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Cassada

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  181 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The lives of officers in an Air Force squadron in occupied Europe encompass the contradictions of military experience and the men's response to a young newcomer, bright and ambitious, whose fate is to be an emblem of their own. In Cassada, Salter captures the strange comradeship of loneliness, trust, and alienation among military men ready to sacrifice all in the name of d ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 29th 2001 by Counterpoint (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 387)
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Mitchell
Mar 09, 2014 Mitchell rated it it was amazing
I would give my left nut (if I had such) to be able to write like this. By far my favorite Salter book. Minimalist, in a way. Not overly long, not "padded" for page count like so many contemporary novels. The descriptions of flying in difficult weather set my heart racing. My father was a fighter pilot (both a WWII and Korean War vet) and during the 1950s was a squadron commander at various postings (stateside and other). As a kid I remember a plane going down near the base and my mama freaking ...more
Paul
Feb 08, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 4.5 stars.

Salter was there long before me, two wars--Korea and Vietnam--earlier, but judging by my experiences at USAF fighter squadrons in Germany and the Netherlands in the late 1970s and early 1980s, things in my day were no different than in his, and he has captured it exactly.

I know Salter's pilots. I know their wives. I know the solitariness of flying single seat jets, one of the most individualistic of military occupations. I know the weather in Europe, and how it can sudde
...more
Lisa
Apr 04, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Salter writes beautifully - I can't believe I have never heard of him before. Some of the descriptions were lovely and it is good to read a book that leaves lots of questions unanswered...things to ponder upon.
"No sound except for the clock. Beyond the windows the night is fading, smooth from the passage of hours. Exhausted from the same dream over and over, Isbell wakes. His eyes see nothing. It's silent and cold. He lies in bed aching, too ancient to move. Out there, somewhere, more silent sti
...more
Scribd
Sep 09, 2015 Scribd rated it really liked it
Shelves: friday-reads
I fell madly in love with James Salter’s prose about a year ago, first with A Sport and a Pastime and then with Light Years. While each of those were appealing to me in plot—the first about new love, the beginning of an affair; the second about the end of love, the dissolution of a marriage—what really hooked me was the writing. Salter’s words are like a tide: spare, then lyrical, but constantly flowing, with unbelievable grace, down a page. So I picked up Cassada, his novel about fighter pilots ...more
Chris Gager
Mar 13, 2014 Chris Gager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will start tonight if I don't go to "The Lego Movie".

Started last night and I am enjoying this book. The dominant feeling is tension as Salter weaves in the back story with an ongoing crisis. Cassada is the new pilot and the book must be named after him for a reason. The style here is much the same as in "All That Is". Very sketchy and quick. Salter conveys plenty in his few, well-chosen words. The flying scenes are outstanding: gripping and exiting. I've had the outcome spoiled for me by a clu
...more
Annette
Oct 14, 2014 Annette rated it it was amazing
James Salter can do little wrong in my book and I give everything I read of his 5 stars based on the fact that if I'm prepared to read a book again then it will get 5 stars.

This is not his best but that sounds like a put down. It's still brilliant, beautifully written and compelling. Heroism and sense of doom and a celebration of life is what this book is about. Gorgeous passages describing flight and also the competitive interplay of the different personalities.

Salter rewrote and must have re
...more
Eric
Dec 17, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficciones
Like The Hunters, his other novel about competitive pilots, this made me glad to have had a ghostly father and no brothers.
Ben
Oct 06, 2014 Ben rated it liked it
James Salter's style is so minimalist that it can be hard for me to tell whether something is going unsaid, or being implied, or if I'm being a less than astute reader. I really enjoyed Solo Faces, but I wasn't wild about this one. I was impressed with the way Salter managed to put me so thoroughly at an American air base during the Cold War in Germany, but the characters were so hard to like that my enjoyment didn't last. I don't think I'll give up on his writing, but it may be a while before I ...more
Paul
Mar 21, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Lean, spare, blah blah. Really enjoyed this. There's a crazy suppression of emotion here, and yet still I care about the characters. Salter just lets it out really efficiently; it's never sentimental. Like: "Isbell, subdued though not by anything he is hearing, is thinking of what he would give to have it not have happened. He is almost sickened by it, the guilt." That's powerful, and it's again, efficient and unsentimental. You also pretty much know what's going to happen throughout, which keep ...more
carl  theaker
'Cassada' is a compelling read of US Air Force fighter pilots stationed
in Germany during the Cold War, 1955. Various reviews and the jacket
blurb use terms such as 'spare', 'sparse', 'terse' to describe Slater's
style. Indeed it appears he set some standards for himself and stuck to
them with the book measuring only about 200 pages.

As this is during the Cold War, combat is not an issue, but how pilots
battle the European weather, interact with each other, how the rookies are
accepted, or not, how t
...more
Patrick McCoy
James Salter has long been known as a writer's writer, so I've been meaning to read one of his books, and the fact that he died earlier this year inspired me to pick up Cassada (2000). Interestingly, it was an early novel, called The Arm of Flesh (1961), that Salter re-wrote when it was slated to be reprinted. It was based on Slater's experiences as a fighter pilot at Bitburg Airbase in 1954 to 1957. It felt a little too technical at times, perhaps had I known more about flying and the Air Force ...more
Thomas
Feb 23, 2014 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. I just read Light Years, which I struggled to get through, and this was much closer to the experience I had with The Hunters and A Sport And A Pastime: quick and digestible, yet powerfully written.
Christopher
May 30, 2013 Christopher rated it liked it
Salter knows his flying, and that shows throughout this slender volume about the interactions among Air Force pilots stationed in occupied France and Germany. Cassada, the main subject of the novel, is a flawed character, talented, though insecure and always seeking to advance within his company. Salter has widely been lionized for his writing style and his influence on other prominent authors. But I found his narrative flat and uninspired. I also didn't like its "protagonists" very much. Maybe ...more
Yves
Jan 26, 2016 Yves rated it it was amazing
Excellent.
Jim
Aug 20, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, fiction
Superb.
The Great Dan Marino
Oct 06, 2015 The Great Dan Marino rated it really liked it
A light and perfect touch in each paragraph. Smart pacing/structure. He's interesting about punctuation and pronouns, makes things work that would be failings/oversights in most writers. Captivating descriptions of flight and sky and clouds. Sex under everything and plenty of tension of all kinds. Maybe the ellipticalness or apparent slightness limits its ceiling a bit but still kickass.
Ana Maria
Since I don't really know a lot about pilots and planes and the such, it was a hard read to get into right away. I felt that as soon as I began reading, it was as though I started somewhere in the middle of the story; not at the beginning. At times, I had to go back and re-read a few sentences to get the 'gist" of what was going on. The ending left me kind of hangin'.
Daniel Mcneet
Mar 02, 2013 Daniel Mcneet rated it it was amazing
James Salter has written an excellent book. His sentence structure and story telling are excellent. Cassada a pilot sacrifices his life trying to help a fellow pilot who could not find the airfield in bad weather in Germany. Cassada runs out of fuel, crashed and died. But the other pilot landed safely. Good narration regarding Air Force pilots in the post Vietnam war Germany.
Will
Apr 26, 2008 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A stark, brilliant novel. Set at an American Air Force base in Germany at the end of WWII, the novel revolves around a tragic accident and its consequences. But, the strength of this novel is Salter's prose: he is the master of elegant understatement and simple beauty.
Jeffrey
Aug 08, 2015 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
Each of Salter's books is even better on re-reading - he's just the most masterful of storytellers and I'm not even interested in the military, war, flying or airplanes!

Re-reading as part of my homage to Salter - he really is breathtaking
Eric
Nov 26, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Totally understand the Saint-Exupéry references ... I flew through this book, literally and figuratively, in a single sitting!
Andy
misfit pilot during WWII trying to prove himself to colleagues in somewhat chaotic unit, leading to the accident
Nathan Pearson
Apr 25, 2007 Nathan Pearson rated it did not like it
I just don't get what all the (supposed) unheralded masterpiece fuss is about.
William
Jan 02, 2014 William rated it really liked it
Nice quick read about air force personell during the Korean war.
Dan Piette
Apr 27, 2011 Dan Piette rated it it was amazing
Pilot in Germany
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Feb 07, 2016
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Jan 30, 2016
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James Salter (1925 - 2015) was a novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Salter grew up in New York City and was a career officer and Air Force pilot until his mid-thirties, when the success of his first novel (The Hunters, 1957) led to a fulltime writing career. Salter’s potent, lyrical prose earned him acclaim from critics, readers, and fellow novelists. His novel A Sport and a Pastime ( ...more
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