Airplanes, Women, and Song: Memoirs of a Fighter Ace, Test Pilot, and Adventurer

Boris Sergievsky, Author, Allan Forsyth, Editor, Adam Hochschild, Editor Syracuse University Press $29.95 (2995p) ISBN 978-0-8156-0545-4
In the summer of 1934, pilot Sergievsky began to dictate the memoirs of his ""vital, turbulent"" life. Born in czarist Russia, the rakish Sergievsky served both as an infantry officer and a fighter pilot in WWI. After the Bolshevik revolution, he fought in the White Army before emigrating to the U.S. in 1923 and eventually becoming the chief test pilot for the Sikorsky aircraft company. Intended for quick publication, these memoirs instead occupied a desk drawer for more than 35 years, until Sergievsky's death, and were then published in Russian as part of a memorial booklet given to the aviator's friends in the New York emigre community. The memoirs were subsequently discovered by Sergievsky's nephew, Hochschild (The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin, etc.), who teamed up with aviation writer Forsyth (The Chinese Communist Air Force) to present the memoirs in the larger context of Sergievsky's role in both Russian and aviation history. As an airborne raconteur, the adventure-loving, lady-killing Sergievsky is tough to beat. But the book's greatest value is its remarkable view of the sparsely recorded events of the Eastern Front of WWI. Liberally illustrated with period photos, this memoir will attract military, aviation and history buffs and anyone interested in reading about a lustily lived--and somewhat charmed--life amid the perils of the 20th century. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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