Enduring Courage, Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed by John F. Ross; 2014; $27.99; 375 pages; St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY; 978-1-250-03377-2; purchased from Multnomah County Library, Title Wave Used Bookstore; 9/2/17-9/7/17
Why did I read this? Because Eddie Rickenbacker was one of my first heroes growing up and I think was the first autobiography I ever read.
This is sort of a semi biography covering three main times in Mr. Rickenbacker. First is Eddie’s interest in cars and his career as a race car driver, then his time in World War I as a pilot and the Ace of Aces and thirdly the time he was on a secret mission for the President and his plane crash landed in the Pacific and he was adrift in a raft for 24 days before being rescued. The times between these events is covered lightly as is his early childhood and later life. By focusing on these three time periods I found out more about Eddie than I had previously known.
Rickenbacker by Edward V. Rickenbacker; 1967; 458 pages; Prentice-Hall, Inc; Edgewood, NJ; purchased from Multnomah County Title Wave Used Bookstore; 7/2/14-7/8/14
I remember going into a bookstore in Oakland, CA shortly after I reported aboard the U.S.S. Kansas City (AOR-3) in early 1976 and buying this book because I had heard so much about Eddie Rickenbacker growing up. One of the first “adult” books I remember reading is We Thought We Heard the Angels Sing by Lt. James C. Whitaker about being adrift in the Pacific for 24 days with Eddie Rickenbacker during WWII.
This came through the Title Wave last year and I picked it up, it took me a year to actually get around to reading it. Eddie Rickenbacker was born in 1890 and dropped out of school in 7th grade when his father died. He worked in a glass factory and other labor intensive jobs before getting a job as an auto mechanic in his hometown, just as automobiles began to gain popularity. He then went on to become a race car driver, racing at the first Indianapolis Speedway race, he eventually also started his own automobile manufacturing company. He taught himself to fly and became an Ace in WWI, he was also an aircraft mechanic and parlayed those two things into becoming president of Eastern Airlines, which he grew into a thriving enterprise. During WWII he served as a special messenger from Secretary of War Stimson, Eddie and FDR did not like each other, he went behind Russian lines, all over Europe and into the Pacific, which how he ended up adrift in the Pacific.
He was truly an incredible man who pushed himself but didn’t ask anyone to do what he wouldn’t do himself. He got to know all the employees of what ever company he was head of and asked and carefully considered input from all levels of his company.
Did I like it? Yes, once again I was impressed with the strength and resilience of Eddie Rickenbacker. He went through trials, an airplane crash in Atlanta that broke most of the bones in his body and being adrift in the Pacific for 24 days, but always seemed to bounce back stronger and more sure of himself.
What is with the title of the review? Eddie Rickenbacker did more in his lifetime than many people would manage in several lifetimes.