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Thread: WGFB: Way of the Eagle, The

  1. #1

    Default WGFB: Way of the Eagle, The

    Book Title:
    The Way of the Eagle
    Major Charles J. Biddle
    In The Way of the Eagle, Philadelphia native Charles Biddle’s account of flying in World War I, we have a classic aviation memoir, long out of print, that provides new insights into America’s participation in the Great War.

    Biddle volunteered and was active in France from 1917, where he flew as a volunteer, initially for the French in Escadrille 73, and then in the American 103rd Aero Squadron (the Lafayette Escadrille), and then the 13th Aero Squadron and 4th Pursuit Group (which he commanded).

    His memoir was published shortly after his return to the United States and so provides an immediacy that is lacking in other books that were written later. It is important in that accounts of U.S. pilots from this period are relatively rare, even as he also paints a compelling picture of a group of Americans fighting as volunteers for the French. Biddle’s U.S. compatriots soon established their own capability and wrung free of French direction—and as this book reveals it was largely because of their combat prowess.

    For his service Biddle was awarded the French Legion of Honour, the Croix de Guerre, the American Distinguished Service Cross and the Belgian Order of Leopold II. After the war, Biddle rejoined his family law firm in Philadelphia. He died in 1972.

    Table of Contents

    1. In the Schools
    2. Escadrille N. 73
    3. Escadrille Lafayette
    4. 13th Aero Squadron, A. E. F.
    5. 4th Pursuit Group, A. E. F.

    I found this book quite interesting. Biddle's humble view of life in France through flight school, flying with the French, on to the USAS to becoming flight leader, then 13th Aerosquadron Commander, then US 4th Pursuit Group Commander.

    The book is a collection of his letters home. Many anecdotes tell of life at flight school, at the front, the aerodrome, leave, and in action in the air. Gun jams and failing engines abound!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails the way of the eagle.jpg  

  2. #2


    I will have to look out for a copy, currently ploughing through McCudden's book & recently read Rudolf Stark's so may provide another perspective.
    Biddle was one of the few pilots to fly a SPAD XII - the only one issued to US forces

    Found two Kindle versions one for £4.61... one for 99p !
    Last edited by flash; 10-26-2018 at 02:35.

    "He is wise who watches"

  3. #3


    He does mention flying the cannon armed plane and how a couple of French pilots had success with it. I have Stark's book but still have to get McCudden's.

  4. #4


    Finished this book recently - really enjoyed the style of it as it was based initially on his diaries then taken from his letters home.
    A very easy read, surprisingly honest in places. Two thumbs up for this one

    "He is wise who watches"

  5. #5


    You might be able to find this paperback version with a slightly different title.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So how many books are in your personal library?

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