Cover image for Devotion : an epic story of heroism, friendship, and sacrifice
Title:
Devotion : an epic story of heroism, friendship, and sacrifice
ISBN:
9780804176583
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
xv, 445 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Contents:
Ghosts and Shadows -- The Lesson of a Lifetime -- Swimming with Snakes -- The Woods -- The Renaissance Man -- This Is Flying So Far, So Fast -- The Ring -- The Pond -- One for the Vultures -- A Time for Faith -- A Deadly Business -- A Knock in the Night -- The Dancing Fleet -- The Reunion -- Only in France -- The Friendly Invasion -- At First Sight -- On Waves to War -- The Longest Step -- The Last Night in America -- The Beast in the Gorge -- Into the Fog -- This Is It -- Trust -- He Might Be a Flyer -- Home -- The First Battle of World War III -- The Sky Will Be Black -- A Chill in the Night -- A Taste of the Dirt -- When the Deer Come Running -- Backs to the Wall -- A Smoke in the Cold -- The Lost Legion -- Burning the Woods -- Into Hell Together -- All the Faith in the World -- Unease -- With Deep Regret -- To the Finish -- The Gift -- The Call from the Capital -- The Message -- Afterword.
Summary:
The inspirational story of the U.S. Navy's most famous aviator duo, Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown, and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African American sharecropper's son from Mississippi, Jesse became the Navy's first black carrier pilot, defending a nation that wouldn't even serve him in a bar. While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world's most dangerous job--landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier--a line of work that Jesse's young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept. Deployed to the Mediterranean, Tom and Jesse meet the Fleet Marines, boys like PFC 'Red' Parkinson, a farm kid from the Catskills. In between war games in the sun, the young men revel on the Riviera, partying with millionaires and even befriending the Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea. Devotion takes us soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse, and into the foxholes with Red and the Marines as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates and the Marines are cornered at the Chosin Reservoir, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to try and save them. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history's most audacious one-man rescue mission. A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend?
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Summary

Summary

For readers of Unbroken comes an unforgettable tale of courage from America's "forgotten war" in Korea, by the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call.

Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy's most famous aviator duo, Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown, and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African American sharecropper's son from Mississippi, Jesse became the navy's first black carrier pilot, defending a nation that wouldn't even serve him in a bar.

While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world's most dangerous job--landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier--a line of work that Jesse's young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept.

Deployed to the Mediterranean, Tom and Jesse meet the Fleet Marines, boys like PFC "Red" Parkinson, a farm kid from the Catskills. In between war games in the sun, the young men revel on the Riviera, partying with millionaires and even befriending the Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea.

Devotion takes us soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse, and into the foxholes with Red and the Marines as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates and the Marines are cornered at the Chosin Reservoir, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to try and save them. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history's most audacious one-man rescue mission.

A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend?

Praise for Devotion

"Riveting . . . a meticulously researched and moving account." -- USA Today

"An inspiring tale . . . portrayed by Makos in sharp, fact-filled prose and with strong reporting." -- Los Angeles Times

"[A] must-read." -- New York Post

"Stirring." -- Parade

"A masterful storyteller . . . [Makos brings] Devotion to life with amazing vividness. . . . [It] reads like a dream. The perfectly paced story cruises along in the fast lane--when you're finished, you'll want to start all over again." --Associated Press

"A delight to read . . . Devotion is a story you will not forget." -- The Washington Times

"My great respect for Tom Hudner knows no bounds. He is a true hero; and in reading this book, you will understand why I feel that way." --President George H. W. Bush

"This is aerial drama at its best--fast, powerful, and moving." --Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake

"Though it concerns a famously cold battle in the Korean War, make no mistake: Devotion will warm your heart." --Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice

"At last, the Korean War has its epic, a story that will stay with you long after you close this book." --Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author of Fearless and Legend


Author Notes

Hailed as "a masterful storyteller" by the Associated Press, Adam Makos is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Higher Call and the critically acclaimed Devotion . Inspired by his grandfathers' service, Adam chronicles the stories of American veterans with his trademark fusion of intense human drama and close-up military action, securing his place "in the top ranks of military writers," according to the Los Angeles Times . In the course of his research, Adam has flown a World War II bomber, accompanied a Special Forces raid in Iraq, and journeyed into North Korea in search of an MIA American serviceman.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Agent: David Vigliano, AGI-Vigliano Literary. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

The story of a mission over North Korea in 1950 when, in an almost suicidally brave gesture, a Navy pilot tried to pull his friend from burning wreckage. Given the subjectspilots Tom Hudner, white, and Jesse Brown, blackmany authors would be tempted to write an inspiring story of racial tolerance, the brotherhood of warriors, and patriotic sacrifice. Journalist Makos (co-author: A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II, 2012) yields to that temptation, resulting in worshipful biographies of two men who overcame adversity to achieve their dreams as Navy pilots, bonded despite vastly different backgrounds, and risked their lives for freedom. The book, writes the author, is "an inspirational story of an unlikely friendship. It's the tale of a white pilot from the country clubs of New England and a black pilot from a southern sharecropper's shack forming a deep friendship in an era of racial hatred." Brown died in his plane, and the author's interviews with those who knew him turn up only good things. He endured humiliating racial persecution but excelled at school, worked his way through college, enlisted in the Navy, and became the first black carrier pilot. Raised in a prosperous Massachusetts family, Hudner had an easier time achieving his dream, but Makos' portrait of him is equally admiring. Their final flight took place to support Marines trapped around the frozen Chosin Reservoir, and Makos detours regularly for shorter biographies of several who fought and suffered on the ground. For more than half the book, the author describes peacetime service of a naval band of brothers: training, camaraderie, horseplay, etc. There follows the stories of two months of ground-attack missions culminating in the action that won Hudner the Medal of Honor. An account of a genuinely inspiring deed written as a breathless docudrama. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

Tom Hudner was an F4U Corsair pilot during the Korean War who risked his life in an attempt to save another. Jesse Brown was the Navy's first African American pilot. While undoubtedly the book's main subjects, Hudner and Brown are representative of several pilots who served in that war, many of whom are mentioned in the text. Makos's (A Higher Call) novelistic latest is about more than Brown's legacy and Hudner's actions. The author discusses pilot training and preparation for the war, as well as personal aspects of pilots' lives. Included are tales of marines who served on the ground in Korea, and who therefore benefited from the actions of close-support fighters such as Corsairs and Skyraiders. Makos provides a visualization of combat both in the air and on the ground, tapping into the psyches of marines and pilots engaged in battle. -VERDICT Based on interviews with many of the volume's characters in addition to official documents and reports, this account should appeal to general readers interested in the Korean War, military history, and the transcendence of race issues in the 1950s.-Matthew Wayman, -Pennsylvania State Univ. Lib., Schuylkill Haven © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1 Ghosts and Shadows December 4, 1950 North Korea, during the first year of the Korean War In a black-­blue flash, a Corsair fighter burst around the valley's edge, turning hard, just above the snow. The engine snarled. The canopy glimmered. A bomb hung from the plane's belly and rockets from its wings. Another roar shook the valley and the next Corsair blasted around the edge. Then came a third, a fourth, a fifth, and more until ten planes had fallen in line. The Corsairs dropped low over a snow-­packed road and followed it across the valley, between snow-­capped hills and strands of dead trees. The land was enemy territory, the planes were behind the lines. From the cockpit of the fourth Corsair, Lieutenant Tom Hudner reached forward to a bank of switches above the instrument panel. With a flick, he armed his eight rockets. Tom was twenty-­six and a navy carrier pilot. His white helmet and raised goggles framed the face of a movie star--­flat eyebrows over ice-­blue eyes, a chiseled nose, and a cleft chin. He dressed the part too, in a dark brown leather jacket with a reddish fur collar. But Tom could never cut it as a star of the silver screen--­his eyes were far too humble. At 250 miles per hour, Tom chased the plane ahead of him. It was nearly 3 p.m., and dark snow clouds draped the sky with cracks of sun slanting through. Tom glanced from side to side and checked his wingtips as the treetops whipped by. Beyond the hills to the right lay a frozen man-­made lake called the Chosin Reservoir. The flight was following the road up the reservoir's western side. The radio crackled and Tom's eyes perked up. "This is Iroquois Flight 13," the flight leader announced from the front. "All quiet, so far." "Copy that, Iroquois Flight," replied a tired voice. Seven miles away, at the foot of the reservoir, a Marine air controller was shivering in his tent at a ramshackle American base. His maps revealed a dire situation around him. Red lines encircled the base--­red, enemy lines. To top it off, it was one of the coldest winters on record. And the war was still new. *** The engine droned, filling Tom's cockpit with the smell of warm oil. Tom edged forward in his seat and looked past the whirling propeller. His eyes settled on the Corsair in front of him. In the plane ahead, a pilot with deep brown skin peered through the rings of his gunsight. The man's face was slender beneath his helmet, his eyebrows angled over honest dark eyes. Just twenty-­four, Ensign Jesse Brown was the first African American carrier pilot in the U.S. Navy. Jesse had more flight time than Tom, so in the air, he led. Jesse dipped his right wing for a better view of the neighboring trees. Tom's gut tensed. "See something, Jesse?" Tom radioed. Jesse snapped his plane level again. "Not a thing." Through the canopy's scratched Plexiglas, Tom watched the cold strands blur past at eye level. The enemy was undoubtedly there, tucked behind trees, grasping rifles, holding their fire so the planes would pass. Tom clenched his jaw and focused his eyes forward. As tempting as it was, the pilots couldn't strafe a grove of trees on a hunch. They needed to spot the enemy first. The enemy were the White Jackets, Communist troops who hid by day and attacked by night. For the previous week, their human waves had lapped against the American base night after night, nearly overrunning the defenses. Nearly a hundred thousand White Jackets were now laying siege to the base and more were arriving and moving into position. Against this foe stood the base's ten thousand men--­some U.S. Army soldiers, some British Commandos, but mostly U.S. Marines. Reportedly, the base even had its cooks, drivers, and clerks manning the battle lines at night, freezing alongside the riflemen. Their survival now hinged on air power and the Corsair pilots knew it. Every White Jacket they could neutralize now would be one fewer trying to bayonet a young Marine that night. "Heads up, disturbances ahead!" the flight leader radioed. Finally, something, Tom thought. Tom's eyes narrowed. Small boulders dotted the snow beside the road. "Watch the rocks!" Jesse said as he zipped over them. "Roger," Tom replied. Tom wrapped his index finger over the trigger of the control stick. His eyes locked on the roadside boulders. When caught in the open, White Jackets would sometimes drop to the ground and curl over their knees. From above, their soiled uniforms looked like stone and the side flaps of their caps hid their faces. The rock pile slipped behind Tom's wings. He glanced into his rearview mirror. Behind his tail flew a string of six Corsairs with whirling, yellow-­tipped propellers. If any rocks stood now to take a shot, Tom's buddies would deal with them. Tom trusted the men behind him, just as Jesse entrusted his life to Tom. After two months of flying combat together, Tom and Jesse were as close as brothers, although they hailed from different worlds. A sharecropper's son, Jesse had grown up dirt poor, farming the fields of Mississippi, whereas Tom had spent his summers boating at a country club in Massachusetts as an heir to a chain of grocery stores. In 1950 their friendship was genuine, just ahead of the times. Tom caught the green blur of a vehicle beneath his left wing. Then another on the right. He leaned from side to side for a better view. Abandoned American trucks and jeeps lined the roadsides. Some sat on flat tires and others nosed into ditches. Snow draped the vehicles; their ripped canvas tops flapped in the wind. Cannons jutted here and there, their barrels wrapped in ice. Tom's eyes narrowed. Splashes of pink colored the surrounding snow. "Oh Lord," he muttered. The day before, the Marines had been attacked here as they fought their way back to the base. In subzero conditions, spilled blood turned pink. "Bodies, nine o'clock!" the flight leader announced as he flew past a hill on the left. "God, they're everywhere!" Jesse zipped by in silence. Tom nudged his control stick to the left and his fifteen-­thousand-­pound fighter dipped a wing. Sun warmed the hillside, revealing bodies stacked like sandbags across the slope. Mounds of dead men poked from the snow, their frozen blue arms reaching defiantly. Tom's eyes tracked the carnage as he flew past. Are they ours or theirs? he wondered. Just the day before, he had flown over and seen the Marines down there, waving up at him, their teenage faces pale and waxy. He had heard rumors of the horrors they faced after nightfall. That's when the temperature dropped to twenty below, when the enemy charged in waves, when the Americans' weapons froze and they fought with bayonets and fists. Aboard the aircraft carrier, Tom and the other pilots had become accustomed to starting each morning with the same question: "Did our boys survive the night?" With a deep growl, the flight--­now just six Corsairs--­burst into a new valley northwest of the reservoir. Frustration lined Tom's face. The enemy had remained elusive so the flight leader had dispatched the rearmost four Corsairs to search elsewhere. The remaining six planes followed the road farther into hostile territory. The clouds ahead became stormier, as if the road were luring the pilots into Siberia itself. Tom scanned for signs of life as the flight raced between frozen fields. Snow-­covered haystacks slipped past his wings. Crumbling shacks. Trees swaying in the wind. "Possible footprints!" Jesse announced. Tom glanced eagerly forward. "Nope, just shadows," Jesse muttered as he flew overhead. Tom could tell that Jesse was frustrated too. They both should have been far from this winter wasteland. Tom should have been sipping a scotch in a warm country club back home and Jesse should have been bouncing his baby daughter on his lap under a Mississippi sun. Instead, they'd both come here as volunteers. It wasn't the risk that bothered them--­they were frustrated because they wanted to do something, anything, to defend the boys at the base. The night before, Jesse had written to his wife, Daisy, from the carrier: "Knowing that he's helping those poor guys on the ground, I think every pilot on here would fly until he dropped in his tracks." Ahead of the flight, a voice barked a command from a roadside field. A dozen or more rifles and submachine guns rose up from the snow. Numb fingers gripped the weapons and shaking arms aimed skyward--­arms wrapped in white quilted uniforms. The White Jackets. They had heard the planes coming and taken cover. The shadow of the first Corsair passed overhead--­yet the enemy troops held their fire. The second shadow zipped safely past, too. The shadow of Jesse's Corsair next raced toward the spot where weapons stood like garden stakes. As Jesse's shadow stretched over the hidden soldiers, the voice shouted. The rifles and submachine guns fired a volley, sending bullets rocketing upward. Quickly, the weapons lowered back into the snow. The shadow of Tom's plane flew over the enemy next, then two more Corsair shadows in quick succession. Over the roar of their 2,250-­horsepower engines, none of the pilots heard the gunshots. One would later remember seeing the disturbance in the snow, but at 250 miles per hour, no one saw the enemy. Rather than patrol another desolate valley, the flight leader climbed into an orbit over the surrounding mountains and ordered the flight to reform. Tom pulled alongside Jesse's right wing and together they climbed toward the others. "This is Iroquois Flight 13," the leader radioed the base. "Road recon came up dry. Got anything else?" "Copy," the Marine controller replied. "Let me check." Tom and Jesse tucked in behind the leader and his wingman. The trailing two Corsairs slipped in behind them. From the rear of the formation, a pilot named Koenig radioed with alarm. "Jesse, something's wrong--­looks like you're bleeding fuel!" Jesse squirmed in his seat to see behind his tail, but his range of vision ended at his seatback. He looked to Tom across the cold space between their planes. Excerpted from Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Brotherhood, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.