100 books like Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot

By James B. Stockdale,

Here are 100 books that Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot fans have personally recommended if you like Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Colonel of Tamarkan: Philip Toosey and the Bridge on the River Kwai

Robert Widders Author Of Forged in Blood and Music: A story of friendship, courage, and survival.

From my list on military books that resonate with me.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert Widders is one of the few men who have served in both the British Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force. His books on military history have been quoted in the Irish parliament and Senate and were the focus for a BBC documentary episode of Face the Facts.

Robert's book list on military books that resonate with me

Robert Widders Why did Robert love this book?

This is a book about Lieutenant Colonel Philip Toosey, the man who commanded the POWs who built the "bridge over the River Kwai". Many people, possibly most, know about this bridge from the film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, starring Alec Guinness. I recall discussing the film with a friend – a man who helped build the real bridge – and to quote him referring to the film, ‘British officers just didn’t behave like that’.

Years later, whilst traveling and writing, I sat through the night, on a rickety wooden verandah, a few hundred yards from the Kwai bridge reading a copy of The Colonel of Tamarkan, drinking Chang beer, being bitten by mosquitoes, and thinking about my friend and his pals, the ones buried in the cemetery a mile or so away. That’s where this book has meaning to me…

By Julie Summers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Colonel of Tamarkan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by Toosey's granddaughter, this remarkable portrait of a forgotten British hero and leader is essential reading for anyone interested in the Second World War.

'Truly uplifting ... It makes you proud to be British.' The Guardian

Alec Guinness won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the dogmatic but brittle commanding officer in David Lean's film The Bridge on the River Kwai. While a brilliant performance, it owed more to fiction than fact, as the man who actually commanded the POWs ordered to build the infamous bridges -- there were in fact two: one wooden, one concrete --…


Book cover of The Crowded Hours: The Story Of 'Sos' Cohen

Robert Widders Author Of Forged in Blood and Music: A story of friendship, courage, and survival.

From my list on military books that resonate with me.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert Widders is one of the few men who have served in both the British Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force. His books on military history have been quoted in the Irish parliament and Senate and were the focus for a BBC documentary episode of Face the Facts.

Robert's book list on military books that resonate with me

Robert Widders Why did Robert love this book?

The Crowded Hours tells the story of ‘Sos’ Cohen, whose eclectic military career began as an eighteen-year-old during the Matabele Wars of 1887, and then as a soldier in the Boer War. During the First World War, he first served with the Army and then transferred to the Royal Navy Air Service as a pilot. And in 1939, he joined the RAF at the age of 64, flying with RAF Coastal Command till the end of the Second World War.

Crowded Hours is a really interesting book in its own right, but in a more personal sense, it resonates with me because I’ve also served in the Army, the Navy, and the RAF, and I’m fascinated to read about the other men who’ve done this and try to understand what makes them tick.

Book cover of Adolf Hitler

Robert Widders Author Of Forged in Blood and Music: A story of friendship, courage, and survival.

From my list on military books that resonate with me.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert Widders is one of the few men who have served in both the British Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force. His books on military history have been quoted in the Irish parliament and Senate and were the focus for a BBC documentary episode of Face the Facts.

Robert's book list on military books that resonate with me

Robert Widders Why did Robert love this book?

Many people will remember Spike Milligan as the anarchic comedian from the Goon Shows. But long before he became a radio and television celebrity, he served with the Royal Artillery in North Africa and then Italy, until he was physically wounded, psychologically traumatised, and then medically downgraded.

Milligan wrote a series of war memoirs beginning with Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. Some of the humour may appear a little dated now, especially to younger generations. But to me the books are hilarious, full of satire, irony, and pathos, albeit written in tones – reflective of the times – that are, well, let’s just say, are not ‘politically correct’. Underneath the humour though, is a story of the unutterable sadness and personal tragedy of war. But leaving all these ‘big’ issues aside, in a personal sense, I’ve always like Milligan because he was different, an oddball, someone willing to…

By Spike Milligan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Volume one of Spike Milligan's legendary memoirs is a hilarious, subversive first-hand account of WW2

'The most irreverent, hilarious book about the war that I have ever read' Sunday Express

'Close in stature to Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear in his command of the profound art of nonsense' Guardian
______________

'At Victoria station the R.T.O. gave me a travel warrant, a white feather and a picture of Hitler marked "This is your enemy". I searched every compartment, but he wasn't on the train . . .'

In this, the first of Spike Milligan's uproarious recollections of life in the army,…


Book cover of The British Sumatra Battalion

Robert Widders Author Of Forged in Blood and Music: A story of friendship, courage, and survival.

From my list on military books that resonate with me.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert Widders is one of the few men who have served in both the British Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force. His books on military history have been quoted in the Irish parliament and Senate and were the focus for a BBC documentary episode of Face the Facts.

Robert's book list on military books that resonate with me

Robert Widders Why did Robert love this book?

Nearly all of the men that this book talks about have passed away now. They were captured, as the book title explains, in Sumatra, many of them after having escaped from Singapore when the garrison surrendered to the Imperial Japanese Army in 1942. One of the men who eventually came together to form the [Prisoner of War] British Sumatra Battalion was my friend, G, who volunteered to remain behind and help man the escape lines running through Java and Sumatra. He gave up his own chance of getting evacuated from the island and in doing so sentenced himself to three-and-a-half years of brutality and slave labour as a POW. Men like this have earned remembrance…

By A.A Apthorp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The British Sumatra Battalion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

V/G to LIKE NEW DJ, LIKE NEW BOOK. STATED FIRST EDITION. 1988 Book Guild Ltd. hardcover, British import. A. A. Apthorp. Immediately prior to the Fall of Singapore on 15th February 1942 there was a panic to get out before the Japanese walked in the back door. Women and children, servicemen of all ranks, some individuals, some in groups, many separated from their Regiments all clambered on any vessel leaving Keppel harbour that would put distance between them and imminent presence of the Japanese Army. Some made it to Australia, some to Java and others made it to Sumatra. For…


Book cover of Bury Us Upside Down: The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Nishi Giefer Author Of The Captured

From my list on Twentieth Century POWs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a western mystery writer, rancher, veterinarian, wife, mother, farrier, horse trainer, gardener, seamstress, pilot, homeschooler, tractor jockey, and all-around hand, I conclude that every experience in life is grist for the mill leading to settings, scenery, plots, and character motivations.

Nishi's book list on Twentieth Century POWs

Nishi Giefer Why did Nishi love this book?

As a pilot and an American, I found the content of this extremely well-written book mesmerizing. As a writer and editor, I was blown away by the clean copy. More impressively, both authors replied to my emails. Rick Newman is the wordsmith, and I daresay perfectionist. Upon learning I found only two typos in over five hundred pages, he begged to know where. Major General Don Shepperd, USAF Retired, was a Misty pilot in Vietnam who graciously agreed to be a technical consultant on my novel. His inside knowledge of the continuing struggle to return remains of US service members was invaluable. 

By Rick Newman, Don Shepperd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bury Us Upside Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They had the most dangerous job n the Air Force. Now Bury Us Upside Down reveals the never-before-told story of the Vietnam War’s top-secret jet-fighter outfit–an all-volunteer unit composed of truly extraordinary men who flew missions from which heroes are made.

In today’s wars, computers, targeting pods, lasers, and precision-guided bombs help FAC (forward air controller) pilots identify and destroy targets from safe distances. But in the search for enemy traffic on the elusive Ho Chi Minh Trail, always risking enemy fire, capture, and death, pilots had to drop low enough to glimpse the telltale signs of movement such as…


Book cover of The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were more than 1,000 women who ferried aircraft around the U.S. and flew other support missions during World War II.

They were technically civilian government employees, but for all practical purposes were in the U.S. Army and later earned veteran’s status, which is why I include them here.

The military women of my generation in the 1970s and 1980s (especially aviators) stood on the shoulders of what the WASP accomplished. 

Quite a few books have been written about the WASP, but this is the best one in my opinion. It’s extremely well researched, highly readable, and does an excellent job of portraying the two main characters, the media-savvy Jacqueline Cochran and her less flashy counterpart Nancy Love.

By Katherine Sharp Landdeck,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Women with Silver Wings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“With the fate of the free world hanging in the balance, women pilots went aloft to serve their nation. . . . A soaring tale in which, at long last, these daring World War II pilots gain the credit they deserve.”—Liza Mundy, New York Times bestselling author of Code Girls

“A powerful story of reinvention, community and ingenuity born out of global upheaval.”—Newsday

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort had escaped Nashville’s debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her…


Book cover of The Fabulous Flying Mrs Miller: A True Story of Murder, Adventure, Danger, Romance, and Derring-Do

Samantha Battams Author Of The Secret Art of Poisoning: The True Crimes of Martha Needle, the Richmond Poisoner

From my list on Australian women in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Samantha Battams is an Associate Professor and has been a university lecturer, researcher, policy professional, community development worker, advocate, health service administrator, and management consultant. Samantha resides in Adelaide, South Australia, is widely travelled, and has lived and worked in Switzerland in global health. She has published academic articles and book chapters in the fields of public health and global health, social policy, and sociology. She has a passion for history and writing and has written a self-published family history and three non-fiction books.

Samantha's book list on Australian women in history

Samantha Battams Why did Samantha love this book?

I was amazed to read about the adventures of Mrs ‘Chubbie’ Miller, whom I had never heard about previously. She was an Australian woman aviator who competed in the US National Women’s Air Race (the so-called ‘Powder Puff Derby’) and other Women’s Air Derbys with Amelia Earhart and others. Why had I not heard of her before? Because she was embroiled in a scandalous love triangle that saw the end of one life?

By Carol Baxter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fabulous Flying Mrs Miller as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The remarkable true story of a beguiling Melbourne housewife who in the 1920s seeks international fame, fortune, and adventure as an aviator and finds herself as the central figure in a sensational American murder trial.

'Mrs Keith Miller, internationally known aviatrix, was taken to the county jail here today and held for investigation by State Attorney's investigators. Jail attendants said they understood she was held in connection with the shooting of an airline pilot.'

Petite, glamorous, and beguiling, Jessie 'Chubbie' Miller was one remarkable woman ... flyer, thrill seeker, heartbreaker. No adventure was too wild for her, no danger too…


Book cover of The Aviator's Wife

Susan Sage Author Of Dancing in the Ring

From my list on the ‘herstory’ of women of the 1920s.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been intrigued by the Roaring 20s, and specifically in how the lives of women truly began to change during this time. My grandmother loved to boast about how she had been a flapper as a young woman. Her sister-in-law was one of the first female attorneys in Detroit in the mid-20s. The era brought about opportunities and freedoms previously unknown to women. Many women suddenly had options, both in terms of careers and lifestyles. Goals of first wave feminists were beginning to be reached. The research I did for my book furthered my understanding of society at the time, particularly in America. 

Susan's book list on the ‘herstory’ of women of the 1920s

Susan Sage Why did Susan love this book?

Read this fascinating historical fiction novel to find out how it was possible for Lindbergh’s wife to wind up intact and capable of love, despite the tragedies that beset her.

Few people realize that she was the first female glider pilot! She became not only his co-pilot, but the pilot of her own life as she got older and pursued her own interests. Anne Morrow proved herself to be—in many ways—more heroic than her husband.

By Melanie Benjamin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Aviator's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
 
“The history [is] exhilarating. . . . The Aviator’s Wife soars.”—USA Today
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico…


Book cover of The Tibbets Story

Robert O. Harder Author Of The Three Musketeers of the Army Air Forces: From Hitler's Fortress Europa to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From my list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

In May 1968, I arrived at my first duty station as a new B-52 navigator-bombardier. Later, at the bar, I was hailed by a booming voice from behind the beer taps. "Hi ya, lieutenant!" Moments later, he asked what I thought of the USAF so far. I said I was career-minded. ‘‘Hell, only the pilots get promoted; navigators get diddley-squat. Get out as soon as you can.” After he departed, the bartender came over. “Know who that was, lieutenant? He’s Tom Ferebee, the man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima." The colonel had both underscored my dismal career prospects and instilled a lifelong passion for the subjects discussed in this book.

Robert's book list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Robert O. Harder Why did Robert love this book?

While researching my book, I was fortunate to become acquainted with the Tibbets family, including his second wife Andrea Quattrehomme and his grandson Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV (USAF Ret.). Their co-operation, coupled with the details in this autobiography, was instrumental in revealing what the man was really like.

In 1937, Tibbets graduated from the Kelly Field, Texas pilot school, the “West Point of the Air." Among the first to deploy to Europe in 1942, he flew the lead plane in the initial heavy bomber raid against Fortress Europa. Additionally, he often flew as personal pilot to flag officers, including Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. After 43 combat missions he was rotated home to help development of the troubled B-29 program, which directly led to his selection as commander of the world’s first atomic bomber force.

By Paul W. Tibbets,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tibbets Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1 HARDCOVER BOOK WITH DUST COVER


Book cover of The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot July 25, 1909

Will Hillenbrand Author Of The Voice in the Hollow

From my list on igniting the imagination of young readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, my dyslexia made reading a challenge. However, my close encounters with books led to a meaningful and expressive life. From my family's barbershop, I absorbed colorful conversations and tall tales, fueling my imagination. Expressing those narratives through drawings at my kitchen table granted me solace. Driven by a desire to bring stories to life, I leaped and pursued an education in art. In a picture book art class, my calling as an author and illustrator became clear. Transforming words into vivid illustrations and breathing life into children's literature became my heartfelt pursuit. With over 75 books now in my repertoire, I am truly fortunate.

Will's book list on igniting the imagination of young readers

Will Hillenbrand Why did Will love this book?

After reading this captivating story, I was overwhelmed with the desire to embark on a grand adventure, flying in an open-air cockpit.

Coming from Ohio, not far from where the Wright Brothers took to the skies, flight has always fascinated me, from observing birds to marveling at airplanes. The vivid pictures within the pages of this book ignited a fire within me, giving me wings to soar through the air.

With its delightful portrayal of Louis Blériot's historic flight across the English channel in 1909, this picture book beautifully brings the world of first flights and eccentric contraptions to life. Its clever illustrations, filled with wit and whimsy, truly captured the essence of the extraordinary journey.

By Alice Provensen, Martin Provensen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Glorious Flight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Caldecott Medal, this stunningly illustrated book depicts Louis Bleriot's historic first cross-Channel flight.

“Factually accurate, yes-but also a witty pictorial reincarnation of Bleriot’s first experience of an airship”--Kirkus Reviews


5 book lists we think you will like!

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