The best books on military aviation

The Books I Picked & Why

A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

By Adam Makos, Larry Alexander

A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

Why this book?

Pound-for-pound, this is perhaps the best military aviation book on the market today.  During the darkest days of World War II, A Higher Call tells the story of a seemingly-improbable act of gallantry in the skies over Europe.  A wounded and hardly-airworthy B-17 limps through the sky near the conclusion of its first mission. It is soon tailed by a Bf-109, the Luftwaffe’s deadliest fighter. The Messerschmitt pilot could end the B-17 crewmen’s lives with the pull of a trigger.  But what happens next will shock the reader.  


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Call-Sign Kluso: An American Fighter Pilot in Mr. Reagan's Air Force

By Rick Tollini

Call-Sign Kluso: An American Fighter Pilot in Mr. Reagan's Air Force

Why this book?

Plenty of memoirs have been written by combat pilots, but Call Sign Kluso is truly one-of-a-kind. It weaves a captivating personal narrative within the context of America’s resurgence from the post-Vietnam era, while demonstrating the US Air Force’s transformation into the high-tech, cutting-edge organization that defeated Saddam Hussein during Operation Desert Storm. 


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Unsung Eagles: True Stories of America's Citizen Airmen in the Skies of World War II

By Jay A. Stout

Unsung Eagles: True Stories of America's Citizen Airmen in the Skies of World War II

Why this book?

Unsung Eagles is an intimate tour-de-force of air combat in World War II told, literally, from the perspective of the pilots themselves. The pilots who provided their stories for this book were all unassuming men from humble backgrounds. Yet, after Pearl Harbor, they gladly raised their right hands and swore an oath to defeat the Axis Powers. These brave young men flew various combat missions over the European and Pacific theaters. Yet, after the war, they came home to resume their normal lives and said nary a word about their wartime service, until now.


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Red Eagles: America’s Secret MiGs

By Steve Davies

Red Eagles: America’s Secret MiGs

Why this book?

Few Americans know that the US Air Force kept its own secret squadron of MiG aircraft. The secretly acquired Soviet MiGs were used as mock aggressors at Nellis Air Force Base so that American pilots could practice their dogfighting skills against the very planes they would see in the skies over Vietnam. 


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Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

By Dan Hampton

Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

Why this book?

Few histories have been written about the F-16, much less from the perspective of the pilots who flew it in combat.  Dan Hampton offers his unique insights into the world of American airpower. From Desert Storm to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Hampton logged 608 flight hours across 151 combat missions. From this deftly written account, we relive the days of “Shock and Awe” from the pilot’s seat.  


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