The Millionaires' Unit The Aristocratic Flyboys Who Fought the Great War, and the Birth of American Air Power

Front Cover
PublicAffairs, Apr 24, 2006 - History - 313 pages
0 Reviews
The Millionaires' Unit is the story of a gilded generation of young men from the zenith of privilege: a Rockefeller, the son of the head of the Union Pacific Railroad, several who counted friends and relatives among presidents and statesmen of the day. They had it all and, remarkably by modern standards, they were prepared to risk it all to fight a distant war in France. Driven by the belief that their membership in the American elite required certain sacrifice, schooled in heroism and the nature of leadership, they determined to be first into the conflict, leading the way ahead of America's declaration that it would join the war. At the heart of the group was the Yale flying club, six of whom are the heroes of this book. They would share rivalries over girlfriends, jealousies over membership in Skull and Bones, and fierce ambition to be the most daring young man over the battlefields of France, where the casualties among flyers were chillingly high. One of the six would go on to become the principal architect of the American Air Force's first strategic bomber force. Others would bring home decorations and tales of high life experiences in Paris. Some would not return, having made the greatest sacrifice of all in perhaps the last noble war. For readers of Flyboys , The Greatest Generation , or Flags Of Our Fathers , this patriotic, romantic, absorbing book is narrative military history of the best kind.

What people are saying - Write a review

The Millionaire's Unit: The Aristocratic Flyboys who Fought the Great War and Invented American Airpower

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Freelance writer and Yale alumnus Wortman tells the story of the Yale Flying Club, a group of wealthy young Yale students whose interest in flying became the basis for one of the first air corps units ... Read full review


EARTH 1 New Haven June 3 1916 Sand
Gales Ferry June 318 1916 Preparation
Gales Ferry June 1823 1916 The Race
Peacock Point July 1916 Converted
Peacock Point JulySeptember 1 9 1 6 A New Life
New Haven Fall 1916 The Yale Aero Club
New Haven JanuaryMarch 1 9 1 7 Were Off
AIR 8 Palm Beach AprilMay 1917 The Wags
France August September 191 7 We Are So Green
America September 1917 Building an Air Force
Peacock Point 19171918 The Fallen Leader
France Fall 1917 A Parisian Education
Le Croisic November 1917 Game to the End
Felixstowe February 1918 The Spider Web
England and Scotland Winter 19171918 Getting the Wind Up

Palm Beach April 19 1917 The Tap
Huntington JuneJuly 1 9 1 7 Flights of Romance
Huntington July 28 1917 Broken Wings
Epilogue New Haven 2006

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Marc Wortman is an award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines. He was a senior editor of the Yale Alumni Magazine, where the story of the Yale unit was originally published in the September/October 2003 issue. He also taught literature and writing at Princeton University and in a college program for inmates at Rahway State Prison in New Jersey. He lives in New Haven with his wife and daughter.

Bibliographic information