Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Review of "The Cockpit: A Flight of Escape and Discovery"

As a follow on to my review of "My Heart is Africa", another perspective on "lone pilot takes single engine piston plane across Atlantic to Africa and discovers himself", can be found in "The Cockpit: A Flight of Escape and Discovery" by Dr. Paul M. Gahlinger.

The Cockpit has plenty of danger and adventure to keep the reader enthralled, but without the recklessness of Griffin's book. Gahlinger is a more sympathetic person. He never seems to have his personal life together, yet he's clearly intelligent, sensitive and has the support of a loving family. He seeks a greater purpose in life through various adventures and jobs, of which this specific flight is but one volume of a multi-volume odyssey. And indeed since this flight, Dr. Gahlinger continues to write relevant books, most recently "A Guide to Medical Tourism", surely to be an important topic as health care costs continue to exceed inflation in the US.

The author must have been inspired by Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, as he also weaves a parallel narrative between his personal life and the legs of the flight. It's particularly effectively here, without trickery, as various phases of flight trigger different memories explaining how he reached this unusual circumstance. The idea of going forward in flight from the US, his birthplace in Canada, his parents' origins in Switzerland and eventually to the dawn of mankind in Africa, is a stretch and less interesting than learning about the frailty of a single man, who wants to do the right thing but can't always find the right path.

1 comment:

Bob Towery said...

Thanks for bringing these books to our attention. I ordered both and am looking forward to reading them on vacation. Great blog you have here!