Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed
The most inspiring biographies (at least for this reviewer) do more than just recount a life story; they paint a portrait of the time and place in which that life was lived, providing context and helping the reader understand a person by understanding their world. And of course, they do it without pointless digressing or empty padding to inflate the page count. Enduring Courage accomplishes this task splendidly.
The story of Eddie Rickenbacker is a Hollywood biopic waiting to be made: from impoverished seventh-grade dropout to self-taught engineer at the birth of the automotive era, then one of America’s first racing stars, then a renowned WWI fighter pilot, hero, daredevil, innovator, and entrepreneur – Rickenbacker lived on the cusp of his world, squeaking past death more times than any action star, embodying the cultural and social changes in America in the early 20th century. The story is fascinating on its own, but Ross includes plenty of supplementary history to pique the reader’s interest, and the narrative style makes the pages fly as fast as one of Eddie’s planes. This is the story of a remarkable man living in remarkable times, and is highly recommended.