol--to John Glenn watching the removal of the ""umbilical cord"" that linked his capsule to the ground. In between there's Lincoln Ellsworth stamping out a runway on the Arctic ice field, Bernt Balchen logging the first flight Over the South Pole, Robert Lee Scott taking the measure of Claire Chennault. Sometimes the achievement is just staying up--Sir Gordon Taylor climbs along the struts of his faltering seaplane to transfer oil from a dead to a disabled engine; at quire a different pitch, Lou Reichers refuels and restocks in the air to stay aloft for thirteen days and nights and set a new endurance record. Also buoyed by the exhilaration of the early days of flying are Dean Smith's funny recollections of flying cross-country to deliver the mail. The reflections of Saint-Exupery (from Wind Stars and Sand) and Richard Bach (from Stranger to the Ground), remembrances of World War II, experiences racing and testing, and selections from The Spirit of St. Louis and Fate Is the Hunter complete a variegated collection that's part mystique, part mechanics, part madness and always very immediate.