The Eagle’s Last Flight, Book One- The Cold War by Ron Standerfer. (The Pelican Communications Group), September 2013, 400 pages, 641 KB. ASIN: BOOF3KX5HW, Kindle Price $2.99
In The Eagle’s Last Flight Standerfer begins with the Prologue in 1969 Vietnam with the main character, Colonel Skip O’Neill flying an F-100 Super Saber jet above the jungle floors dropping bombs on target one second and heading toward the ground the next. Definitely, an edge of your seat opening.
Chapter one jumps forward to 1999 where Skip is lying in a bed in the New York University Medical Center battling leukemia as a result from a 1957 nuclear test he witnessed. Standerfer wrote, “The flash from the detonation was so blinding that for a fraction of a second, he could see the bones of his hands as he covered his eyes. It was like looking at an X-ray.”
So begins the story of Colonel O’Neill drifting from a morphine-induced state in 1999 to a look back at his career and life and this is where the difficulties appear.
A good book has a balance of highs and lows or fast pace, slow pace reading that moves the story along. For me the slow paces, especially when Skip started night school, went off to college, and met Christy and up to the wedding rehearsal was a long slow pace that some may find bordering on the boring side. At times it read a bit like a poorly written romance novel. While reading this section, I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps this portion would have been better presented if it was gradually introduced throughout the story.
Standerfer’s writing is excellent and keeps the reader interested in the section that he knows the best: the aspects of the Air Force and his personal experiences of the nuclear testing: the adventure that everyone looks for in a good book.
Because Skip is based on Standerfer’s life and personal experiences in the military, it is a believable story: a story that others can relate too, even if they never flew an airplane or took an airplane flight.
As a Veteran, I know that not every part of the military life is as exciting as the opening portion of the book. Nor is civilian life for that matter. But, when I pick up a book to read, I want to be immersed so deep into the story that I can’t put the book down. And with The Eagle’s Last Flight, Book One, I found some of the pace too slow like listening to my best friend telling me all about his life, not leaving out any details. And when reading a book, I want to be able to feel part of the book, like the adventure/military portions of this one, and use my imagination to think that perhaps I am Skip. Even the part where Skip is in primary training just trying to get the plane off the ground had me glued to the pages whereas, many parts of his personal life, did not.
Some readers may confuse this book for a real life memoir or autobiography instead of a fictional story about a military officer’s experience in the Cold War and his personal life.
I would not discount this book by any means and am looking forward to reading Book Two and Three just to find out more about Skip, his military pals, and to see what other military adventures I can fly along with.
I rank, Book One as 4 Stars and would encourage other readers to at least give it a try.
Cynthia Harris, Veteran, Women’s Army Corps
Co-author: Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate
About The Book
Book Genre: Fiction, Military History/Aviation
Publisher:The Pelican Communications Group (A proud Indie publisher)
Release Date: September 9, 2013