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China's Wings

War, Intrigue, Romance, and Adventure in the Middle Kingdom During the Golden Age of Flight

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Hardcover published by Bantam (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
From the acclaimed author of Enduring Patagonia comes a dazzling tale of aerial adventure set against the roiling backdrop of war in Asia. The incredible real-life saga of the flying band of brothers who opened the skies over China in the years leading up to World War II—and boldly safeguarded them during that conflict—China’s Wings is one of the most exhilarating untold chapters in the annals of flight.
 
At the center of the maelstrom is the book’s courtly, laconic protagonist, American aviation executive William Langhorne Bond. In search of adventure, he arrives in Nationalist China in 1931, charged with turning around the turbulent nation’s flagging airline business, the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). The mission will take him to the wild and lawless frontiers of commercial aviation: into cockpits with daredevil pilots flying—sometimes literally—on a wing and a prayer; into the dangerous maze of Chinese politics, where scheming warlords and volatile military officers jockey for advantage; and into the boardrooms, backrooms, and corridors of power inhabited by such outsized figures as Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek; President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; foreign minister T. V. Soong; Generals Arnold, Stilwell, and Marshall; and legendary Pan American Airways founder Juan Trippe.
 
With the outbreak of full-scale war in 1941, Bond and CNAC are transformed from uneasy spectators to active participants in the struggle against Axis imperialism. Drawing on meticulous research, primary sources, and extensive personal interviews with participants, Gregory Crouch offers harrowing accounts of brutal bombing runs and heroic evacuations, as the fight to keep one airline flying becomes part of the larger struggle for China’s survival. He plunges us into a world of perilous night flights, emergency water landings, and the constant threat of predatory Japanese warplanes. When Japanese forces capture Burma and blockade China’s only overland supply route, Bond and his pilots must battle shortages of airplanes, personnel, and spare parts to airlift supplies over an untried five-hundred-mile-long aerial gauntlet high above the Himalayas—the infamous “Hump”—pioneering one of the most celebrated endeavors in aviation history.
 
A hero’s-eye view of history in the grand tradition of Lynne Olson’s Citizens of London, China’s Wings takes readers on a mesmerizing journey to a time and place that reshaped the modern world.
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From the acclaimed author of Enduring Patagonia comes a dazzling tale of aerial adventure set against the roiling backdrop of war in Asia. The incredible real-life saga of the flying band of brothers who opened the skies over China in the years leading up to World War II—and boldly safeguarded them during that conflict—China’s Wings is one of the most exhilarating untold chapters in the annals of flight.
 
At the center of the maelstrom is the book’s courtly, laconic protagonist, American aviation executive William Langhorne Bond. In search of adventure, he arrives in Nationalist China in 1931, charged with turning around the turbulent nation’s flagging airline business, the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). The mission will take him to the wild and lawless frontiers of commercial aviation: into cockpits with daredevil pilots flying—sometimes literally—on a wing and a prayer; into the dangerous maze of Chinese politics, where scheming warlords and volatile military officers jockey for advantage; and into the boardrooms, backrooms, and corridors of power inhabited by such outsized figures as Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek; President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; foreign minister T. V. Soong; Generals Arnold, Stilwell, and Marshall; and legendary Pan American Airways founder Juan Trippe.
 
With the outbreak of full-scale war in 1941, Bond and CNAC are transformed from uneasy spectators to active participants in the struggle against Axis imperialism. Drawing on meticulous research, primary sources, and extensive personal interviews with participants, Gregory Crouch offers harrowing accounts of brutal bombing runs and heroic evacuations, as the fight to keep one airline flying becomes part of the larger struggle for China’s survival. He plunges us into a world of perilous night flights, emergency water landings, and the constant threat of predatory Japanese warplanes. When Japanese forces capture Burma and blockade China’s only overland supply route, Bond and his pilots must battle shortages of airplanes, personnel, and spare parts to airlift supplies over an untried five-hundred-mile-long aerial gauntlet high above the Himalayas—the infamous “Hump”—pioneering one of the most celebrated endeavors in aviation history.
 
A hero’s-eye view of history in the grand tradition of Lynne Olson’s Citizens of London, China’s Wings takes readers on a mesmerizing journey to a time and place that reshaped the modern world.
Product Details
Hardcover (528 pages)
Published: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Bantam
ISBN: 9780553804270
Other books byGregory Crouch
  • Enduring Patagonia

    Enduring Patagonia
    Patagonia is a strange and terrifying place, a vast tract of land shared by Argentina and Chile where the violent weather spawned over the southern Pacific charges through the Andes with gale-force winds, roaring clouds, and stinging snow. Squarely athwart the latitudes known to sailors as the roaring forties and furious fifties, Patagonia is a land trapped between angry torrents of sea and sky, a place that has fascinated explorers and writers for centuries. Magellan discovered the strait that bears his name during the first circumnavigation. Charles Darwin traveled Patagonia's windy steppes and explored the fjords of Tierra del Fuego during the voyage of the Beagle. From the novel perspective of the cockpit, Antoine de Saint-Exupry immortalized the Andes in Wind, Sand, and Stars, and a half century later, Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia earned a permanent place among the great works of travel literature. Yet even today, the Patagonian Andes remain mysterious and remote, a place where horrible storms and ruthless landscapes discourage all but the most devoted pilgrims from paying tribute to the daunting and dangerous peaks. Gregory Crouch is one such pilgrim. In seven expeditions to this windswept edge of the Southern Hemisphere, he has braved weather, gravity, fear, and doubt to try himself in the alpine crucible of Patagonia. Crouch has had several notable successes, including the first winter ascent of the legendary Cerro Torre's West Face, to go along with his many spectacular failures. In language both stirring and lyrical, he evokes the perils of every handhold, perils that illustrate the crucial balance between physical danger and mental agility that allows for the most important part of any climb, which is not reaching the summit, but getting down alive. Crouch reveals the flip side of cutting-edge alpinism: the stunning variety of menial labor one must often perform to afford the next expedition. From building sewer systems during a bitter Colorado winter to washing the plastic balls in McDonalds' playgrounds, Crouch's dedication to the alpine craft has seen him through as many low moments as high summits. He recounts, too, the riotous celebrations of successful climbs, the numbing boredom of forced encampments, and the quiet pride that comes from knowing that one has performed well and bravely, even in failure. Included are more than two dozen color photographs that capture the many moods of this land, from the sublime beauty of the mountains at sunrise to the unrelenting fury of its storms. Enduring Patagonia is a breathtaking odyssey through one of the worldís last wild places, a land that requires great sacrifice but offers great rewards to those who dare to challenge it. From the Hardcover edition.

    Route Finding

    Route Finding
    Navigating with Map and Compass

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