The Millionaire's Unit
In 1916, just thirteen years after the Wright brothers’ first flight, a group of twenty-eight college students, nearly all of them from Yale, decided to try the new sport of motorized flight and formed a campus flying club. The boys had more than fun in mind. Believing that America would soon enter the war raging in Europe, they wanted to help their woefully unprepared nation (which at the time had an air force smaller than Bulgaria’s) ready itself for what was sure to be a hard fight. Most were just teenagers, but they were also the sons of America’s early 20th century aristocracy - one a Rockefeller, one whose father headed the Union Pacific railroad empire, others who traced their roots to the Mayflower, several who counted friends and relatives among Presidents and statesmen - and all fabulously wealthy. These sons of the elite were schooled in heroism even before their nation called upon them. America was going to go to war: they would lead the way; they knew that it could cost many lives; and that just made it all the more right that they be the first to fly into battle. This is their story.
'Vivid descriptions of aerial combat ... but the true pleasure of this book is in his portraits of the six principal players and his elucidation of their deep-rooted sense of patriotic duty and camaraderie' Daily Telegraph