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Tales of a War Pilot, by Richard C. Kirkland, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1998, $21.95.

Richard C. Kirkland is a decorated pilot who flew World War II combat missions, participated in atomic bomb tests after the war and then switched aircraft types and flew helicopter rescue missions during the Korean War. He not only provides an I-was-there look at his own experiences but also observes how other airmen behaved and survived during the war-torn decade between 1943 and 1953.

Kirkland describes encounters with some of the top flying aces of his day, the unforgettable experience of victory in battle and the emotions felt by those rescued in helicopters of earlier days. This is a personal and insightful collection of experiences that is an easy read, and can be enjoyed one story at at time.

Arthur H. Sanfelici