Trophy for Eagles, by Walter J. Boyne
Boyne, coauthor of The Wild Blue , here explores the golden age of aviation: the years from 1927 to 1937, when flying airplanes developed from an art to a craft and building them evolved from a craft to an industry. While peopled with historical characters such as Lindbergh, Howard Hughes and Ernst Udet, the relationship between two pilots, American Frank Bandfield and expatriate German Bruno Hafner, is at the novel's heart; their rivalry is the thread on which Boyne strings his vignettes. High-risk air racing in Depression America, innovations in design and production, the creation of Hitler's Luftwaffe , the bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War--all find their place in this complex, compelling narrative. A former director of the National Air and Space Museum, Boyne impressively details flight techniques and aircraft construction. He even writes convincingly of the shortcomings that keep imaginary aircraft from entering production in his fictional universe. Technical material is so well integrated into the narrative, and human relationships are so dominated by flying, that it seems only natural when lovers talk of airplanes at intimate moments.