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Winged Victor: A Biography of Victor M. Yeates - Gordon Fred Atkin

This book arose out of the interest the author developed in his subject (Victor M. Yeates) from having read Yeates' 1934 classic First World War novel, "Winged Victory", while on holiday in the 1970s. The author also became acquainted with Yeates' widow (who was in her 80s at the time) and later with Yeates' surviving children.

Like the author, I am a fan of "Winged Victory", which I had picked up by chance at a local bookstore in the 1990s and read avidly. For that reason, I was eager to read this book and learn something about Yeates' life. The author also goes to explain to the reader how Yeates was encouraged by an old school pal turned writer to write a novel based on his wartime experiences as a fighter pilot on the Western Front in 1918. That I found rather interesting. "Winged Victory" was released to critical acclaim and initially enjoyed a measure of success for Yeates and his family. But Yeates did not live long to pursue the writing career he was shaping for himself, dying in a sanatorium on December 15, 1934, aged 37. (It would be another 27 years before "Winged Victory" was re-released to critical acclaim AND growing sales in both hardcover and paperback editions. Indeed, "Winged Victory" has now been continuously in print for the past 53 years.)

'WINGED VICTOR' will have special appeal to any reader who has read "Winged Victory" and/or has an interest in the First World War. It also has several photos featuring Yeates from boyhood to adulthood, in both war and peace. Therein lies its value in bringing Yeates back to life and giving the reader a sense of how the First World War generation lived and felt about themselves and the world in which they lived.