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Ace of the Black Cross (Hardback)

The Memoirs of Ernst Udet

Aviation WWI All Frontline Books Frontline: WWI Frontline: Aviation

By Ernst Udet
Frontline Books
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781848327085
Published: 7th August 2013

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Above the mud and misery of the First World War trenches, the battle in the air between the first primitive aircraft and the intrepid aviators who flew them was played out like a medieval knightly tournament. This deadly contest is brought evocatively to light in the remarkable memoir of Ernst Udet, the German 'ace of aces', whose wartime record was second only to the legendary 'Red Baron'.

Writing in a jaunty, Boy's Own style, Udet captures what many young pilots felt as they flew off each day to duel with the
enemy, the elements and an unreliable technology. Udet also recalls the many scrapes he experienced while flying for a living. After the war he became a stunt pilot, light aircraft manufacturer, star of the silver screen and playboy. In 1933, he joined the Nazi Party and became involved in the early development of the Luftwaffe.

The war of 1939, however, was to prove anything but chivalric for this former ace. He had risen to the post of Director- General of Equipment for the Luftwaffe, but it was a role for which he was illequipped and ill-suited, and he turned increasingly to alcohol. In 1941, disillusioned and depressed, he shot himself. On the wall before he died he scrawled a message for Göring: 'Iron man, you have betrayed me'.

The new edition of this aviation classic contains an introduction by Professor Richard Overy which examines the man behind the memoirs.

Udet's post-war adventures are fascinating. His telling of them may or may not require a pinch of salt but it is great stuff none-the-less. Illustrated with a dozen or so photographs, most dating from the post-war period.

Cross & Cockade

About Ernst Udet

Born in 1896, Ernst Udet joined the infant German Air Service in 1915. He went onto win the Iron Cross First Class and Pour le Mérite. Between the wars Udet became a stunt pilot. In 1939 he was put in charge of air force development and production, but on 17 November 1941, he killed himself.

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