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The High and the Mighty
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The High and the Mighty

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  217 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
One of the most essential flying novels ever written. Past the point of no return, things start to go wrong on a flight from Hawaii to San Francisco. Can they make it? This plot has been done and redone many times since 1953, but the only two which come close are Nevil Shute's No Highway and Arthur Hailey's Airport.
Published December 3rd 1978 by Pocket Paperbacks (first published 1953)
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Ginger Williams
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time deciding whether to give this book 5 stars or no stars.

Reasons for 1 star:

Unbelievable plot --
-Very sexist -- Women are "girls", stewardess, mistresses or hysterical.
-Politically incorrect ("slant-eyed", "Orientals")
-Unsympathetic characters -- Don't any nice and normal people ever take airplanes?
-Cardboard characters -- The grizzled old wise pilot, the young upstart pilot, the Captain of Industry, etc.
-Constant smoking by everyone on plane including the captain, co-captain
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Folks who fly
This one was made into a popular movie with John Wayne. Earnest Gann made no mistakes in his book but the movie made many including inflating all the life vests BEFORE the people got out. You simply could NOT get out of the small window emergency hatch exits with those old type WWII surplus life vests fully inflated.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great adventure!
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another of the Stuff Hero's are made of...
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of Gann's classics about flying commercially nominally has the departure of a propeller and engine on a DC-4 as its plotline, set in the 1950s. But he weaves the life tales and crises of the 20 passengers and crew into the story. The possibility that they might have to ditch over the Pacifc Ocean between Hawaii and San Francisco means that the pilot and crew must open the passenger doors and push all baggage and extra equipment overboard to lighten the plane. But what doesn't go overboard is ...more
Eden Thompson
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The High And The Mighty is the original airline disaster novel, inspiring many imitators such as Arthur Hailey's Airport and the classic series of films that followed. Ernest K. Gann (Island In The Sky) wrote it in 1953 when both air travel and being a passanger was simpler and more exotic. While it deals with all the technical issues of aircraft, it also packs a dramatic and entertaining punch.

Dan Roman is almost washed up as a pilot following a crash that killed his family and left him wounded
Bill Sheridan
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recently re-read this novel after a gap of over 30 years. It is basically the gripping story of a flight across the Pacific Ocean in a four-engined propellor driven airliner of the postwar era, when transoceanic travel was still an adventure and carried a not insignificant risk. Gann explores the effects of the problems that befall the flight on the various flight deck crew members who also have their own inner issues to deal with. The credibility and technical accuracy of the story is clearly a ...more
Dusk Peterson
"Lieutenant Mowbray was still talking to Pickering on the telephone when he completely destroyed the peace of the Coast Guard Air Rescue station. Holding the phone in one hand, he boosted himself up in bed and pressed the red alarm button on the wall." The dramatic adventures of a commercial airplane flying from Honolulu to San Francisco. Written by an author who had piloted such flights, the novel contains vivid descriptions of air travel and navigational assistance during the period following ...more
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
An ill-fated commercial airplane flights--when airplanes were machines flown by pilots not computers--is a metaphor for the lives of each of the passengers and crew--and in all cases, including the flight, the outcomes is a happy one. Gann 's prose examines each of these characters and the flight's development in turn and expertly, as a observer of men and as a man schooled considerably in commercial flight in America in the post WWII era. As entertaining as the film if not more so.
Carol Holcomb
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Never knew one of my favorite John Wayne movies was based on a book. Can't believe how close the dialogue is to the movie, most times word for word. Today If you read a book you almost don't recognize it in the movie. Guess this might be one of the first airline disaster stories.
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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
More about Ernest K. Gann...