Share This Article

Into the Sun: Novels of the United States Air Force

by Phillip S. Meilinger, Imprint Publications, Chicago, 2011, $29.95

Colonel Phillip S. Meilinger has done us all a favor by reviewing more than 400 novels on the Air Force and presenting succinct summaries and evaluations of them in Into the Sun, an important book by one of American aviation’s foremost scholars. For full disclosure, I must point out that he has kindly included seven of my own novels in his book, but that’s not the reason for this review. The true reason is gratitude for his evaluating so many novels and for giving readers a chance to savor some they might have missed. I was surprised to see how many books were totally unknown to me.

Meilinger has confined his reviews (in all but one instance) to novels about the USAF, and his “flight plan” is chronological, ranging from World War I to present. Seeing old favorites such as Falcons of France reviewed is rewarding, but even more so is the introduction of titles I had somehow missed. The names of familiar authors (Arch Whitehouse, Beirne Lay Jr., Len Deighton, James Gould Cozzens, James Salter and Mark Berent) are side by side with the names of writers I wish I’d read earlier.

Into the Sun will not only save readers time and money, it will point them in the right direction for further reading. Many of us concentrate on nonfiction, and of course this is a nonfiction work. But its true beauty lies in the fact that it can open wide new vistas for all of us on aviation fiction. Everyone who samples this highly recommended book will have their horizons broadened and tastes expanded.


Originally published in the July 2012 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.