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Flights of Passage: Recollections of a World War II Aviator

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Flights of Passage: Recollections of a World War II Aviator

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Samuel Hynes served as a consultant on “The War”, directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and appears on camera in several episodes.


“The War” is a seven-part, 14-hour documentary series that debuts on PBS on Sunday, September 23, 2007.


Sam Hynes was eighteen when he left his Minnesota home for navy flight school in 1943. By the time the war ended he was a veteran Marine pilot, still not quite twenty-one, and had flown more than a hundred missions in the Pacific theater. In this eloquent narrative, by turns dramatic, funny, and elegiac, Hynes recalls those extraordinary years during which he came of age. he makes real the places-the training fields and the liberty towns and the Pacific islands, and the people-the other young pilots, the girls and the young wives, even the enemy pilots. He remembers friendship, and the excitement and tedium of war, the high exhilaration of flying, and the dying. More than a tale of combat, Flight of Passage is a story of one boy’s growth to manhood in the turbulent, testing world of war in the air.



Samuel Hynes is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of several major works of literary criticism, including The Auden Generation, Edwardian Occasions, and The Edwardian Turn of Mind. Hynes’s wartime experiences as a Marine Corps pilot were the basis for his highly praised memoir, Flights of Passage. The Soldiers’ Tale, his book about soldiers’ narratives of the two world wars and Vietnam, won a Robert F. Kennedy Award. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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