[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own]
The Sky Behind Me: A Memoir of Flying & Life by Byron Edgington is the memoir of a helicopter pilot who began his flying career in the Army in Vietnam. I must admit that I though I would only find the parts about the tour in Vietnam interesting. I must further admit that I was completely wrong and am happy I was.
The book itself is 296 pages long divided into 31 chapters. About 1/3 of the book is dedicated to learning to fly and his tour in Vietnam the rest covers his eventful career after the army.
After leaving the Army Mr. Edgington flew for the National Guard and held several different corporate jobs after leaving the Army. He then flew medical evacuation helicopters in Iowa for twenty years before ending his career flying tourists around Hawaii before turning to writing after he grounded himself. It is an interesting life-story to say the least, full of incidents that make equally good stories for the bar over a few beers or a book.
The predominant impression I had while reading the book is that Mr. Edgington is one of the few people that spent their life doing what they truly love. You could not call flying a job so much as a calling and the love he had for what he did comes out clearly in his writing. Regarding his writing style, it is quite easy to read and flows well. I found myself getting lost while reading, which does not happen to me very often when reading non-fiction of any kind.
The Sky Behind Me: A Memoir of Flying & Life is not just a memoir, it is a good look at what flying in Vietnam was like in the latter years of the war. Think Mason’s Chickenhawk in 1970 instead of 1975 with an uplifting story of how someone took their life and did something that they not only loved but positively affected the lives of thousands over the course of their career from flying life-saving medevac missions to capping peoples vacation of a lifetime in paradise. Mr Edgington has no doubt lived a varied and interesting life and he shares that variety and interest in this book. I highly recommend this book.