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"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth / And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings . . . "
So begins one of the best-loved poems about aerial flight. The poem "High Flight" was penned by 19-year-old John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Linda Granfield's book, High Flight: A Story of World War II, brings us his life story.
John Magee was born in Shanghai. He spent much of his adolescent years in England, where he began to write poetry. Later, Magee moved to the United States.
The itinerant Magee wanted to take part in the Second World War, so he left Yale in 1940 to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force. By mid-September 1941, Magee got his first posting. One day, at 30,000 feet, he started to muse on the wording to this classic poem. By the time he had landed, he had completed "High Flight." Magee experienced his first air battle by mid-November. A month later, tragically, the young pilot was dead -- not from enemy fire, but from a flying accident.
High Flight: A Story of World War II vividly captures the life of John Gillespie Magee, Jr. The colourful and detailed illustrations by Michael Martchenko support the text admirably through this most interesting read.