Yeager. An autobiography by General Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos

Yeager. An autobiography by General Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos


"Ever since Tom Wolfe's book was published, the question I'm asked most often and which always annoys me is whether I think I've got 'the right stuff.

I know that golden trout have the right stuff, and I've seen a few gals here and there that I'd bet had it in spades, but those words seem meaningless when used to describe a pilot's attributes.

"I don't deny that I was damned good. If there is such a thing as 'the best',

I was at least one of the title contenders. I've had a full life and enjoyed just about every damned minute of it because that's how I lived."

General Chuck Yeager

"The secret to my success is that I always managed to live to fly another day"

General Chuck Yeager, the greatest test pilot of them all…the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound… the World War Il fighting ace who shot down a Messerschmitt jet with a propdriven P-51 Mustang…the hero who defined a

certain quality that all the hot-shot flyboys of the post-war era aimed to achieve…Chuck Yeager is the right stuff.

Now Chuck Yeager tells his whole incredible life story with the same

"Wide-open, full throttle" approach that has marked his career as a flier. He

joined the Air Force at eighteen, fresh out of high school. By twenty-two he had risen through the ranks on the wings of his heroic exploits: his dogfighting over the flak-filled skies of Nazi Europe; his escape with the help of the French resistance after he was shot down over occupied France; his determination to stay in the war and bring down as many German planes as he could, despite orders to send him home.

But it was after the war in 1947 that Yeager captured world-wide recognition as the first test pilot to smash the sound barrier - flying the supersecret Bell X-1 despite cracked ribs from a riding accident a few days before. This was truly the Golden Age of Aviation, the exciting leap into the supersonic era, and Chuck Yeager was there every step of the way. Through him we can relive those daredevil days when pilots either set records or drilled a hole in the desert-when the tension of wondering whether you would be the

next to die could always be worked off with some hard drinking and fighting at Pancho Barnes's notorious desert bar and ranch house.

By the time he left Edwards Air Force Base in 1954 he was already a legend. But Chuck Yeager kept on setting new standards of excellence, Whether

commanding a fighter squadron in Europe, flying tactical bombers in Southeast Asia, or supervising military defense in the Pakistan-India war.

The story is all here, in Yeager's own words, and in wonderful reminiscences from his wife, Glenis, and those friends and colleagues who have known him best. Glennis's contributions to the book, as indeed to Yeager's life, are especially important for what they tell us about the day-to day strain of living with a man who daily braved death in the skies… about the special kind of

heroism it tikes for a young woman to raise a family of four in the bleak mojave desert in primitive make shift lodgings. 

Chuck Yeager's exciting, entertaining and immensely revealing book is a one-of-a-kind portrait of a true American hero.

LEO JANOS is a prize-winning author who has written extensively on a broad range os subject for the New York Times and other major publications. He was a Time Correspondent for the nine years, first in Washington, than as Houston bureau chief covering the Apollo space flights. He received the 1981 American institute of Physics-United States Steel Foundation science-writing award. 

Cover Photograph 1985 Anthony Loew

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