The best books on military aviation

Who am I?

Mike Guardia is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Author and military historian. A veteran of the United States Army, he served six years on active duty (2008-2014) as an Armor Officer. He has written and lectured on various topics of modern military history, including guerrilla warfare, air-to-air combat, and World War II in the Pacific. He holds a BA and MA in American History from the University of Houston.


I wrote...

Tomcat Fury: A Combat History of the F-14

By Mike Guardia,

Book cover of Tomcat Fury: A Combat History of the F-14

What is my book about?

For more than three decades, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat was the US Navy’s premier carrier-based, multi-role fighter jet. From its harrowing combat missions over Libya to its appearance on the silver screen in movies like Top Gun and Executive Decision, the F-14 has become an icon of American airpower.

Now, for the first time in a single volume, Tomcat Fury explores the illustrious combat history of the F-14: from the Gulf of Sidra…to the Iran-Iraq War…to the skies over Afghanistan in the Global War on Terror.

The books I picked & why

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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,

Book cover of 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.  

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,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Higher Call as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER: “Beautifully told.”—CNN • “A remarkable story...worth retelling and celebrating.”—USA Today • “Oh, it’s a good one!”—Fox News
 
A “beautiful story of a brotherhood between enemies” emerges from the horrors of World War II in this New York Times bestseller by the author of Devotion, now a Major Motion Picture. 

December, 1943: A badly damaged American bomber struggles to fly over wartime Germany. At the controls is twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown. Half his crew lay wounded or dead on this, their first mission. Suddenly, a Messerschmitt fighter pulls up on the bomber’s tail. The pilot is German…


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

By Rick Tollini,

Book cover of 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. 

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

By Rick Tollini,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Call-Sign Kluso as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eagle pilot Rick "Kluso" Tollini's life has embodied childhood dreams and the reality of what the American experience could produce. In his memoir, Call Sign Kluso, Rick puts the fraught minutes above the Iraqi desert that made him an ace into the context of a full life; exploring how he came to be flying a F-15C in Desert Storm, and how that day became a pivotal moment in his life.

Rick's first experience of flying was in a Piper PA-18 over 1960s' California as a small boy, and his love of flying through his teenage years was fostered by his…


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

By Jay A. Stout,

Book cover of 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.

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

By Jay A. Stout,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unsung Eagles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The nearly half-million American airmen who served during World War II have almost disappeared. And so have their stories. In Unsung Eagles, award-winning writer and former fighter pilot Jay Stout has saved an exciting collection of those accounts from oblivion. These are not rehashed tales from the hoary icons of the war. Rather, they are stories from the masses of largely unrecognized men who in the aggregate actually won it. These are "everyman" accounts that are important but fast disappearing. Ray Crandall describes how he was nearly knocked into the Pacific by a heavy cruiser's main battery during the Second…


Red Eagles: America’s Secret MiGs

By Steve Davies,

Book cover of 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. 

Red Eagles: America’s Secret MiGs

By Steve Davies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Red Eagles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the late 1960s until the end of the Cold War, the United States Air Force acquired and flew Russian-made MiG jets, culminating in a secret squadron dedicated to exposing American fighter pilots to enemy technology and tactics.

Red Eagles tells the story of this squadron from the first tests of MiGs following the Vietnam War when the USAF had been woefully under-prepared in aerial combat. These initial flights would develop into the "black" or classified program known internally as Constant Peg.

At a secret air base in Nevada, ace American fighter pilots were presented with a range of differnet…


Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

By Dan Hampton,

Book cover of 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.  

Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

By Dan Hampton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Viper Pilot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Viper Pilot" is the high-octane memoir of one of America's elite aviators: a twenty-year battle-seasoned pilot who flew 151 combat missions in the world's most iconic fighter plane - the F-16 Fighting Falcon - the Viper as its pilots call it. A fighter pilot who came of age at the end of the Cold War, Dan Hampton was one of the flyers scrambled into the skies on 9/11. With the onset of the Iraq War, he saw extensive action and was one of the Wild Weasels, a select cadre of highly trained, innovative, and gutsy fighters who flew into hostile…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 2, the Gulf War, and fighter pilots?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 2, the Gulf War, and fighter pilots.

World War 2 Explore 1142 books about World War 2
The Gulf War Explore 21 books about the Gulf War
Fighter Pilots Explore 11 books about fighter pilots

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Target Tokyo, Fighter Pilot, and Sons and Soldiers if you like this list.