Marked for Death

  • by James Hamilton-Paterson
  • Narrated by Gildart Jackson
  • 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A dramatic and fascinating account of aerial combat during World War I, revealing the terrible risks taken by the men who fought and died in the world's first war in the air.
Little more than 10 years after the first powered flight, aircraft were pressed into service in World War I. Nearly forgotten in the war's massive overall death toll, some 50,000 aircrew would die in the combatant nations' fledgling air forces. The romance of aviation had a remarkable grip on the public imagination, propaganda focusing on gallant air "aces" who become national heroes. The reality was horribly different. Marked for Death debunks popular myth to explore the brutal truths of wartime aviation: of flimsy planes and unprotected pilots; of burning, screaming 19-year-olds falling to their deaths; of pilots blinded by the entrails of their observers.
James Hamilton-Paterson also reveals how four years of war produced profound changes both in the aircraft themselves, and in military attitudes and strategy. By 1918 it was widely accepted that domination of the air above the battlefield was crucial to military success, a realization that would change the nature of warfare forever.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I have read and listened to many books on WW1 aviation. This was arranged topically rather than chronologically. I learned a lot that I didn't know before. The narrator was very good also.
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- Amazon Customer

Not a swashbuckler but has some interesting stuff

While this book definitely contained a number of accounts of flying with the RFC in WW1, it wasn't as lively as some other books (e.g. Open Cockpit, which is referenced in this book). It does, however, contain a number of facts about the early days of the RFC and RAF.

It is probably important to note that this book is specifically about the RFC / RAF. It touches on the air services of other countries only when necessary to complete a point. In fact, the book ends with details of how the RFC evolved into the RAF of 2015 and the author's feelings about that evolution.

As opposed to most accounts of WW1 aviation, this one is not chronological. It, instead, builds chapters around topics of interest. For example, there are chapters on the 1914 -
1918 evolutions in: aircraft design (teaching, among other things, why biplanes were favored over monoplanes - a reason different than most people think), aviation medicine, pilot lives, and armament.

I thought the narrator was quite good, picking up decent accents to represent people from various countries. It seemed that there were a few mispronunciations but I suspect these were actually just differences between the way that words are pronounced in the UK and here in the US.

So, while I prefer first person flying stories that provide facts from the time (Open Cockpit is really a great listen for anyone so interested), this was a fine book for any World War One aviation enthusiast interested in learning facts that aren't generally covered in books of this genre.
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- B Taub

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-01-2016
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.