Hero of the Angry Sky: The World War I Diary and Letters of David S. Ingalls, America's First Naval Ace. By Geoffrey L. Rossano, ed. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2013. Photographs. Notes. Appendices. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xx, 377. $28.95 ISBN: 978-0-8214-2018-8
Geoffrey L. Rossano is a noted World War I Naval Aviation historian who won the 2013 Admiral Arthur Radford Award for Excellence in Naval Aviation History and Literature presented by the National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. The award recognizes an historian's broad body of work. As editor of David Ingalls' diary and letters, Rossano lets those documents tell the story of a young Yale University student's emergence as a combat pilot. This is the inaugural volume in the publisher's War and Society in North America Series.
At the beginning of each chapter, Rossano provides an overview of what is to follow by establishing an historical context--a useful guide for readers unfamiliar with the U.S. Navy's role in the air in World War I. The letters, most of which were written to Ingalls' parents, proceed in chronological order beginning with the spring and summer of 1917 when he trained with the First Yale Unit in Florida and New York. Along the way are excerpts from his diary or journal. Rossano frequently cites his own and others' works to better identify Ingalls' friends and associates. In fact, Rossano's use of footnotes to elaborate on personalities, places, and aircraft is one of the book's strengths.
From September 1917 to December 1918, Ingalls served in Europe with a variety of units as he passed through several different stations for training and operations. Before Ingalls made his mark flying Sopwith Camels with the Royal Air Force's No. 213 Squadron in August and September 1918, he was...