Book Reviews


 

Flying Blind Review
January 2, 2017

Debbie Floyd rated it 4 stars: Really liked it.

I won this book as a Goodreads giveaway. I enjoyed reading a novel about this aspect of the war in the Pacific during WWII. I want to thank the author for writing this novel and bringing to light some of the things that the pilots endured while shuttling supplies for the war efforts.

Texjim liked it on Goodreads
October 11, 2016

This is a fictional first person account of an army transport pilot in the south Asian theater during world war II. Roger Caron is a mid-thirties flight officer who joined the service voluntarily after Pearl Harbor. He gets assigned to a cargo service in Burma that is tasked with ferrying supplies over the Himalayas into western China in support of the nationalist Chinese efforts against the occupying Japanese forces. The conditions on the ground are primitive but the flying conditions over the mountains are horrific. Planes are lost regularly, sometimes one a day and everyone has lost a friend or two. These lumbering cargo planes are seldom free to exercise visual flight rules and are almost always flying on instruments with hidden high mountain peaks just off their wing tips. After many harrowing transits, Roger and his crew are forced to abandon ship over the remote Burmese jungle and are forced to walk out all the while surviving on berries and an occasional fish.. In the end the war ends and Roger is able to return home only to find personal tragedy awaits.

The story is an enlightening and human account of an often overlooked and highly dangerous part of the war in Asia. The text is well written and reads much like a personal diary recreating all of the drama and emotional suspense experienced by these largely unrecognized heroes. Oppressive heat, wind, ice, hail freezing cold, insects and an occasional Japanese zero regularly assail these men and their primitive jury rigged aircraft. Because of the nature of the story it tends to plod along at times but I think that any WW II or aviation buff would really enjoy this one.

Fly Me to Brazil Review

Amazon 4 out of 5 Stars: Yes, please do!
June 17, 2014
By Thomas Hessler on June 17, 2014
Format: Paperback
If you like travel to exotic locales, you'll like "Fly Me to Brazil." Chastain entertains us with background story while introducing us to sites, customs and adventures in an area in which he has spent time and, it is apparent, encountered an experience he enjoyed. If you should read Chastain's story, you, as I, will probably be pondering how you might arrange such a trip. Bon voyage!

Flying Blind Review

Amazon 4.5 our of 5 Stars: Good read
July 24, 2014
By cubdriver
This review is from: Flying Blind (Kindle Edition)
Good book, gives insight to a part of ww2 not well known to most.

Recommended to anyone interested in aviation during ww2 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!, June 27, 2011
By jteresi - See all my reviews

This review is from: Flying Blind (Hardcover)

I just finished reading "flying Blind" by Kenneth Chastain. I grew up in the '40s and '50s reading books and seeing movies about WWII. I loved all of Ken's stories about the action and the heroes. This book tells a great story about a piece of the action in the Pacific Theatre. It is a wonderful glimpse of life about a very necessary, but little told bit of history of that war. I cannot imagine the courage it took to fly small planes in such threatening weather and geography...knowing that any flight could be your last. Ken's story not only chronicles the bravery that men are able to rise to, but it also shows the human side of our warriors as they tried to live their lives.

This is a very good read, and I would recommend it to any World War II buff, or to anyone who wants to read a good book about the men, machines, and life as it was in a different time.

Jim Teresi, Round Rock, Texas

Review for Flying Blind

"It is an absolute pleasure reading Flying Blind by Kenneth Chastain. The book is most informative and entertaining. Some of the episodes are both tense and suspenseful. For the history buffs there is considerable reference to the Japanese - Chinese conflict of World War II. There are moments when one wants to pause and applaud."

Dr. Edward Karabenick, PHD
Professor California State University, Long Beach
(Retired)

BOOK REPORTS –
Hump Pilots Association, Inc. Newsletter
Spring 2004

Winged History, The Life and Times of Kenneth L. Chastain, Aviator
By Kenneth L. Chastain, Jr.

This is a biography of a Humpster, Kenneth L. Chastain, Sr., written by his son, Kenneth Chastain, Jr., who has presented his dad’s activities from his birth in 1913 to his demise.  Fascinating experiences include 75 Hump crossings from Mityinkina and Search and Rescue from Mohanbari.

The newspaper style is easy reading of the local, national and world happenings around Chastain, Sr.’s goings and comings.  Like reading the daily paper.

For the younger readers it is painless history and for us contemporaries a pleasant memory refresher.  I recommend this well written book…

Peyton R. Walmsley
Editor
Hump Pilots Association
720 S. Tyler Ste B132
Amarillo, Texas

Winged History, The Life and Times of Kenneth L. Chastain, Aviator
By Kenneth L. Chastain, Jr.

Kenneth Chastain's "Winged History" is far more than the title might lead you to believe. Although it is a very good history of aircraft from early wood/fabric, small horsepower biplanes to the advancements of the Boeing 707 jetliner, it is not told from a "technical" point-of-view, but rather the more "human" side of aviation. The author grew up around airplanes, but did not have a passion for flying like his father did. Even after the death of his mother when he was quite young, the pilot's son was never able to connect with his emotionally distant, frequently absent pilot-father until the last years of his father's life. It's a poignant story about a son re-connecting with his father, an aviator, and how their personal history is inextricably interwoven with the history of aviation.

Review by Carol Zimmerman on Amazon
Writer's Agent
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA