THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • From America’s “forgotten war” in Korea comes an unforgettable tale of courage by the author of A Higher Call.
“In the spirit of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat comes Devotion.”—Associated Press • “Aerial drama at its best—fast, powerful, and moving.”—Erik Larson
Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviation duo, Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown, and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi, Jesse became the navy’s first Black carrier pilot, defending a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar.
While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world’s most dangerous job—landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier—a line of work that Jesse’s young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept.
Deployed to the Mediterranean, Tom and Jesse meet the Fleet Marines, boys like PFC “Red” Parkinson, a farm kid from the Catskills. In between war games in the sun, the young men revel on the Riviera, partying with millionaires and even befriending the Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor. Then comes the conflict that no one expected: the Korean War.
Devotion takes us soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse, and into the foxholes with Red and the Marines as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates and the Marines are cornered at the Chosin Reservoir, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to try and save them. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.
A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend?
Journalist Makos follows 2012's A Higher Call with another true story of heroic actions by wartime pilots, told in a flamboyant and slightly overwrought style. This time the conflict is the Korean War and Makos's tale centers on the first African-American U.S. Navy carrier pilot, Jesse Brown, who died in action even though fellow pilot Tom Hudner, an upper-class son of a New England grocery store magnate, led selfless actions to try to save his life. "There has been no finer act of unselfish heroism in military history," Hudner's commanding officer later said of his courageous attempt to save Brown. The story is told mainly through the voices of the men who took part in the action; Makos and his staff conducted many interviews to use as sources. The overabundant use of reconstructed dialogue some of which barely rings true gives the book the feel of an adventure novel. The entire package seems to be an attempt to tell a screenplay-ready, Greatest Generation tale similar to Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken. Makos tells a good story, but it's not at Hillenbrand's level.
DEVOTION is a fantastic account of a true story that is exceptionally well written! One can’t help getting emotionally engaged with pride and tears to the point of having to dry eyes in order to keep reading. For me, the characters really came t life, and what they had to endure will stay with me forever. Frankly, it will make a great movie if someone will do it. This is one of the best books I have ever read, and to know it is all true just makes it even better!
I devoured this story!
A riveting true story of the Korean War. From factual recollections of those who were there, who saw with their own eyes, a story of faithfulness between Navy pilots beyond comparison has been resurrected. These acts of bravery and heroism must be shared, as they inspire us to rise above our brokenness. Highly recommended read!