cover image Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice

Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice

Adam Makos. Ballantine, $28 (464p) ISBN 978-0-8041-7658-3

Journalist Makos follows 2012’s A Higher Call with another true story of heroic actions by wartime pilots, told in a flamboyant and slightly overwrought style. This time the conflict is the Korean War and Makos’s tale centers on the first African-American U.S. Navy carrier pilot, Jesse Brown, who died in action even though fellow pilot Tom Hudner, an upper-class son of a New England grocery store magnate, led selfless actions to try to save his life. “There has been no finer act of unselfish heroism in military history,” Hudner’s commanding officer later said of his courageous attempt to save Brown. The story is told mainly through the voices of the men who took part in the action; Makos and his staff conducted many interviews to use as sources. The overabundant use of reconstructed dialogue—some of which barely rings true—gives the book the feel of an adventure novel. The entire package seems to be an attempt to tell a screenplay-ready, Greatest Generation tale similar to Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. Makos tells a good story, but it’s not at Hillenbrand’s level. [em]Agent: David Vigliano, AGI-Vigliano Literary. (Nov.) [/em]