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From the publisher
When Second World War Spitfire pilot John Gillespie Magee penned his poem `High Flight', little did he know that his words would inspire legions of aspiring aviators who had a similar wish to fly their `eager craft through footless halls of air'. Founded on years of detailed research, Roger Cole's book High Flight tells John Magee's extraordinary story, describing hitherto-unknown details of his short life, and providing insight into the inspiration for the poems that have found a unique place in history. Born of an English mother and American father in Nanking in China, Magee grew up and was educated in different parts of the world, proving to be a highly accomplished student. Through his experiences, he developed principles that made him determined to defend the rights of those he loved and respected. Exhilarated by flight and finding unique language in poetry, John was able to use words to express the emotions and sentiments of all who fly in a manner that is acknowledged and applauded throughout the world. The outbreak of war in Europe violated his beliefs, and, determined to fight for freedom, John left America and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, qualifying as a pilot and travelling to England to fight Nazism. Tragically, John would lose his life, aged 19 years, in an accident, so never know how his words would serve posterity. Roger Cole's High Flight traces the path of John Magee's achievement, revealing an incredible story of human endeavor, vision, determination and self-sacrifice.