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RESURRECTION OF AN OBSCURE WWI AIR HERO

Bill Lambert: World War I Flying Ace - Samuel J. Wilson

Samuel J. Wilson through this book has brought back to life Bill Lambert (1894-1982), an American fighter pilot who had flown with the British during the First World War. Lambert, who emerged from the war, as America's second ranking ace, had fallen into obscurity in the early postwar years (for a host of reasons, mostly owing to his desire to put the war firmly behind him) and wouldn't be "discovered" by the general public til the publication of his wartime memoir "Combat Report" in the early 1970s. ("Combat Report" - which I read several months ago - offers a fine, gripping account of Lambert's experiences with No. 24 Squadron on the Western Front between March and August 1918.)

The book traces Lambert's life from his wartime experiences (which led to a nervous breakdown which profoundly affected the rest of his life), to his brief stint as a barnstormer and airmail pilot in 1919 and 1920 (which show a Lambert that may surprise most readers), a salesman, a small businessman and inventor in his hometown (Ironton, Ohio), his service as an officer in the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) during the Second World War, and his later life as a First World War aviation artist, author, and sought-after luminary. 

My own fault with the book is its glaring typos, which somewhat detract from the quality of the text. 

In all likelihood, "BILL LAMBERT: WORLD WAR I FLYING ACE" is a book that will have greater appeal to aviation enthusiasts and history buffs than the casual reader. Nevertheless, it is a book worth reading to get a sense of a world that no longer exists.