My professor is correct on both counts. For this novel, he reaches back to his experiences as a young lieutenant flying P Mustangs with the Eighth Air Force. Baughn tells the tale of Robb Baines, a young pilot assigned to the fictional th Fighter Group at Goxhill. His combat descriptions have the spare authenticity of an afteraction report and, at the same time, are completely gripping. He nails the details that bring the story to life, such as the disorienting terror of flying through bad weather, the petty annoyances of military bureaucracy, and the accidents that claimed as many friends as did the Luftwaffe.
No "knights of the sunlit sky" here: Baines and his squadron mates suffer as much from flack and the weather as from enemy fighters The result is bitterly won victory. Baines and his squadron mates come alive in their hopes, fears and frustrations. The empty, aching sense of loss at having flown a wingman into the ground, inadvertently but perhaps avoidably, while strafing a heavily-defended Luftwaffe airfield; the anguish of seeing the fireball of a runway collision between two young replacement pilots at the end of an otherwise brilliantly executed squadron recovery in marginal weather; the English girlfriends; the black-marketeering mess sergeant who makes himself and his English purveyor of black market eggs wealthy.
Best of all, the story is accurately framed historically. In a clever device that works remarkably well, Baughn's protagonist "flash-forwards" to his experience as a student at Armed Forces Command and Staff College in the mids where, now a major, he writes his research paper on the defeat of the Luftwaffe as essential prelude to the destruction of the Third Reich. Although brief -- and not without a degree of malice justified in my view aimed at air power's detractors -- it is the best single account of the end game of the strategic air war over Europe.
Compellingly written, Hellish Vortex is intellectually honest and historically accurate. It's definitely different in that is is very detailed and technical in the moment-by-moment descriptions of what flying a P fighter mainly as bomber escort was like, and also in describing day-to-day life for this young pilot in war-time England.
The author Richard Baughn was a decorated P pilot, and he states that what he set out to do was write a book about what it was really like. The book is a fictional account of a 19 year old pilot. It succeeds on both the fictional and the historical level, containing interesting characters, fast action, and a not small amount of action with the ladies. One aspect of this different book is it makes you very aware of how extremely hazardous every mission was for all the airmen fighter and bomber crews alike , with a much higher casualty rate than for any other service.
The hazards posed by flying in bad weather, collisions, and various other accidents added greatly to the casualty rate. One final interesting point - from the description on the book it sounds like they lived on SPAM througout the war. Makes you want a nice SPAM sandwich. I don't care if its fiction or not.
I Can Barely Navigate The Hellish Vortex Between Breakfast & Dinner Phone Flexi-Cases | LookHUMAN
Dick, just about to finish your book. I have read many books trying to get the feel of what you young men went through. Your book The Vortex is the best. I believe you captured the way it was and what it felt like over there. Thank you for writing Vortex with a bit of history so maybe other generations will learn. Easily a 5 star book. Rich Baughn flew P51's in WW2 and has written a flying story worth reading. The melodramatic tale that in interwoven is amateurish, but serves to tie the story together.
It's a first-rate story of flying what may have been the best piston-engined fighter ever built. I intend to keep my copy forever. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Well-written except in the manner it ended. It just kind of Told it like it was. You tell he'd had some experience. I can see why he's retired as a General. See all 24 reviews.
The Hellish Vortex: Between Breakfast and Dinner
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The writing is poor, character development weak and overall this was not a great read. Feb 05, Bob Harris rated it it was ok.
Not such a good read. Sophomoric writing style and language. It had its moments but they were few and far between. Pat Dennis rated it it was amazing Dec 23, Jim Ramseier rated it liked it Sep 04, Darrell White rated it it was ok Jul 01, CW Andrews rated it it was amazing Jul 13, Deb marked it as to-read Feb 23, Suzette marked it as to-read Jan 29, Max marked it as to-read Sep 26,