Weston Birch (Bert) Hall carved out his place in history with an almost devilish delight. Much of what has been written about him, including his own two autobiographies, has proven over the years to be more fiction than reality. He was labelled numerous times in his career: rogue, scoundrel, card cheat, forger, human cannonball, First World War pilot, criminal, bigamist, deserter, filmmaker, author, soldier of fortune, hero, Chinese General, arms smuggler, Foreign Legionnaire, salesman, aerial racer, aviation pioneer, father, and entrepreneur. Oddly enough, these titles were all true. Bert Hall’s fantastic life and status as the bad boy of the Lafayette Escadrille have often eclipsed the truth.
Turning to primary sources in archives around the world, many that have been overlooked for decades, this book makes the first attempt to reconstruct the life of Bert Hall. For the first time aficionados of World War 1 aviation and aviation history will get a glimpse into the life of a man who lived in extraordinary times and took advantage of them. While Bert’s autobiographies were penned mostly to create a myth around his life, they often were based on kernels of truth. This book finds those kernels and paints the real-life picture of an amazing man who lived in incredible times.
As the elder man of the Lafayette Escadrille, Bert was basically run out of the squadron by his colleagues. That should have been the end of his story. In reality, it was just the beginning. In an age where the world was fascinated by aviators, Bert became a real-life comic book character – a mercenary of the skies!
Blaine Pardoe is the author of numerous books in SF, military nonfiction, and business management genres. He has appeared on a number of national television and radio shows to speak about his books and has been a featured speaker at the US National Archives, the United States Navy Museum and the New York Military Affairs Symposium.
He is also a member of the League of World War 1 Aviation Historians. His books have even been mentioned in the US Congress. His books have been printed in six languages and he is recognised worldwide for his historical and fiction works.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Illustrations: 16 b/w photographs