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Hostage to Fortune Hardcover – May 1 1979


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Hardcover, May 1 1979
CDN$ 43.14

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (May 1 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340238682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340238684
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 921 g

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Episodic, over long March 2 2005
By Charles Hall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read "Fate is the Hunter" and loved it I wanted to know more about the author. "Fate" is a string of unconnected aviation vignettes all of which are fascinating, but without any overall context. You don't know whether some incidents happened before WW2, during, or after, etc. Unfortunately, "Hostage" suffers somewhat from the same problem. Gann follows various threads of his own life, sometimes back-tracking in time to start a new one. This can be awkward.

The second problem is the book is overlong. His early childhood is told in way-too-much detail. It's all interesting and well-written, but I found myself slogging ahead at times waiting for him to grow up.

It turns out that aviation formed only a small part of his life, so aviation enthusiasts beware. In fact I recognized several incidents he flits over in "Hostage" that had whole chapters in "Fate". Mostly Gann seems to have been an amateur fisherman, sailor, anything to escape from his wife and kids.

What I found as a revelation is how many books, screenplays and movies this guy wrote. WOW. In his later years he was cranking out best-sellers like clockwork, although some of the movies seem to be tied up in John Wayne's estate and aren't viewable any more ("The High and The Mighty", "Islands in the Sky"). "Soldier of Fortune" is a staple on TV, and "Fate is the Hunter" with Glenn Ford shows up sometimes too (not nearly as good as the book). "Twilight of the Gods" is on often too.

Overall, if you have no special expectations and plenty of time this is a good book to read. If you were hoping for an inspiring life story or lots of aviation stories, you'll be disappointed.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A simply outstanding book about a simply outstanding person. May 3 1998
By David F - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Gann takes us through his life, since childhood, and recounts his rich experiences masterfully. It both brings laughter and tears to your eyes. Gann was living proof that in one lifetime you could be an accomplished actor, sailor, pilot and writer. Moreover, in each of those endeavours he met and shared experiences with legends in their fields, such as Jack Warner, John Wayne, Charles Lindbergh and countless others. Gann recounts how he continuously met and dealt with triumph and disaster. Nevertheless, Gann retains a moving modesty about his own achievements. This is a must-read book for all lovers of adventure and for all who admire real-life swashbuckling romantics. It is an inspiring book which confirms that life is full of opportunity, if you have the right skills and mindset.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
a hostage to fortune Oct. 26 2000
By brian waters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
this is, with out a doubt, one of the best non-fiction adventure books ever written. Gann takes the reader with him through his turbulent life. From movie maker to actor to aviator to seaman to author. his life was a constant adventure and he seemed to never age (at 69 he flew the U-2 spy plane, along with several other high-preformance military aircraft). his style is eloquent and keeps the reader enthralled throughout the book. this is an excellent book, regardless of whether you enjoy aviation books.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A most treasured possession Dec 19 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book, along with several of Gann's other aviation works are some of the few items I truly treasure. Each has been reread many times and will be again.
If you love sailing, do all you can to find a copy of Ernie's "Song of the Sirens." You will forever thank me if you are so lucky to find one.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Getting to know aviation's favorite author Dec 18 2010
By Gordon Penner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a 29 year airline and airplane pilot, as a long time avid reader, and as an observer of many successful yet difficult personalities, I have always loved the "taste" of Earnest K. Gann's writing. It always rings so true and has that old world feel. His characters have those off-center, work in progress traits that real people have. I grew up on "Fate is the Hunter," read his other novels, saw the movie "The High and the Mighty" and the mini-series "Masada," and have always wanted to know more about his exciting life. This book does it for me, and I enjoyed it all.

In "Fate is the Hunter" Gann alludes to other interests and adventures, especially in sailing. In "Band of Brothers" it is clear that he really has been to the Orient, as I have. I found out some years ago, in a "Flying" magazine article I think, that he was involved in directing and writing for Hollywood both before and after his airline years. It is also clear in "Fate is the Hunter" that his thirst for adventure drove him, and that he was sometimes his own worst enemy. "A Hostage to Fortune" reflects all of these things, and he kept my interest throughout. I found myself hollering at him for some of his dumb life decisions as I read on, but he was definitely a man driven by his passions. He has led an adventurous life, and met some interesting people. That must be partly why his fictional characters "feel" right to me.

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