As we approach the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into the First World War (April 6th, 1917), it is good to read a book like "THE FLEDGLING" whose author (Charles Nordhoff, who would later acquire fame with James Norman Hall, as one of the authors of the novel, "Mutiny on the Bounty", which in turn, was adapted to the screen and became a successful movie in 1935, starring Charles Loughton and Clark Gable) had served as a fighter pilot (pilote de chasse) on the Western Front.
Nordhoff begins his story with a series of letters describing the experiences he had as an ambulance driver at the Front with a French unit from January to June 1917. Then he goes on to provide the reader with some revealing and insightful perspectives on his experiences both as a trainee pilot and later in 1918 as a frontline fighter pilot in the French Aéronautique Militaire.
Originally published in 1919, "THE FLEDGLING" provides the reader with a fresh and sober appraisal of a war that had only been recently concluded. This freshness makes the book worth reading for anyone wanting to better understand an era only recently receded into history.