Will To Win

Review of Flight To Victory; Richard Hough; Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition April 30, 1985; Hardcover: 170 pages

– Shana Susan Ninan

Going through stacks of old books at a sale, I came across this book that said “Just for boys”. Richard Hough’s Flight To Victory can be read by both the genders, I found. And what a captivating book this is. Belonging to the young adult category, this book has Will (William Thompson) as the protagonist and narrator.

Hough’s stint at the Royal Air Force comes through in Will’s life at the Royal Flying Corps, which he joins at the tender age of 16. The Amplethwaite Games is an endurance running event that Will was looking forward to winning. But a fall during the run down the hill causes him to lose. With this he loses his girlfriend, too, who wants only winners.

A clash of egos and attitudes, and a desire to become a World War hero, just like other 16-year-olds in his village, lead him to leave home for London. A pilot he’d saved earlier gives him a recommendation to join a group. In the year that follows, Will’s confidence, endurance and bravery is put to test as he becomes a combat pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. He does return home a hero, Military Cross on his wings.

British author Richard Hough was also a historian, and his books on history, maritime wars, the two world wars, several battles and biographies of Churchill and Lord Mountbatten are thorough, precise and a great read. He has also published books under the name, Bruce Carter.

Hough’s words are carefully chosen to give even a layman a good idea of the historical reference of the story, the setting and the jargon. There’s a glossary or war and weaponry terms, at the end of the book. The story, too, is inspiring, and heart-touching, at times. A slight humour, especially in the young veteran pilots’ war-hardened dialogues, is relishing.

The font was super small. I found that a bit annoying. Another thing that can be improved is the fast jumps that the author employs between paragraphs. The reader gets a feeling that the author is in a hurry to get us to the end of a page.

Once I finished reading I flipped to the front of the book to check the date of publishing. It was 1985 – the year I was born! What a wonderful coincidence.

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Rating: 6.7/10 (14 votes cast)
Will To Win, 6.7 out of 10 based on 14 ratings

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 at 10:12 pm and is filed under History, Military, Reviews, War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. March 2nd, 2011 | Sudha Tiwari says:

    Will Thompson’s will to win brings him with the victory… victory over his fear of being a loser at the Amplethwaite Games, victory over the pain of losing Vicky and finally victory that makes him a hero… Yes it was Will Thompson’s Flight To Victory!

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