The Hallelujah Flight

Jack Lynn, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (237p) ISBN 978-0-312-04324-7
A pair of black Americans here launch a lonely struggle to be the first of their race to fly across the country in Lynn's memorable rendition of an actual 1932 event. Having read about a $1000 reward offered to the first ``negroes''stet lowercase to make the flight, pilot James Herman Banning persuades L.A. mechanic and would-be aviator Thomas Allen to join him in the attempt. Through an assiduous fund-raising campaign, the duo and their supporters collect enough money to salvage a wrecked biplane for their cause. But in this Depression-era exploit, money is always a serious problem, and trying to raise it puts the adventurers at personal risk, to say nothing of jeopardizing their endeavor. Nevertheless, Allen and Banning ``plop down every couple of miles and beg for gas, good hangars, parts and God knows what else.'' As part of their pitch, they enter the names of their patrons in a ``Gold Book,'' promising that this will eventually be displayed along with their craft, the Eagle Rock , in the Smithsonian Institution. In Lynn's ( The Factory ) hands, James and Thomas are both believable and likable--instantly sympathetic--while his plot twists make for a bittersweet ending. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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