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Wings on My Sleeve

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  743 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Eric Brown went to Germany in 1939 on an exchange course, and his first experience of the war came when the Gestapo arrested him, not knowing he was an RAF pilot. The rest is history. He is the only man alive to have flown every major and most minor combat aircraft of the Second World War (as well as all the early jets), and has been interviewed by the top Nazis. While tes ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Phoenix (first published 1961)
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Captain Eric Brown died 21 February 2016 at the age of 97 in Surry, England. Brown was born in Leth, Scotland in 1919. This renewed the interest in his memoir and various biographies about Brown. This memoir was originally published in 1961. It has recently been reprinted but also is now an e-book and audiobook.

The book starts in 1939 when Brown was on an exchange course in German from the University of Edinburgh. The Gestapo escorted him from Germany stating the two counties were now at war. Br
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This guy has had a life that most can only dream of. Obviously of good breeding and from the right family, Eric Brown becomes a naval aviator during the early days of World War Two and after a brief combat career becomes a test pilot. He is absorbed into the fascinating and intense world of developing aircraft for use in the war and also evaluating captured enemy machines. Later, because of his earlier pre-war experiences in Germany, he becomes involved in the testing and evaluation of surrender ...more
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eric Brown had a lucky life in many ways, flying more different types of aircraft than anyone before or since (he holds the Guinness world record) and living to tell the tale. Politely escorted out of Germany at the start of the Second World War, he helped advance the development of carrier takeoffs and landings at huge personal risk as well as flying captured German aircraft with unknown characteristics. After the war he returned to Germany to seek out abandoned aircraft, and later still helped ...more
Tim Mansfield
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A flying book - and I met the author in May.
Already a legend, he went higher in my estimation as I read the book.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to meet the author of this book in April 2014 when he was doing a talk in Cambridge University on flying captured German aircraft at the end of World War 2 and what an experience it was! They say you should never meet your heroes but that was certainly an exception to the rule... A real gentleman: modest, humble, charismatic and very intelligent.
The book itself is an autobiography up to the point of about 1970 when he retired from the Royal Navy. Briefly he had a truly remark
Lewis Clark
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Eric Brown has lead a fascinating career in aviation and this book does it justice. Some incredibly informative and unbelievable stories from a charming and humble individual who genuinely seems to love aviation in all its forms. To recount any of them here would be a disservice to the man, so if you have any interest in WW2 or aviation then make this a top priority read. The language isn't complex and it can be a little too dry in places (there's never any prolonged discussion about the comrade ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book, knew quite a bit about him anyway as he is a hero of mine. They really don’t make them like him anymore . Maybe if you aren’t as familiar with aircraft and ww2 as I am you may have to refer to the glossary but I think this is a book aimed at a niche group of people.
I do lament though that if he was American , I’m absolutely sure that there would have been a biopic made about him already.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Eric Brown had an amazing life, full of daring adventures and a lot of flying hundreds of different aircraft. You can see the survivor bias at work: dozens of narrow escapes from death, while many a friend is killed in the line of duty. It makes for good stories.

The book, however, sometimes feels like a mere list of what happened, with little context or interpretation. I didn't really get an impression of Eric Brown as a person at all, or what it must have been like to live his life.
Gareth Owens
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping account of the career of Britain's finest ever pilot. If you like flying, you'll love this book. Even the list of types Eric Winkle Brown flew in his career (more than any other pilot) had me drooling!
Ernest Godfrey
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The guy had a passion for all things flying and had the opportunity to indulge this. Don't forget however he had to survive a war and years and years as a test pilot which is not the safest job in the world. Well done sir i thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Ryan van Zyl
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a really well told story of a man who has enjoyed a distinguished War and post-War aviation career. An interesting insight into the military aviation activities in Germany following the end of WWII.
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great account, well told.

Understated, interesting and funny - a well-told account of an astounding time to be in the flight test ‘business’, and the author certainly has to have the most varied and interesting log book of anyone, ever. A good read.
Mike Pinter
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great read, and a very interesting life.
Simon Devon
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent account of a life well lived. My only criticism is that I wanted more details! A great read for anyone, not just people interested in aviation.
Lee 525
Great Life.

Really wanted to love this book after seeing a documentary on the author but sadly not. Without the knowledge of the aircraft discussed I found the content limited.
Anibal Baranek
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fun-reads
Good historical book. Must read if you are into the origins of naval aviation.
Roger Roud
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant a great read

One of the best historic aviation books I have read. In A lo n g time. A real insight to the world of Test pilots.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable and easy to read.
Dele Cooke
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very fascinating telling of an incredible man. Couldn’t put it down.
Joe Groarke
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book first published in the 60's, Captain Brown's account of his experience in the RAF during WW2 is a unique memoir from a true hero. The book is at times sad but at other absolutely hilarious!
Moira Mackinnon
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography
Was given this book because he mentions my uncle Sheepy Lamb, who died aged 21, not as lucky a pilot as Eric Brown. An interesting book, and a fascinating life.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
he defines the word 'legend'.
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great read for any aviation enthusiast as you follow an exceptionally interesting first hand account of the author.
Roy Szweda
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: planes
Was given this as a present and have not read any of his other books. However, I have read his articles in Air International over the years and enjoyed those. Less sure about the TV documentary that this book seems to be tied in with.
He is one of the legends of aviation and anything featuring him is worth your time. Quite a life he has led... quite a list of planes he has flown... quite a story to tell. Not sure he has done it justice in this handy tome you might want to pop in your holiday lugg
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Captain Brown was an amazing pilot, test pilot, aeronaut, driver of change and development, but sadly not a great writer.

The book starts with a brief reference to his early life and after a brief description of life before the war we are taken into an endless "listing" of his flying experiences.

The book left me feeling that Brown was obsessive about, even addicted to flying. Something he admits briefly.

Overall it does little to tell us anything about the man and his extraordinary life and person
John Powell
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is quite clear from this book that Eric (Winkle) Brown had a unique and astonishing career as a test pilot and naval officer. Flying more types of aircraft than anyone else, his great skill and good fortune enabled him to survive in a profession that cost many others their lives. No one can doubt Eric Brown's piloting skills or his courage and he shows great sympathy for, and understanding of, the feelings of both fellow officers and collaborating scientists as well as former enemies. However ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to meet the author of this book in April 2014 when he was doing a talk in Cambridge University on flying captured German aircraft at the end of World War 2 and what an experience it was! They say you should never meet your heroes but that was certainly an exception to the rule... A real gentleman: modest, humble, charismatic and very intelligent.
The book itself is an autobiography up to the point of about 1970 when he retired from the Royal Navy. Briefly he had a truly remark
Doug Stone
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, aviation
A very engaging book and the author writes quite modestly about his incredible accomplishments, including just staying alive where others met their fate. Test flying is every bit as dangerous as it sounds. I found his description of WWII combat very interesting, along with the ongoing assault on the sound barrier just after the war. However, Mr. Brown's primary expertise was in taking off and landing on aircraft carriers so much of the book is devoted to his endeavours in that arena. His claim t ...more
Alan Clark
Jun 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Brown certainly had an eventful career, which makes for an entertaining read.

However, the writing would have benefited from a critical examination before publication. Brown uses quite a bit of jargon which is not explained, and uses strange phraseology at times. He also leaves out information that would have been interesting, for example he flew the bizarre BV141, but tells us absolutely nothing about it! It would have been interesting to know the thinking behind it.

So well worth reading, but c
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jeff by: Garage Logic
This was an interesting account by a British naval pilot about his career in military aviation. I learned about him because he recently passed away (February 21, 2016), and he was a legend among pilots. He holds three Guinness records, for most planes flown, most aircraft carrier takeoffs and most carrier landings (it's not the same number, which isn't normally okay, but, in his case, is a reflection of research he was doing on various types of aircraft!). An enjoyable read, and partly because o ...more
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