An amazing reading discovery! I had no clue who Frederick Zinn was - history seems to have forgotten him but thank God that author and historian, Blaine Pardoe has reintroduced this aviation hero to the world. In his newest book "Lost Eagles: One Man's Mission to Find Missing Airman in Two World Wars", we learn how important he has been and continues to be for aviators. I found this book to be more than just informative story telling but one immensely entertaining experience for the reader.
I was a helicopter crew member during the Vietnam War and knew details about finding lost aircrew members. The old motto that we all believed in - "Leave no one behind!" I found out from this book was originated from the efforts of Zinn. He was the very heart and soul of the whole movement to search and recover bodies of aircrew members who crashed or were shot down. The book is fully researched and factual and yet, it reads like a novel. The author really created a wonderful flow of emotional energy as he ties in stories of missing and KIA pilots and crew-members sandwiched between the life story of Zinn. He makes it work and it enhances the depth of the book greatly.
I highly recommend this book even if you are not a fan of war or aviation genre books - there is something that will appeal to most all readers. It is a human interest story and history. Readers will not be able to put it down once they get into it.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2011)
Few people have ever heard of Frederick Zinn, yet even today airmen's families are touched by this man and the work he performed in both world wars. Zinn created the techniques still in use to determine the final fate of airmen missing in action. The last line of the Air Force Creed reads, "We will leave no airman behind." Zinn made that promise possible.
Blaine Pardoe weaves together the complex story of a man who brought peace and closure to countless families who lost airmen during both world wars. His lasting contribution to warfare was a combination of his methodology for locating the remains of missing pilots (known as the Zinn system) and his innovation of imprinting all aircraft parts with the same serial number so that if a wreck was located, the crewman could be identified. The tradition he established for seeking and recovering airmen is carried on to this day.