Race to Hawaii: The 1927 Dole Air Derby and the Thrilling First Flights That Opened the Pacific

Jason Ryan. Chicago Review Press, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-912777-25-2
In this entertaining account, journalist Ryan (Hell Bent: One Man’s Crusade to Crush the Hawaiian Mob) recounts the harrowing stories of the first efforts to reach Hawaii by air from California, which, at the dawn of aviation in the 1920s, was as fanciful—and as alluring—as flying to Mars seems now. Most travelers today don’t consider how difficult it was just a century ago to get to Hawaii at all, given the islands’ relative tininess in the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. But as flight technology improved in the wake of WWI, several American airmen—military and civilian—resolved to battle adverse weather, limited fuel-carrying capacity, and the navigational challenges of the 2,400-mile trip to try to win the honor of being first to fly there. An attempt by the U.S. Navy in 1925 left several men lost at sea for days. On June 29, 1927, two Army officers accomplished the feat, landing in Oahu and becoming media sensations. Later that summer, 10 men competing in the Dole Derby, a contest sponsored by pineapple magnate James Dole, perished in their attempts to duplicate the feat. Aviation buffs, armchair adventurers, historians, and Hawaii aficionados will be unable to put down this gripping book. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 08/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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