The Last Pilot MOBI í The Last MOBI :Ê

10 thoughts on “The Last Pilot

  1. Candi Candi says:

    This book caught my attention immediately – a story about test pilots the Space Race and the first astronauts and a compelling narrative about one of those pilots his wife and their desire to start a family Jim Harrison is a US Air Force test pilot who risks his life on a daily basis Grace is a devoted wife that waits anxiously for her husband to walk through the door every night hoping his photo won’t be the next on the wall of dead pilots down at the local bar It’s the late 1940s and by day the men push the limits at Muroc Field in the Mojave Desert At night they can usually be found unwinding and sharing stories at Pancho’s Pancho’s place sat suat in six acres of bone dry desert taut with Joshua trees It has a wooden veranda flyscreen door and looked like hell She served scotch and beer and highballs and called it the Happy Bottom Riding Club Pancho has a very colorful and sensational history she loves to cuss and taunt the men to no end – but all in good fun This eccentric has a heart of gold and you would be lucky indeed to have her on your side Fast forward to the late 1950searly 1960s The Space Race is in full throttle and America does not want to fall behind the Soviets We’re standing still The American man is drinking beer on his sofa in front of his new television set while the Soviets are toiling sweating and bleeding becoming masters of the universe Maybe Average Joe should concern himself less with the depth of the pile in his new broadloom rug or the height of the tail fin on his new car NASA is looking for ualified men for the astronaut program and Jim Harrison fits the bill Choices will need to be made as Jim and Grace also face significant changes in their personal lives Can Jim turn his back on this momentous opportunity or will he need to make considerable sacrifices to stay in the race?I enjoyed this debut novel by Benjamin Johncock The backdrop of the Mojave Desert appealed to my desire to read about places I’ve never been to experience them through books I learned a lot about test piloting and the NASA program and appreciated a glimpse of real life figures like Deke Slayton Chuck Yeager Jim Lovell and John Glenn that surrounded the fictional characters of this novel The technical aspects at times went a bit over my head I felt it was expected that I would be a bit savvier regarding aircraft and aerospace technology coming into this book The prose was spare and this doesn’t typically detract from my fondness for a book However the lack of uotation marks throughout the book made me double back many times to determine who was speaking – especially when multiple characters were present during many of the conversations I felt a certain distance towards the characters at various times throughout the novel However there were moments when I could sense the real anguish the torment of those experiencing immense tragedy These moments became so authentic that I have high expectations from this author and what he can accomplish with his writing Live your life Don’t waste it lamenting what you think is reuired to complete it

  2. Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin says:

    wwwmelissa413readsalotblotspotcomI thought this book was really sad It's good but it's sad too You have Harrison who is a test pilot for the US Airforce and his wife Grace Every day there is the fear that Jim isn't going to make it back home I think the author did a great job at explaining some things a test pilot does that I would have never known But this book isn't just about that it's about friends and family Jim and Grace have a hard time trying to have kids and they have some really horrible things happen to them It was nice to just step into another world where life just seems to be going along history heartaches just life I must say my favorite and the funniest person in the book is Pancho She owns a bar and she puts up with nothing from no one I loved hearing about her story in the book I'm not going to tell it here but let me say she went through it all the way through it and came out on top with a thriving business and close friends She's one tough cookie but one of the greatest friends you would want to have I would like to thank PicadorSt Martins Press for a free print copy of this book through my book club for my honest review

  3. Joanne Harris Joanne Harris says:

    This is by far the best début novel I've read in years You can read about the plot elsewhere but for me the beauty of this novel is in the balance of the dialogue; the sustained emotion that runs through the whole; the haiku like simplicity of the prose and trust me it takes a long long time to create that sense of effortlessness Like so many of America's stories this is a Western in disguise; a uiet limpid Western where the action mostly takes place in the air and in the chambers of the heart To me it reads like the the reclusive disciple of Cormac McCarthy and St Exupéry and if it doesn't get at least on the shortlist of a major literary prize then the book world is even clueless than I've always suspected

  4. Ron Charles Ron Charles says:

    Although Benjamin Johncock is a young writer in England in The Last Pilot he re creates the early days of the US space program like someone who lived through them His story opens in 1947 when a hot shot Air Corps captain named Jim Harrison is on his way to becoming the fastest man in the world — or another bloody smear on the Mojave Desert He’s flying the X 1 basically a rocket launched from the belly of an airborne B 29 bomber which is fuel injected craziness but Jim and his buddies aren’t fools They relax each night at a bar decorated with photos of their dead colleagues “There are no mistakes” Jim says coolly “just bad pilots” During one particularly gory 36 week stretch they lost 62 menFlying through these pages you’ll recall that dynamic era when a mix of physical science and political anxiety propelled the United States to unprecedented speeds “Someone’s gonna do it eventually” a pilot’s wife says “Better that it’s us Old allies aren’t lookin so friendly any” So they beat on pushing against the limits of their rockets and their bodies wondering what exactly might happen next In one cameo Chuck Yeager notes that some engineers worry that “at the speed of sound g forces become infinite”Scientists and test pilots get a taste of infinite pressure when President Kennedy commits America to To read the rest of this review go to The Washington Posthttpwwwwashingtonpostcomenterta

  5. Holly Holly says:

    I really don't want to write a lukewarm review but I didn't like this much and know a couple of reasons why Johncock has some nice descriptions of the Mohave desert and empty bars and loneliness and the cold interior of the cockpit But I found his dialogue truly boring and hated the family story the marital arguments the wife's shrillness the protagonist's taciturnity the tragic deaths the general sentimentality it read like a Lifetime movie script Also I disagree with those who think the novel was well researched I may be wrong but I got the impression Johncock studied Tom Wolfe and that's it So much of the first half of the novel came straight out of The Right Stuff I don't just mean the history which is public property but actual scenes and dialogue from the book and the film Isn't there anything else about that American timeplace to mine for good fiction? What he didn't borrow was Wolfe's journalistic energy I admit that I long ago imprinted on Wolfe's version The Right Stuff was my favorite book when I was fifteen supplanted only by Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song guess how I learned my history? so for me this subject matter Air Force test pilots and life death and the early days of the space program calls for kinetic energy wordplay pushing the envelope macho boasting and a judicious use of honest profanity I found Johncock's restraint a little incongruous And boring

  6. Liz Barnsley Liz Barnsley says:

    Admittedly I’m struggling a little with this review because this book was as near perfect as it’s possible to be when it comes to genius storytelling emotionally resonant use of language and the ability to get you right in the heartSet against the backdrop of the space race in a bubble of time and place that the author brings utterly vividly to life The Last Pilot is a character drama that deals with themes of love loss and family that will speak to each different reader in it’s own way A truly gifted blend of history and fiction the sheer exhileration of those in the programme offset against the life of one family in the public spotlight means that The Last Pilot will stay with you foreverI really did love everything about this – Benjamin Johncock writes with a truly uniue and gripping style there is a uiet passion to the prose that just gathers you into the moment and wraps you up in the feel of it The characters are inspired all of them but I will truly hold onto Jim Grace and Florence for a long long time and I’m positive that this is a book I shall return to again and againThe hook may well be in the wonderful interpretation of an era gone by a time when humanity was attempting to spread its wings – that in and of itself would have made for a fascinating novel But the heart of it is in the people their daily struggles the authenticity of a life less ordinary within an ordinary life – there is where this story shines like a beacon a very special once in a lifetime read that I truly cannot recommend highly enoughThat’s all she wrote

  7. Jill Jill says:

    Oh this book I was a child when the whole country held its collective breath as Alan Shepard coolly exclaimed “Let’s light this candle” and became the first American to orbit the Earth Dewy eyed I worshipped a whole new group of heroesThe mastery of The Last Pilot is that within its pages the heroes become human The story centers on the fictional pilot Jim Harrison who straddles that moment of time when we forever separated the old from the new and claimed the heavens as our own Laconic enigmatic and courageous Jim Harrison rubs elbows with the legends of American lore – Chuck Yeager John Glenn Gus Grissom Deke Slayton Jim Lovell Yet while he’s being tested as a pilot he also faces a devastating test at home He and his wife Grace face a heartbreaking trauma and Harrison’s trademark saying “It’ll be okay” doesn’t necessarily make it soWhat’s so incredible is that the author Benjamin Johncock is not an American but a Brit And this is his debut novel Yet somehow some way he gets it all so right The dialogue is pitch perfect aptly described as desert dry with not one note out of place A paean to a time when Americans were inspired to reach the heavens it captures the nostalgia while at the same time not denying that real lives diverged from the public relations narrative It has been awhile since I read a 300 page book in 24 hours because I just couldn’t stop This is a wonderful homage to an astronaut translated as “star voyagers” who single mindedly pursues his dreams while striving to fight one’s worst nightmare

  8. Larry H Larry H says:

    Full disclosure I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review Many thanks to Picador for making it availableIn The Last Pilot Benjamin Johncock brings a true to life you are there feeling to the fictionalized story of Jim Harrison a test pilot for the US Air Force who in the late 1940s and 1950s was one of the elite few attempting to break the sound barrier It was a dangerous task one that led to countless pilot deaths and injuries but the risk was worth the potential rewardHarrison and his wife Grace live in the middle of the Mojave Desert along with the other pilots risking their lives for this achievement And if the worry over the potential harm that could come to Jim wasn't enough the couple is struggling with fertility issues although they want so desperately to have a baby And when Grace miraculously becomes pregnant Jim puts aside the chance to become one of the nation's first astronauts so he can help raise the couple's daughter FlorenceWhen tragedy strikes Jim must decide whether to pursue the opportunity to join the Space Race or wallow in the sadness and guilt that threaten to envelop him But although he has shown tremendous bravery and fortitude in the face of amazing risk and danger he is utterly unprepared for how hiding his pain may come to haunt him not to mention the effect a life in the public spotlight will have on his marriageJim appears alongside such real life astronauts as John Glenn Neil Armstrong Buzz Aldrin Alan Shepard Gus Grissom Wally Schirra Jim Lovell Chuck Yeager and Deke Slayton but his inclusion in their story never seems false This is a tremendously well researched and interesting look at the US in the midst of the Space Race and how the astronauts dealt with all they faced But beyond that this is a book about how dangerous unacknowledged feelings of guilt can be and the harm that comes from the things that remain unsaid It's a powerful look at grief and loss and the need to come to terms with one's feelingsIf you're interested in the early days of the Space Race and never tire of movies like The Right Stuff and Apollo 13 this might be a book for you Johncock goes into immense detail to provide context but even while he's immersing you in facts he's also capturing emotions as accurately Maybe it was all of the detail that numbed this book's appeal for me; while I thought it was well written it just didn't grab me as I had hoped it might but I've seen many other 4 and 5 star reviews so it might just be meSee all of my reviews at

  9. Imi Imi says:

    This was a great idea a test pilot training to be one of the original NASA astronauts struggles with personal problems after a family tragedy This could have been an intriguing exploration of ambition grief and loneliness while striving towards glory but the novel wasn't strong enough to pull this off The writing style was sparse and lifeless which I think is the main reason I felt completely disconnected from the characters The dialogue was pretty terrible at times and I hated the lack of uotation marks along with the overuse of the verb said which just made the prose feel even stilted Not one I can really recommend

  10. Kate Kate says:

    This book is simply wonderful an extraordinary debut Beautifully written it follows the early years of the American space programme focusing on its cost for one of its pilot astronauts and his family Outstanding

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The Last Pilot [Reading] ➬ The Last Pilot ➳ Benjamin Johncock – With echoes of Raymond Carver as well as Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff and Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road The Last Pilot re ignites the thrill and excitement of the space race through the story o With echoes of Raymond Carver as well as Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff and Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road The Last Pilot re ignites the thrill and excitement of the space race through the story of one man’s courage in the face of unthinkable loss Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally charged periods in American history The Last Pilot begins The Last MOBI :Ê in the bone dry Mojave Desert during the late s where US Air Force test pilots are racing to break the sound barrier Among the exalted few is Jim Harrison dedicated to his wife Grace and their baby daughterBy the s the space race is underway and Harrison and his colleagues are offered a place in history as the world’s first astronauts But when his young family is thrown into crisis Jim is faced with a decision that will affect the course of the rest of his life – whether to accept his ticket to the moon and at what cost.