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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  17 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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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
Chris Gager
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
Like The Hunters, his other novel about competitive pilots, this made me glad to have had a ghostly father and no brothers.
Mar 21, 2011 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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!
Totally understand the Saint-Exupéry references ... I flew through this book, literally and figuratively, in a single sitting!
misfit pilot during WWII trying to prove himself to colleagues in somewhat chaotic unit, leading to the accident
Nathan Pearson
I just don't get what all the (supposed) unheralded masterpiece fuss is about.
William Milton
Nice quick read about air force personell during the Korean war.
Dan Piette
Pilot in Germany
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James Salter (b. 1925) is 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 has earned him acclaim from critics, readers, and fellow novelists. His novel A Sport and a Pastime (1...more
More about James Salter...
A Sport and a Pastime All That Is Light Years Last Night: Stories Dusk and Other Stories

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