Close to the Sun follows the lives of two Americans and a German. As boys, they idealize the gallant exploits of WWI fighter aces. Hank Milroy from Wyoming learns his first flying lessons from observing falcons. Karl, Fürst von Pfalz-Teuffelreich, aspires to surpass his father’s 49 Luftsiegen accumulated during WWI. Seth Braham falls in love with flying during an air show at San Francisco’s Chrissy Field. The young men meet exceptional women. Texas tomboy Catherine “Winty” McCabe believes she is as good a flyer as any man. Princess Mariya-Xenia, a stateless White Russian, works for the Abwehr, German intelligence. Elfriede “Elfi” Wohlmann is a frontline nurse. Mimi Kay sings with a big band.
Flying fighters over Europe, Hank, Karl, and Seth experience the exhilaration of aerial combat victories and acedom during the unromantic reality of combat losses, tedious bomber escort, strafing runs, firebombing of entire cities, and separation from the women they love. Callous political decisions and military mistakes, especially horrific atrocities they witness at the end of WWII, add to their disillusion.
Three boys in the 1920s idealize the exploits of WWI fighter aces. Hank Milroy, raised on a Wyoming ranch, learns his first aerial combat lessons observing how falcons burst out of the sun to attack their prey. Son of a WWI 49 victory ace, Karl, Fürst von Pfalz-Teuffelreich, intends to surpass his father’s Luftsiegen in the next war. Seth Braham is thrilled by his first flight during an air show at the San Francisco Presidio’s Chrissy Field. As competitive young men flying fighters during WWII, each seeks to become top ace. They mature during the grim reality of bomber escort and strafing runs, harmful political and military decisions, and a horrifying climax.
Exceptional women affect the pilots’ lives: Catherine “Winty” McCabe, a Texas tomboy who believes she is a better flyer than any man; Princess Maria-Xenia, a stateless White Russian who works for the Abwehr, German intelligence; Elfriede “Elfie” Wohlmann, a combat unit nurse; and streetwise Mimi Kay, who left home at age fourteen to pursue a career as a big band singer.
Pre-publication praise for Close to the Sun
From Patrick Assayag, Colonel USAFR
I thoroughly enjoyed Close to the Sun! I loved that one viewed WWII through many perspectives, both Allied and Axis. Moreover, the “Mitchner-esque” novel, fictional characters set in historic events, is instructive and entertaining.
Close to the Sun captured a USAAF I wish I could have been a part of. Close to the Sun is an exciting WWII novel that allows a modern day Airman to experience the emotions and experiences of Airmen past. Set in the period that is arguably the most critical to the evolution of the USAF, characters such as Hank, Brax, Seth, and Winty transport one to the late 1930s through the end of the European Theater War in WWII.I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this fast paced, authentic, and exciting novel.
From Frishawn Rasheed at WTF Are You Reading? (http://www.wtfareyoureading.com/)
Donald Michael Platt’s Close to the Sun, is nothing short of Historical Fiction gold set against the bleak and bloody backdrop of WWII. His flair for emotionally provocative storytelling makes this book attractive to both male and female readers, seamlessly weaving the threads of action and feeling into a brilliant tableau of humanity.
This novel introduces readers to three young men, each sharing one dream: to be the best and to rule the skies as only pilots can as an Ace! Donald Michael Platt writes characters who, while striving for perfection in their careers, are flawed in their personal lives. Close to the Sun is a masterfully penned tale of war, ambition, love, loss, and fighter ACES!
From Lieutenant Ethan Samuels, USN, former Squadron Aviation Intelligence Officer for Strikefighter Squadron Two-Two
A must-read, Close to the Sun, by renowned author, Donald Michael Platt, is an unconventional look into the psyche of those brash United States Army Air Corps, dogfighters and their counterparts in the dreaded Luftwaffe. Donald Michael Platt’s work has the unique ability to put the bombastic, brash, endearing, flawed, and honorable nature of American and German aviators on display. His juxtaposition of the personalities and histories of the American protagonists with those of the German antagonists humanizes the war from the rarely visited perspective of the elite class of old school ace pilots. Just as striking is Donald Michael Platt’s unique contrast of the regal, audacious, and somewhat pristine aerial combat, with the horrific reality of the World War II battlefield.
From Diana Silva at Book Nerd (http://booknerdloleotodo.blogspot.com/).
I highly recommend Close to the Sun for anyone who enjoys learning about WWII, fighter pilots, or is just looking for a cast of great characters. I commend Donald Michael Platt for giving a voice to such a trying time in U.S. history. I loved learning about Hank Milroy, Karl, Fürst von Pfalz-Teuffelreich, and Seth Braham. I thought that the author was really able to capture their uniqueness and their combined passion for flying as pilots during such an intense time in history. I have to confess that my favorite was Catherine “Winty” McCabe. I loved that the author included her in this story. Women were definitely not considered when it came to become pilots, but Winty really pushed the limits and played by her own rules. Princess Maria-Xenia, Elfriede “Elfie” Wohlmann and Mimi Kay all added a female voice and experience during this time period. The author really developed each of these characters and their individual stories became part of one big story.
From Arthur N. Tulak, Colonel U.S. ARMY
I really enjoyed Close to the Sun. I was impressed with the level of detail and thought about the extensive research Donald Michael Platt must have done to write this. Any military officer reading this novel, aviator or no, will inevitably recall his own days as a cadet or officer candidate and his buddies who strived alongside in the journey to becoming a commissioned officer. The characters in novel will likely call to mind and even resemble some of their fellow cadets. The horror and carnage of war are also accurately captured from the aviator’s point of view, and later from the ground soldier’s perspective.
The author demonstrates keen insight into the minds of officers at war, and accurately captures the struggle of doing one’s best at his assigned task, even while he might personally question the overall campaign, the strategic or theater level decisions being made above him, and the seeming futility of the conflict. Officer Veterans from any of America’s modern foreign wars and conflicts will find themselves back in theater, in Afghanistan or wherever they served, remembering these difficult questions.
From Erin Al-Mehairi from Oh, For the Hook of a Book (http://hookofabook.wordpress.com).
I couldn’t stop reading Donald Michael Platt’s Close to the Sun, an amazing story told from the perspective of male fighter pilots at the onset and during WWII. He makes one remember that the lives, desires, and pursuits of these men had almost nothing to do with the plan of their governments and as well that they really weren’t all that different from each other in many regards. The details in this novel were spectacular, creating imagery and depth in the scenes and characters, as well as the dialogue being so nostalgic and well-written. The romantic nuances of his storytelling felt incredibly authentic with the tug and pull of the men being called to serve and the women whom they loved who had their own high hopes, dreams, or work. I loved how he portrayed this women the most—strongly and fiercely independent. Donald Michael Platt did a marvelous job showcasing his male characters love of flight above all things, as when they soared in the clouds like eagles and all other cares ceased to exist. He has written a lasting legacy to many pilots on all fronts that served during this time.
As an Air Force brat myself, with fond memories of the flight line as a child, I truly feel D9nald Michael Platt captured the essence of the obsession of flying and made you feel the euphoria and drive of those pursuing this dream. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a penchant for WWII historical and/or aviation novels, yet would like to read a fresh and original story.
Authors PR – Madi Preda https://authorspromotion.wordpress.com
Close to The Sun is a tribute and in the same time an epitaph for combat airmen in WW I and WW II on all fronts, for all men who fought a lonely war in the sky. Their courage and determination made them legendary in military aviation, and Donald Michael Platt with his pen causes us all to remember the ace fighter pilots’
From Margaret Cook at Just One More Chapter (http://www.justonemorechapter.com/).
I found Close to the Sun to be an entertaining read, was well written, with well developed characters who have both depth and emotion.
A unique plot, told from the point of view of pilots prior to and during World War II. It is a well researched and engrossing book.
From Ashley Le Mar at Closed the Cover (http://www.closedthecover.com/).
Donald Michael Platt’s ability to capture both the magic of flight and the grim reality of war creates a mesmerizing literary world. CLOSE TO THE SUN is both compelling and horrifying – a true must-read for fans of wartime fiction. It is a powerful book that enables readers to experience the thrill of flight as a fighter pilot and horrors of war from the comfort of their reading chair. An exceptional read, entirely engrossing and intoxicating. Fast-paced and riveting I couldn’t get enough of Hank, Karl and Seth’s exploits! CLOSE TO THE SUN is a thrilling novel that leads readers through idyllic dreams of heroism and the grim reality of war. Donald Michael Platt provides readers with a unique coming-of-age story as three adventure-seeking boys discover far more than how to be an aerial combat pilot. CLOSE TO THE SUN is an amazing tale of adventure, heroism, war and the drive within us all that keeps us going when things look bleak.
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