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The Bad Boy: Bert Hall, Aviator and Mercenary of the Skies - Blaine L Pardoe

Bert Hall (1885-1948) was the "black sheep" of the Escadrille Lafayette, the legendary group of American fighter pilots who flew for France during the First World War. This book explores in great detail his life, one that was often shrouded in mystery. Like a rolling stone that gathers no moss, Hall was a loveable rogue, a charmer, a businessman, a liar, and an adventure seeker. He came to France in 1912 in the employ of a wealthy American family as a chauffeur. Subsequently, Hall went to Paris, where he was working as a cab driver when war was declared in August 1914. Thereupon, he enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and saw action at the Front later that year. Two years later, after a campaign engineered by a number of wealthy and influential Americans in France to form an air unit in the French Aviation Militaire composed of Americans, Hall was flying Nieuport fighters in combat with N-124, better known as the Escadrille Lafayette. 

Hall later left N-124 and served with a French unit in Russia. Eventually, he made his way back to the U.S., wrote a best selling book about his war experiences, and appeared in a movie (in 1918) as the dashing air hero. Whatever one may think of Bert Hall, what is certain is that he lived life to the full