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North Star over My Shoulder: A Flying Life…

North Star over My Shoulder: A Flying Life (edition 2002)

by Bob Buck (Author)

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753228,082 (3.64)1
Title:North Star over My Shoulder: A Flying Life
Authors:Bob Buck (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2002), 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:aviation history, military aviation, biography

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North Star over My Shoulder: A Flying Life by Bob Buck



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Captain Robert N. Buck retired from TWA after having flown well over two thousand Atlantic crossings and thirty-seven years of service as chief pilot and director of thunderstorm research. During World War II he was engaged in weather research for the U.S. Air Corps, for which he was awarded, as a civilian, the Air Medal by President Harry Truman. More recently, Buck has worked with the International Civil Aviation Organization -- the UN's body for aviation -- to develop a new plan of world airspace.
In North Star over My Shoulder, Bob Buck tells of a life spent up and over the clouds, and of the wonderful places and marvelous people who have been a part of that life. He captures the feel, taste, and smell of flying's great early era -- how the people lived, what they did and felt, and what it was really like to be a part of the world as it grew smaller and smaller. A terrific storyteller and a fascinating man, Bob Buck has turned his well-lived life into a delightful memoir for anyone who remembers when there really was something special in the air.
  MasseyLibrary | Sep 25, 2018 |
Buck has lead a fascinating life in the air, and on that merit alone I give this book the three stars. The amount of aviation history of you learn about by reading his story is amazing.

Unfortunately the content only barely sustains the horrid writing. It suffers from the same bland and cliched writing that anyone who regularly reads aviation magazines is all too familiar with. I'm talking about things like not understanding which details are relevant to a story and which aren't, so the author just throws them all in because, I assume the logic goes, those propellerheads will eat up anything even tangentially related to flying. He also follows the same secret formula that indicates exactly how many adjectives and adverbs need to be in a sentence to convey the appropriate emotion (no doubt with thesaurus at the ready to provide all those fancy words). Unfortunately the effect is, as always, the exact opposite: all sense of emotion is drained by the awkwardly composed prose and forced feel to the writing voice.

If you can make yourself wade through the horrible style, you'll be rewarded with potentially magical stories like what it was like to navigate the old airliners by the stars, but you'll have to provide the magical aspect yourself because Buck tells it like it wasn't...drawn out and boring. ( )
  dan4mayor | Jun 28, 2018 |
A real gem of a book. Bob Buck started flying as a young man in the 1920s and soon became well known due to some record making flights, including breaking the junior transcontinental record and for a time was the youngest licensed pilot in the United States. At the age of 30 he joined TWA, became chief pilot in 1945 and flew until the mandatory retirement age of 60 in 1974. During that time he flew special missions for the Air Force, became friends with politicians and actors (there's a marvelous photo of him and Bob Hope on a movie set) and was a personal favorite of Howard Hughes. He started with TWA on DC-2s and ended up piloting the first 747 for them. It's a well written, easy to read story. Recommended for not only aviation enthusiasts but also for the general reader. ( )
  jztemple | May 27, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743219643, Hardcover)

Bob Buck may not be as famous as Charles Lindbergh, but he's well known among aviators for setting flight-distance records in the 1930s, flying a B-17 in the Second World War, and finally, becoming a commercial airline pilot who logged more than 2,000 trips across the Atlantic Ocean. North Star over My Shoulder is Buck's memoir of a life spent in the skies. He shares plenty of cockpit wisdom: "A copilot can make a trip or ruin it; get someone who talks too much, gripes about the company, tries to impress you, tells long and boring anecdotes, or is overly aggressive in suggesting ways to run the flight, and the taste is unpleasant." He also answers the question he says nonpilots are most likely to ask him: How do you overcome jet lag? "You don't," he says. Buck addresses offbeat subjects, too, such as what an airline pilot does when one of his first-class passengers is irate about the lack of caviar on a long trip. Readers fascinated by flight will enjoy this book, both for its historical perspective on advances in aviation ("a time no one will ever experience again") and the good advice that springs from almost every page ("sitting low tends to make you level off a little too high, while sitting up high tends to make you fly into the ground and not level off enough"). Pilots will appreciate this book, as will anybody who has ever wondered what it's like to fly a plane. --John Miller

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The author traces his long and distinguished career as an aviator, from his record-breaking coast-to-coast solo flight in 1930 at the age of sixteen, through his experiences in World War II, to his nearly forty-year career as a pilot with TWA.

(summary from another edition)

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