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Bert Hall, Aviator and Mercenary of the Skies
- Weston Birch (Bert) Hall carved out his place in history with an almost devilish delight. Much of what has been written about him, including his own two autobiographies, has proven over the years to be more fiction than reality. He was labelled numerous times in his career: rogue, scoundrel, card cheat, forger, human cannonball, World War 1 pilot, criminal, bigamist, deserter, filmmaker, author, soldier of fortune, hero, Chinese General, arms smuggler, Foreign Legionnaire, salesman, aerial racer, aviation pioneer, father, and entrepreneur. Oddly enough, these titles were all true. Bert Hall's fantastic life and status as the bad boy of the Lafayette Escadrille have often eclipsed the truth. Turning to primary sources in archives around the world, many that have been overlooked for decades, this book makes the first attempt to reconstruct the life of Bert Hall. For the first time aficionados of World War 1 aviation and aviation history will get a glimpse into the life of a man who lived in extraordinary times and took advantage of them. While Bert's autobiographies were penned mostly to create a myth around his life, they often were based on kernels of truth. This book finds those kernels and paints the real-life picture of an amazing man who lived in incredible times. As the elder man of the Lafayette Escadrille, Bert was basically run out of the squadron by his colleagues. That should have been the end of his story. In reality, it was just the beginning. In an age where the world was fascinated by aviators, Bert became a real-life comic book character - a mercenary of the skies! Within two years, the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron or rogues, playboys and misfits has claimed an incredible 900 kills and produced 72 aces!
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