You can read Wind, Sand and Stars to understand what a beginning pilot has to deal with flying from a small airfield in France in the 1930’s. You can also read the book to find out what flying in North Africa was like. Mostly you’ll find that the translated French is poetic and thought provoking.
You’ll see what a tribal king thinks of himself as a slave. A slave that the pilot who is telling this story is bound to free and return to his home.
An almost off the cuff flight from France to Vietnam tells the story of a crash and survival of the pilot and his mechanic as they strive to find a way out of the barren stretch of desert they are trapped in.
The last part of the story gives you an insight into the Civil War in Spain during the last years of the thirties. The pilot compares the war to a plague (and that brings thoughts of Camus’ “The Plague” to mind). The men who are fighting either for or against the regime are only differentiated by how they view the same principles.
The language in the book is poetic and there is more than a bit of philosophy in the passages that describe the pilot’s reaction to his friends, the environment and the people therein.
The book is not a page turner, but it is quite interesting and worth the time to peruse.