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In the Company of Eagles
Ernest K. Gann
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In the Company of Eagles

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  133 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Setting: The Western Front, 1916-1917.

A young French aviator swears vengeance on the German ace who killed his best friend and kills without mercy.
Mass Market Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 1981 by Jove (first published 1966)
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Fate Is the Hunter by Ernest K. GannWind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryWheels Up by Steve  TaylorWest with the Night by Beryl MarkhamThe Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
Aviation Books
23rd out of 248 books — 136 voters
The Trigger by Tim ButcherAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueThe Guns of August by Barbara W. TuchmanA Farewell to Arms by Ernest HemingwayBirdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Great War
124th out of 389 books — 489 voters

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Community Reviews

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Feb 27, 2015 Joseph rated it it was amazing
One of my absolute favorites as a young teen. I re-read several times since and still find it great.


Still an amazing story of war, revenge, and the toll of war on those who fought it. It is also about the myth of the glorious men in their lanes during the First World War. The characters are realistic and cover a broad range of interests. Some men live for the war or the romantic idea of war. Others live so they can return to life. Some men look a
An excellent, gritty account of two WWI aviators, one a war-weary German ace and the other a French aviator out for revenge. The book spoke to me as a pilot, capturing the elements of flight perfectly. Very good supporting casts, with a little bit of humor mixed in. Highly recommended 4 Stars, a throwback to the age when a great story could be written in less than 250 pages.
Jan 12, 2013 Paul rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Actual rating: 2.5 stars.

I was hoping for more WWI aviation action than Gann actually delivered here. The story focuses on two pilots, one German, one French, who fight on different sides of the front lines near Reims in 1916-1917, the stagnant trench warfare period of the Great War before the Americans entered. There's plenty of aviation history built into the narrative, and one learns a great deal about German and French fighter aircraft, tactics, training, and the day-to-day lives of early mi
The prologue of this novel is dialogue alone and it was so convincing that I had to double-check that it was indeed fiction. Set in World War I, the story follows Sergeant Chamay, a young French aviator in search of revenge after witnessing the terrible death of his best friend, and Oberleutnant Kupper, a German ace whose victories have won him both respect and hatred from friend and foe alike and whose experiences have cut scars deeper than he will allow to show. These two very different men ar ...more
Bob H
May 26, 2015 Bob H rated it it was amazing
An out-of-print, little-remembered classic from Ernest K. Gann, but well worth a read now that the centennial of WWI is upon us. Superb prose in a gritty and vast wartime landscape. This book is worth having, and reading over and over. This author has used some interesting ways of telling this story, and not just in the blood rivalry between the French ace Sgt. Chamay and his personal enemy, German Lt. Kupper. Look for some interesting subplots: the adventures of the ham from Kempinsky's, the co ...more
Craig Masten
Jun 15, 2015 Craig Masten rated it really liked it
As a boy my one of my favorite hobbies was to build model airplanes, in particular World War I fighter planes. I would hang these minature bi-planes and tri-planes from the ceiling of my bedroom to imitate their legendary dogfights in the sky's over Germany and France. I read about the exploits of the great aces like The Red Baron Von Richtofen. The exploits of such heroic flyers, German as well their foes in the air war, seemed so romantic and even gallant, like knights in a kind of modern chiv ...more
Oct 15, 2010 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
In the company of eagles is the story of two ww1 aviators. One a German ace and the other a young French pilot out for revenge over the death of his friend at the hands of the German. The book alternates between each character's story chapter by chapter an is full of technical details about the planes, weapons and tactics of ww1 pilots. This is very well written and made me identify with both characters neither of them is a Villan. Kupper the war weary German ace and Chamay the hot headed French ...more
Feb 11, 2012 John rated it really liked it
I bought this on impulse at a used bookstore because I thought a story about WWI aviators might be kind of cool. I wasn't ready for the depth of character and the detail Gann brought to the story. This is a remarkable little book that is well worth your time. Highly recommended for those who have an interest in WWI, early aviation, or simply a fine book.
Bill Martin
Jun 29, 2016 Bill Martin rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was a kid ... and have read it many times since. For all I know it's just an average novel, but I think it's terrific and it spawned in me a love of WWI aviation that lingers to this day. Highly recommended if you have any interest at all in the period or subject or aviation in general.
B Rhys
Aug 28, 2011 B Rhys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel. It had a darker feel about it and really expressed the wear and tear to these pilots. It also gave a small insight to the men fighting and how they viewed the war. How most on the German side saw that their Fatherland would most likely lose the Great War. It had a great pace and the ending was something that you don't see all that often.
Jesper Jorgensen
Jan 14, 2013 Jesper Jorgensen rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, wwi
A very, very long time since I read this book. (When I was 17 or so. As I said, very, very long time ago ;-)

It was one of the first combat aviation books I have ever read. And as far as I remember - if my dwindling memory serves me well - it did actually get to me.
May 20, 2015 Martin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dawn Patrol players
Recommended to Martin by: Mike Carr
Decent light read. First third of the book weak, picks up steam as the book progresses. The story of the often nicked ham, which has nothing to do with the plot, is memorable.
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Ernest K Gann was an aviator, author, filmmaker, sailor, fisherman and conservationist.

After earning his pilot license, Gann spent his much of his free time aloft, flying for pleasure. The continuing Great Depression soon cost him his job and he was unable to find another position in the movie business. In search of work, he decided to move his family to California. Gann was able to find odd jobs
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