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Harvill Press, 1996 - Aeronautics - 122 pages
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Take-off: almost a ton of inert matter transformed by the pilot as it lifts off the runway into a thing of spirit and beauty. Take-off: lifting one's shadow off the earth, entering a new element where movement is the very condition for existence, for, as the author observes, "in life, to choose the wrong wife or the wrong lift is conventionally viewed as being matters of varying gravity, but in piloting an aircraft an act of petty oversight, due to the obvious but decisive fact that in flight there can be no stopping, could be fatal."

The eight chapters of this book carry the reader up into the clouds, into a world governed by different laws where as we look though the cockpit window - and into our own souls - we see the earth below, and our own lives, under a new angle and with a painful new clarity. Whether he is reliving his first solo flight or a frightening experience as he pilots a light aircraft through storm clouds, his training and his instincts constantly at odds, or the mysterious loss of an airliner on an internal flight, or the brief, adrenaline-charged lives of Italian torpedo-bombers in World War Two, Del Giudice focuses on the edge of experience in which a person learns to take nothing, but nothing, for granted. While Take-off has much of the charm, humour and poetry to be found in the best of Saint-Exupéry (whose last flight is evoked in the final chapter), it will also remind the reader of Robert Pirsig's classic Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance by its close focus on the question of how the mind approaches problem-solving.

Winner of the Bagutta, Campiello and International Flaiano Prizes.

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TAKEOFF: The Pilot's Lore

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Italian aviator and novelist del Giudice (Lines of Light, 1988) poetically exalts the mystery and the mortal balance of flight in this slender but affecting volume of essays. Comprising personal ... Read full review

Takeoff: the pilot's lore

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Italian novelist del Giudice (Lines of Light, LJ 5/15/88) brings his experience as an aviator to bear in this accessible and variegated memoir. His small book reads like a novel composed of short ... Read full review

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About the author (1996)

DANIELE DEL GIUDICE was born in Rome in 1949. He is author of two previous novels and a novella. Being a qualified pilot with many a story to tell, he was encouraged to write the present book by Federico Fellini.

JOSEPH FARRELL, journalist, reviewer and broadcaster, teaches Italian at Strathclyde University. Italian novelists whose work he has translated include Leonardo Sciascia and Vincenzo Consolo; he has also translated plays by Goldoni, De Filippo and Dario Fo.

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