Captain Cleve Connell has already made a name for himself among pilots when he arrives in Korea during the war there to fly the newly operational F-86 fighters against the Soviet MIGs. His goal, like that of every fighter pilot, is to chalk up enough kills to become an ace.
But things do not turn out as expected. Mission after mission proves fruitless, and Connell finds his ability and his stomach for combat questioned by his fellow airmen: the brash wing commander, Imil; Captain Robey, an ace whose record is suspect; and finally, Lieutenant Pell, a cocky young pilot with an uncanny amount of skill and luck.
Disappointment and fear gradually erode Connell's faith in himself, and his dream of making ace seems to slip out of reach. Then suddenly, one dramatic mission above the Yalu River reveals the depth of his courage and honor.
Originally published in 1956, The Hunters was James Salter's first novel. Based on his own experiences as a fighter pilot in the Korean War, it is a classic of wartime fiction. Now revised by the author and back in print on the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Air Force, the story of Cleve Connell's war flies straight into the heart of men's rivalries and fears.
About the Author
James Salter was the celebrated author of six novels ("The Hunters", 1957; "The Arm of Flesh", 1961; "A Sport and a Pastime", 1967; "Light Years", 1975; "Solo Faces", 1979; and "All That Is", 2013) and three books of stories ("Dusk and Other Stories", 1988; "Last Night", 2005; and "Collected Stories", 2013), as well a memoir, "Burning the Days" (1997). He also had a successful Hollywood career, most notably as the screenwriter of "Downhill Racer" (1969). Born in New Jersey in 1926 and raised in New York City, he attended West Point during World War II and served as an officer and a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force from 1945 to 1957. He drew on his combat experiences in Korea for his first two novels, though it was not until the controversial but now-classic A Sport and a Pastime that he considered that he had come close to measuring up to his own standards. He was a recipient of the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award and the 2012 PEN/Malamud Award. He died in Sag Harbor, New York, in 2015.