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TO FLY AND FIGHT [Mass Market Paperback]

Clarence E. Anderson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 1991 Bantam Air & Space Series
Touching, thoughtful, and dead honest, To Fly and Fight is the story of a boy who grew up living his dream. During World War II Anderson flew with Chuck Yeager in the famed 357th Squadron where he became a triple ace by shooting out of the sky fifteen enemy planes. Following World War II, Anderson became a test pilot and later commanded jet fighter squadrons in South Korea and Okinawa. Then, in 1970, at an age when most pilots have long-since retired, Anderson flew combat strikes over Vietnam.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Publishers Weekly

Anderson flew P-51 Mustangs in the WW II European theater and shot down 17 German planes. Writing with freelancer Hamelin, he here relates his spectacular aerial confrontations with Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs, defines (in understandable technical detail) what "combat flying skill" really means and conveys the unique mindset a fighter pilot needs in order to survive. Anderson, who became an Air Force test pilot during the postwar "golden age of flight testing," recalls hair-raising incidents highlighting the challenge and risk of such work. After an onerous tour of desk-duty in Washington ("A colonel at the Pentagon is nothing but a glorified clerk"), he became one of the few fighter pilots to serve in combat both in WW II and Vietnam. This is an entertaining and instructive book for hardcore air combat buffs, who will find particularly interesting Anderson's comparisons between flying prop-driven Mustangs and high-performance jets in enemy skies. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Anderson, a California farm boy who loved hot cars and airplanes, earned his wings in the Army Air Corps in September 1942 and flew P-39s. Sent to Europe in 1944, his squadron traded in their P-39s for P-51 Mustangs. Anderson flew 116 missions with the Mustang and shot down 17 enemy planes without receiving a single hit to his own plane. He also served in the Korean War and Vietnam, and as a test pilot. In the course of his 30-year career in the Air Force he was decorated 25 times. Hamelin, a sportswriter, does a highly credible job of telling Anderson's story. He skillfully interweaves anecdotes by men who flew with Anderson, such as fellow World War II section leader Chuck Yeager. Anderson's accounts of some of the projects he flew as a test pilot, as well as his candid remarks on the early space and high altitude programs give the reader an insider's view. An exceptional account of an exceptional man. Highly recommended. Photos not seen.
- George F. Scheck, Naval Underwater System Ctr. Lib., Newport, R.I.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Although this book has a different feel to it than the book to which it will invariably be compared, namely Chuck Yeager's "YEAGER" autobiography, I must say it stands on its own feet without any apologies. In this book, Anderson details a life full of accomplishments and adventure.
The chapters that focus on his World War II exploits are clearly the most interesting, although his post-war adventures (including missions in Vietnam) were entertaining in their own right. My only complaint is that he did not write more about this period of his life. It seemed that Yeager's book was a bit more balanced in that he covered his career from beginning to end with an even hand. Anderson (or his publisher) chose not to do so, and that is unfortunate, for I am sure there is much to be learned from this period of his remarkable life.
Despite these minor shortcomings, this one is definitely worth a look. The beginning may be slow to some, but keep going. It is well worth it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A humble Ace.... March 9 2002
I found "To Fly and Fight" to be an excellent biography of man who grew up with an intense love of flying, and who fulfilled his dreams. The book chronicles his growing up in the rural foothills of Northern California, and his growing love of flying. It gives a very personal accounts of his early days days with the Army Air Corps from training to activation in England. I enjoyed the accounts of his early friendships and escapades.
The descriptions and events as a P-51 pilot flying in the ETO are first rate. The first chapter grabs hold of you and doesn't let go with his account of a high altitude duel with an ME-109. It is a classic. He describes many of his combat missions and describes his growing friendship with Chuck Yeager. The story of his final mission with Yeager is priceless.
The book also includes some revealing sections about his tedious days as a recruiter and several stints with the Pentagon to heady days as a Test Pilot at Wright Field and later at Edwards. He also gives us some excellent insights into his days as a Squadron Leader flying F-86's in Korea and a Wing Commander flying F-105's from Okinawa and Thailand during the Vietnam Conflict.
I had the opportunity recently to meet Col. Anderson and his lovely wife Ellie. We spent several hours together discussing his flying days. It was a real priviledge. He is truly a humble man but has that touch of steel of man who has lived through a lot. He is still a hearty and it's great to think of him still tearing up the skies at Air Shows flying the Old Crow along side Chuck Yeager.
I highly recommend "To Fly and Fight" to all WWII aviation enthusiasts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To Fly & Fight Nov. 12 2000
As an avid reader of World War Two History. And being a Viet Nam Veteran; I found this book to be a most fascinating history; Of "Not Only the Man"; But his recollections of his life growing up oin Rural California in the 1930's & 1940's. His enlistment in the Army Air Corp; And his experiences in England during the war. This is "No dry" mundane slow reading military text book. Colonol Anderson, tells of his love for flying and his vivid discriptions of Europe during World War Two; Help the reader to picture what it was like for an average guy; Who has a love for flying and trying his best to stay alive in a extremly hostile environment. He does not dwell on the sadder aspects of war. But trys to explain how he learned to cope with these stressors; And still fullfill his dream of flying. He also go's to great lengths to discuss the other aircraft he had flown. His adventures in P-39's and T-6 Texans. I found his book to be non-judgemental; But very fair to all the persons good and bad that he had come to know in his life. He only briefly discusses his flying career during the Viet Nam Conflict. But then this book was not written with Viet Nam in mind solely. This book is about the man; His love of flying.
I found this book to enlightning; refreshing; funny; sad; extrordinary; And written with a smooth tempo and hums along like the engine of a P-51 Mustang. The Book and the Man are unseperable. He takes you up in his Mustang with him through his rememberences. And brings you home to the runway just as a good pilot would do today. I would recommend this book to anyone who has not only an intrest in World War Two. But an intrest in a "Great Man" who lived an extrordinary life. Fighting for all of us; Flying for all of us. This man is a "TRUE"; American Hero.
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4.0 out of 5 stars More than just the fight Aug. 22 2000
... Clarence Anderson's memoirs of the war ... fighter pilotswere normal guys with their own rivalries and an air of cluelessness that seems unusual for post-modern "Saving Private Ryan" perspectives but seemed fresh when I read it in 1991. Coming from the subject of "To Fly and Fight' it's still refreshing. Anderson was barely out of his teens when the war broke out and he joined the Army Air Force, precursor to the modern (and separate) USAF. Sent to England, Anderson was assigned to fly P-51 Mustangs, one of the most capable fighters, and witnessed the hopelessness of the allied daylight bombing strategy. After the war, Anderson flew flight test out of Edwards, breeding ground for the first generation of supersonic military aircraft, but spent most time at a desk. During Vietnam, Anderson rose to command a squadron fighter bombers flying out of Thailand. Through it all he comes off as something other than what I expected out of a fighter pilot - the sort of every guy that propaganda would have tried to create but never did. In WWII, Anderson saves the lives of bomber crews, enages in mortal combat with enemy fighters and sometimes makes the decision not to fir ... Anderson avoids the morbid fascination with the lives affected by combat - what happened to the bomber crews or wingmen that owed him his life, or the fighter pilots he may have killed.
Unlike Yeager, Anderson's tenure at flight test was not so glamorous. Instead of the sonic barrier, Anderson's experience included the "parasite-fighter", a fatally flawed idea for linking dimunitive fighters to larger motherships like the B-36 and typical of the "anything goes" atmosphere bred by cold-war demands and postwar prosperity.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Second to none!
I am an avid reader when it comes to flying. I've read works by authors such as Gann, Scott, Hoover, Yeager, etc., and I liked them all. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2000 by Jon Thomson
5.0 out of 5 stars You're in the pilot's seat
I am an avid reader when it comes to flying. I've read works by authors such as Gann, Scott, Hoover, Yeager, etc. And I liked them all. Read more
Published on July 25 2000 by Jon Thomson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Memories of a Triple Ace
Triple Ace Col. "Bud" Anderson takes you to his first encounters with aircraft as a young boy in rural California. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2000 by Gregory Pierce, President 8th AFHS, WS
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly outstanding
Col. Anderson's accounts of his flying in WWII and as a test pilot are truly memorable. While the writing style is course, it reflects his verbal recollections. I heard Col. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 1999 by Ernest (turk@ptw.com)
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine tribute to a super pilot and all-around great guy.
Excellent! Col. Anderson's down to earth stories keep you reading and reading. Behind the scenes look at a WWII fighter pilots daily activities along with exciting tales of... Read more
Published on Aug. 18 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars "...the finest pilot memoir of WW II."
"It is, I think, the finest pilot memoir of WW II. I have made it mandatory reading for all my historians." Quote attributed to: Dick Hallion, Historian of the U.S. Read more
Published on July 8 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelivably griping and thrilling.
This is by far the best book I have ever read. It captures your mind and you feel as though you are with him over 1945 Germany. Read more
Published on Jan. 25 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars An unequaled biographical account....
While "Yeager" is without a doubt an excellent account of air-to-air combat, I find this book to be unparalled when it comes to gritty, detailed, realistic combat... Read more
Published on June 30 1998 by parkcable@aol.com
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