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Hump Pilot.

Hump Pilot

Nedda R. Thomas

History Publishing Company

PO Box 700, 15 Heyhoe Woods Road

Palisades, New York 10964-0700

9781940773209, $18.95,

So many books have been written about the pilots and aviation history of World War II that one might wonder about the need for yet another story; but Hump Pilot: Defying Death Flying the Himalayas During World War II offers up something different; although it starts off with the usual biographical mechanism of examining the life of one American pilot.

So what's the difference between this and other accounts? For one, there's a focus on the experience of training to be a pilot versus the actual deployment and in-the-air experience. Under such an approach, readers feel they are in the cockpit with Ned Thomas as he rises to the cause.

For another thing, Hump Pilot emphasizes a particular route (over the most notoriously dangerous mountains in the world, the Himalayas--known as the Hump) and documents how American pilots braved the special challenges of this itinerary to bring resources to both Chinese troops in China and Allied forces in the Pacific.

This has been a little-documented piece of the war, despite all the aviation histories on the market covering other facets of pilot experience, and so Hump Pilot stands out in this arena as a rare survey of Eastern Himalayan dangers and challenges. While other histories cover military transport units, few provide more than a cursory mention of the Hump's special meaning in the war.

Imagine flying over the remote Himalayas with no charts, no navigation tools, and very little information about weather conditions! Imagine providing a solution to the China supply dilemma that involved placing pilot lives on the line with no support and very little information to go on.

Now imagine a history that reads with the drama and immediacy of fiction, and you have an inclination of the special features of Hump Pilot: a story recommended not so much for the technical aviation or military history specialist but for the general-interest reader who may know little about either, but who harbors an affection for vivid stories of death-defying heroism.

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Title Annotation:Hump Pilot: Defying Death Flying the Himalayas
Publication:California Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 1, 2015
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