» » Sagittarius Rising

Download Sagittarius Rising fb2

by Cecil Lewis

  • ISBN: 0140043675
  • Category: History
  • Author: Cecil Lewis
  • Subcategory: Europe
  • Other formats: lit lrf doc mobi
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: PENGUIN BOOKS LTD; New Ed edition (1977)
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • FB2 size: 1692 kb
  • EPUB size: 1928 kb
  • Rating: 4.1
  • Votes: 139
Download Sagittarius Rising fb2

Cecil Arthur Lewis MC (29 March 1898 – 27 January 1997) was a British fighter ace who flew with the famed No. 56 Squadron RAF in the First World . He later described the early morning scene in his book "Sagittarius Rising".

He later described the early morning scene in his book "Sagittarius Rising".

Sagittarius Rising book. Details (if other): Cancel. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

This is a book everyone should read. It is the autobiography of an ace, and no common ace either. The boy had all the noble tastes and qualities, love of beauty, soaring imagination, a brilliant endowment of good looks. this prince of pilots. had a charmed life in every sense of the word' - George Bernard ShawSent to France with the Royal Flying Corps at just seventeen, and later a member of the famous 56 Squadron, Cecil Lewis was an illustrious and passionate

Cecil Lewis's SAGITTARIUS RISING probably does deserve its classic status. Such is Cecil Lewis's Sagittarius Rising. This incredibly sensitive and perceptive man's book, while concerning many months of the WWI years, is not a war story

Cecil Lewis's SAGITTARIUS RISING probably does deserve its classic status. This incredibly sensitive and perceptive man's book, while concerning many months of the WWI years, is not a war story. Instead, the author speaks from the perspective of 20 years after the events described, to tell of living these years, of his daily joys and fears, of how it felt to be passing through tumultuous, terribly important times, knowing that he was experiencing history, and trying to show us that history is made by ordinary men.

The benefit of hindsight

The benefit of hindsight. This has a number of consequences

It is the autobiography of an ace, and no common ace either.

It is the autobiography of an ace, and no common ace either. had a charmed life in every sense of the word' - George Bernard ShawSent to France with the Royal Flying Corps at just seventeen, and later a member of the famous 56 Squadron, Cecil Lewis was an illustrious and passionate

A singular, lyrical book, Sagittarius Rising is at once an exuberant memoir from the Lost Generation and a riveting tale of the early days of flight during World War I. Cecil Lewis . Sagittarius Rising - Cecil Lewis.

At the time, flying was so new that designers hadn’t even decided on basic mechanics such as how many wings a plane should have.


Reviews about Sagittarius Rising (7):
Erennge
Cecil Lewis's SAGITTARIUS RISING probably does deserve its classic status. It is, after al, a memoir of the role of aviation in the First World War. Aviators at that time were true pioneers, and most of them were brave - or foolish - daredevils to boot, tempting fate every time they took to the sky in their fragile machines.

I read the book mainly because this new edition from Penguin Classics (2014) features an introduction by one of my favorite authors, Samuel Hynes. Hynes's FLIGHTS OF PASSAGE is perhaps one of the best WWII memoirs about flying. And, more recently, Hynes wrote an excellent and very personal sort of history of WWI aviators, THE UNSUBSTANTIAL AIR. I loved both of those books.

Unfortunately, although I loved the Introduction, the Lewis book fell a bit flat for me as a memoir. The style seemed overly ornate and the language dated - to be expected, I suppose, but Lewis's many stories and anecdotes of the flying exploits by him and his fellow pilots too quickly became redundant, to the point that I began skimming long portions of the narrative. Yes, he talks of his training, mates lost in fiery crashes, stupid mistakes made by himself and others, of his growing sense of mortality, and, sometimes, burnout and dread which got him posted temporarily back to England from France. He describes his many sorties over the long days of the Somme, near misses and mechanical failures, getting lost and forced landings - all those things are in there. He also gives a glimpse into his post-war days as a civilian pilot instructor in China - mostly a fruitless enterprise.

Lewis wrote his book twenty years after the war, when he was not yet forty, but felt like his life was half over. (In fact he lived to be 99.) He makes a number of comments about war that are still true in these days of global war and terrorist strikes everywhere, and the accompanying political rants so ubiquitous in today's news.

"People who cannot learn from their mistakes are damned ... What have we learned from ours? We are, collectively, the most evil and destructive of human creatures. We back up our greeds and jealousies with religion and patriotism ... No one knows where to put their faith, so they believe nothing. Moral and social standards are confused ... The fear of feeling the ground slipping from under their feet drives whole nations back into mediaeval despotism ... But emulating the ostrich, though it may bring relief for a space, does not solve the problem. It leads straight back to self-immolation on the altar of outworn patriotism, that is, to barbarism ..."

Lewis made these observations in 1936. Hmm ... Not much has changed in eighty years, has it?

He contemplated higher things too, remembering "the cynical wartime prayer: 'O God - if there is a God, save my soul - if I have a soul.'" But Lewis believed he had a soul - "a drop of the Life Force" - although he wasn't sure about heaven and displayed a dark sense of humor.

"If, in heaven, my grosser qualities were to be purged away, leaving me all 'good,' so much the worse. The devil was the pepper in my curry; remove it, and how flat the dish would taste."

And, speaking of his 'grosser qualities,' Lewis is disappointingly circumspect about his 'jolly good times' when he was on home leave, although there are intimations of a girl friend or two. Perhaps it's his 'gentlemen don't tell tales' training. Nevertheless, there is not very much of his personal life here, aside from some time spent with this philosopher father, who enlisted in the army, refusing to take a commission.

Bottom line: SAGITTARIUS RISING is a worthy, if not terribly interesting book. I would recommend it to readers interested in the history of aviation and warfare. (But I still think that the Hynes books are much better.)

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
Karon
For those of us who love reading, who treasure a very few books as much beloved friends, we are sometimes fortunate enough to find a volume that touches our hearts, and is instantly propelled to a special level of reverence.
Such is Cecil Lewis's Sagittarius Rising. This incredibly sensitive and perceptive man's book, while concerning many months of the WWI years, is not a war story. Instead, the author speaks from the perspective of 20 years after the events described, to tell of living these years, of his daily joys and fears, of how it felt to be passing through tumultuous, terribly important times, knowing that he was experiencing history, and trying to show us that history is made by ordinary men.
Cecil Lewis led an extraordinary life by any measure. Sagittarius Rising is an extraordinary tale.
Ranterl
Written nearly 20 years after the events described, Sagittarius Rising is surprisingly filled with great day to day details of Cecil Lewis' experience with the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. The book is easy to read and maintains interest with very few private life tangents.

For those who are pilots, the most amazing information is how little instruction was given to pilots before they soloed, and how few hours solo time a pilot would have before being sent to the front.

The flying and air battle accounts are vivid. In one part, he relates how during an early patrol alone, he spotted a yellow cloud enveloping the trenches. Even though he was already safely at 3500 feet, he instinctively pulled back to climb as quickly as possible. He said that he became physically sick as he contemplated the horrible death being visited upon the soldiers below. At this point, and a few others, Lewis then goes on a slight tangent describing his political view on the war.

Lewis' take on the war, 20 years after the fact, is clearly jaundiced against the justification for war. It is interesting to note the contrast between authors like McCudden and Biddle, who wrote during the war, and Lewis who wrote after popular opinion had shifted markedly toward pacifism. Between the lines you can clearly read the opposition to any `new' continental war, and the author's discounting the threat posed by Germany in 1936 (implied only).

The biographical sketch on the author points out that he went back into the Royal Air Force during World War II, so perhaps his views changed again once the menace posed by Hitler was clearer, or maybe his views matured to draw a distinction between the entanglements that broadened the first world war, and the life or death struggle for national suvival in the second. Unfortunately, there is no update or 'new' introduction or afterward to let us know.

The author does spend significant time on his personal life. In fairness to the reader though, he warns that the next section might not be of interest to readers primarily interested in the war and/or aviation. This is another difference between Sagittarius Rising and other World War I aviation accounts - Lewis describes his life after the war. He went to China working for Vickers to train the Chinese Air Force. The description of the political situation and corruption in China is interesting, but the state of the Chinese Air Force and how totally unqualified, but well-connected, students were taught to fly is tragic. No less tragic is how the competent pilots in China lives were squandered in poorly though out ventures. The episode in China is just a couple of chapters and definitely worth the read.

All readers interested in early aviation and/or World War I will find the entire book informative, and interesting.

One challenge for the reader is the many references to types of aircraft, and some paragraphs are confusing unless you have a World War I aircraft reference book. Unfortunately, many references are just to the manufacturer (e.g. Bristol or Avro) rather than the specific model. Sometimes, the author refers to another name for an aircraft than the official name. A good reference book can help you sort through it and tie it to the description. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War I was adequate.
Berkohi
"We were trained with one objective - to kill". "We had one hope - to live".
A wonderfully written book, at one stage the author states "When it was over (WW1)
we had to start over". Imagine the trauma? Once into the book, one is
completely absorbed...think about six (6) pages describing clouds. Extraordinary.
He talks about the first time flying in moonlight, in darkness and no instruments.
How did they do it? Cecil Lewis describes going on to China after the WW1 to
start up the fledgling airways, the hard work training locals and language barriers.
This is a 'keeper' , for, to revisit will always be a renewed thrill.

Related to Sagittarius Rising fb2 books: