Most of us have become accustomed to the benefits of overnight air delivery of mail, packages, and freight in the past three or four decades. The onset of corporate giants like Fedex and UPS have made these services largely routine. However, when I was a kid, it was still a special treat to receive a letter with an air mail stamp affixed to it. Furthermore, it was only 95 years ago when the United States Post Office first initiated its groundbreaking service of providing air mail delivery between Washington and New York City. This momentous event took place on May 15, 1918 – a mere 15 years after the Wright Brothers inaugural flight at Kitty Hawk. The book, Mavericks of the Sky, by Barry Rosenberg and Catharine Macaulay details this amazing story in superb and “first-class” fashion.
Mavericks of the Sky is one of those books that is soooo enjoyable that you hate to put down and wish you never had to finish reading it. From takeoff right through the entire flight until landing, the book grabs your attention and never, ever let’s go. In many parts it is a white-knuckle trip as you are worried about what may happen to these aviation heroes and heroine when you turn to the next page. Each and every one of them are remarkable pioneers and brave daredevils who deserve lasting kudos for their tremendous efforts. Sadly, a number of them made the ultimate sacrifice in their efforts by paying with their lives. It’s no wonder the group was also known as “The Suicide Club.”
What intrigued me most about this book is that it documents in very rich and well-crafted detail a part of aviation history that I (and probably many others) had never heard of or read before. That, in itself, lends a rare aura of exclusivity to Mavericks of the Sky that makes it even a more special read – almost like discovering a completely new thread of human history.
My congratulations to the authors on their excellent work. Personally, I feel this book should have won many awards for great historical writing, as it introduces us to those brave flyers and visionaries who challenged treacherous and hazardous conditions, both on the ground and in the air, to inaugurate an entirely new form of mail service. Hats off especially to the “dAIRdevils” who risked life and limb on a daily basis as Mavericks of the Sky.