TROPHY FOR EAGLES by Walter J. Boyne


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One of the coauthors of The Wild Blue (1986) tells a longish story of love, ambition, jealousy, and technology around and about the development of aviation in the US--from the time of Lindbergh's Atlantic crossing to the Spanish rehearsal for WW II. This leisurely look at the birth of the modern aviation industry hangs on the doings of two flyers, one American, one German. The American is Frank "Bandy" Bandfield, a flying-school classmate and chum of Charles Lindbergh who is all set to go after the transatlantic prize in competition with Lindy--until the plane he has developed with his partner Hadley Roget goes up in a mysterious hangar fire. Bandfield can't prove it, but he feels certain the fire is the work of very unpleasant rival Bruno Hafner, another contestant for the flying prize. Roget nurses a lifelong hatred for WW I German ace Hafner, who, like Bandfield, is trying to stake out a claim in the aircraft business. Hafner has a lot going for him. He's married to a glamorous, wealthy widow, also a pilot, and he's got none of those pesky scruples that seem to hold Bandfield back. The two knock heads throughout the 1930's, competing for prize money and industrial and military contracts, not even patching things up when Bandfield marries Hafner's stepdaughter, who is--like her mum, her husband, her stepfather, and her late father--one heck of a fine pilot. Everything comes to a head in the skies over Guernica. The times are interesting, the industry is interesting, the real personalities are interesting, and some of the views of flying as a rough-and-tumble low-tech activity are interesting; but Bandfield's a bit of a stick, Hafner's an unrelieved louse, and things move just a little too slowly. All taxi, no takeoff.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1989
ISBN: 517-57276-1
Publisher: Crown
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