Hero of the Angry Sky draws on the unpublished diaries, correspondence, informal memoir, and other personal documents of the U.S. Navy’s only flying “ace” of World War I to tell his unique story. David S. Ingalls was a prolific writer, and virtually all of his World War I aviation career is covered, from the teenager’s early, informal training in Palm Beach, Florida, to his exhilarating and terrifying missions over the Western Front. This edited collection of Ingalls’s writing details the career of the U.S. Navy’s most successful combat flyer from that conflict.
While Ingalls’s wartime experiences are compelling at a personal level, they also illuminate the larger, but still relatively unexplored, realm of early U.S. naval aviation. Ingalls’s engaging correspondence offers a rare personal view of the evolution of naval aviation during the war, both at home and abroad. There are no published biographies of navy combat flyers from this period, and just a handful of diaries and letters in print, the last appearing more than twenty years ago. Ingalls’s extensive letters and diaries add significantly to historians’ store of available material.
Carl Lavin was a high school senior when Pearl Harbor was attacked. The Canton, Ohio, native was eighteen when he enlisted, a decision that would take him with the US Army from training across the United States and Britain to combat with the 84th Infantry Division in the Battle of the Bulge. Home Front to Battlefront is the tale of a foot soldier who finds himself thrust into a world where he and his unit grapple with the horrors of combat, the idiocies of bureaucracy, and the oddities of life back home—all in the same day. The book is based on Carl’s personal letters, his recollections and those of the people he served beside, official military history, private papers, and more.
Home Front to Battlefront contributes the rich details of one soldier’s experience to the broader literature on World War II. Lavin’s adventures, in turn disarming and sobering, will appeal to general readers, veterans, educators, and students of the war. As a history, the book offers insight into the wartime career of a Jewish Ohioan in the military, from enlistment to training through overseas deployment. As a biography, it reflects the emotions and the role of the individual in a total war effort that is all too often thought of as a machine war in which human soldiers were merely interchangeable cogs.
“To those unacquainted with military history, [this book] provides an elementary, instructive, and readable military account of the American Civil War. The basic concepts of war, its conduct, management, and support, are thoroughly explained and explicitly applied throughout in order to make clear what many authors often incorrectly take for granted that readers already know. . . .
We have tried to tell the military history of the war from the viewpoint of the higher commanders on both sides. We therefore emphasize strategy and logistics rather than tactics. . . .Strategy, management, and execution weigh more than superior numbers and resources in dictating the outcomes of wars, and the Civil War is no exception. The weaker side can win; the South almost did.”