carl theaker's Reviews > Cassada

Cassada by James Salter
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's review
Aug 15, 11

bookshelves: history-fiction, fancy-fiction
Read in August, 2011

'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 the competition keeps them at it even without a war.

There's plenty of flying and Slater manages to do a great though curious
job of describing it without ever mentioning the type of aircraft they are
using. It's not till halfway through the book it's confirmed they
are flying jets and that is only mentioned once. I think that not detailing
the model or type of plane was one goals Slater set for himself, a kindof
"let's see if this can be written this way". It also adds a timeless
effect to the tale, along with making it more appealing to the less military
minded.

An extra interest for me was that when on the ground the pilots spend
time in the German cities of Trier and Munich. I've also visited
some of the spots the pilots hangout at, gives one a little added
thrill feeling like you're sharing something with the characters.
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