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Today, a trip to Hawaii is a simple six-hour flight from the West Coast, but almost a century ago, it was a nerve-wracking and twenty-six-hour journey across 2,400 miles of the open Pacific. Race to Hawaii chronicles the thrilling first flights during the Golden Age of Aviation, a time when new airplanes traveled farther and faster but were also unreliable, fragile, and hampered by primitive air navigation equipment. The US Navy tried first, sending flying boats winging toward the islands. Next came Army Air Corps aviators and a civilian pilot, who informally raced each other to Hawaii in the weeks after Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic to land the Spirit of St. Louis in Paris. Finally came the Dole Derby, an unprecedented 1927 air race in which eight planes set off at once across the Pacific, all eager to claim a cash prize offered by Pineapple King, James Dole. Military men, barnstormers, a schoolteacher, a Wall Street bond salesman, a Hollywood stunt flyer, and veteran World War aces all encountered every type of hazard during their perilous flights, from fuel shortages to failed engines, forced sea landings and severe fatigue to navigational errors. With so many pilots taking aim at the far-flung islands in so many different types of planes, everyone wondered who would reach Hawaii first, or at all.
About the Author
Jason Ryan is the author of Jackpot: High Times, High Seas, and the Sting That Launched the War on Drugs and Hell-Bent: One Man’s Crusade to Crush the Hawaiian Mob.
"A page-turning account of ‘the precarious, pioneering flights to Hawaii’ during the late 1920s." —Kirkus Reviews
“Sputtering engines, empty fuel tanks, failed radios, never-ending fog…lots went wrong when early aviators tried to steer the first planes across the Pacific....Jason Ryan thrillingly recounts each pitfall as he details American airmen’s ultimate triumph over the world’s mightiest ocean.” —WINSTON GROOM, author of The Aviators and Forrest Gump
“Race to Hawaii takes you on a wild ride over 2,400 miles of storm-tossed skies to a tropical paradise. Painting a mural of America’s quest to reach Hawaii by air in lush, vivid colors, Jason Ryan breathes life into the death-defying pioneers of aviation’s golden age.” —JONATHAN W. JORDAN, author of Brothers, Rivals, Victors and American Warlords
“Beautifully captures the excitement, wonder, and tragedy of the pioneering age of aviation. Combining masterful research with his gift for storytelling, Jason Ryan has brought to life a thrilling story of adventure filled with an incredible cast of characters. This is, without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read in ages. Race to Hawaii simply soars!” —JAMES M. SCOTT, 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Target Tokyo
“Jason Ryan’s expertly told Race to Hawaii tells the fascinating, thrilling, and sometimes tragic story of the first flights to Hawaii in the 1920s, and the fearless pilots who risked everything for a chance at fame and money.” —CATE LINEBERRY, author of Be Free or Die
“We all know Lucky Lindy conquered the Atlantic. But the Pacific was much wider and the goal just some distant specks of land. Learn who accomplished this impossible feat and how they did it in Jason Ryan’s Race to Hawaii.” —JAMES BRADLEY, author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys
“The characters in this book are so colorful you think you’re reading fiction. . . . Ryan has uncovered a simply amazing tale.” —SKIP HOLLANDSWORTH, author of The Midnight Assassin
“This is a tremendous read and a meticulously researched historical account of American aviators who embodied the courage to fly into the unknown. Not to be missed.” —JOHN BRUNING, author of Indestructible: One Man’s Rescue Mission That Changed the Course of WWII
"Ryan builds suspense skillfully and makes heroes out of the men and one woman who vied in the derby." —Booklist
"Ryan's thrilling book is an absolute thrill to read, capturing the excitement, wonder and tragedy of this pioneering age of aviation." —The Post and Courier