Praise for I Always Wanted to Fly

General Mark A. Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, recently released his recommended reading list for 2013. Included in the list was I Always Wanted to Fly: Americas Cold War Airmen by Wolfgang Samuel. Originally published in 2001, I Always Wanted to Fly gathers first-person memories of pilots ad crewmen and is first book to cover all of Cold War air combat in the words of the men who waged it. 

The CSAF Professional Reading Program is a list that highlights the Air Force's heritage and fighting spirit, and encourages innovation and forward thinking. General Ronald Fogleman created the CSAF Professional Reading Program in 1996 to develop a common frame of reference among Air Force members -- officers, enlisted, and civilians -- to help each of us become better, more effective advocates of air and space power. Each CSAF since then has enhanced and continued the Professional Reading Program. 

This year's list contains 14 books, seven films, seven TED talks, web-based resources, and for the first time, artwork, music and photography selections. 

I Always Wanted to Fly covers battling in dogfights when jets were novelties, saving lives in grueling airlifts, or flying dangerous reconnaissance missions deep into Soviet and Chinese airspace, these flyers waged America’s longest and most secretively conducted air war. 

Many of the pilots Samuel interviewed invoke the same sentiment when asked why they risked their lives in the air-- “I always wanted to fly.” With the advent of World War II, many of these dreamers found themselves in cockpits soon after high school. Of those who survived World War II, many chose to continue following their dream, flying the Berlin Airlift, stopping the North Korean army during the “forgotten war” in Korea, and fighting in the Vietnam War. Told in personal narratives and reminiscences, I Always Wanted to Fly renders views from pilots’ seats and flight decks during every air combat flashpoint from 1945--1968. Drawn from long exposure to the immense stress of warfare, the stories these warriors share are both heroic and historic. 

Click through for a full list of the books on the CSAF recommended reading list.

Hat in the Ring: The Birth of American Air Power in the Great War by Bert Frandsen

West with the Night by Beryl Markham

The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David Hoffman

Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942 by Daniel Ford

Leading With Honor by Lee Ellis

Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Lemmon

The Sovereignty Solution by Anna Simons, Joe McGraw, and Duane Lauchengco

I Always Wanted to Fly: America's Cold War Airmen by Col Wolfgang Samuel

Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight by Chris Dubbs and Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom

Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America's Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker

 China Airborne by James Fallows

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn by Charles Kupchan

Need, Speed, and Greed by Vijay Vaitheeswaran