The Extraordinary Life of Britain’s Greatest Pilot


Discover the daring life story and astonishing adventures of Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown - Britain's greatest-ever pilot

Small in stature but immense in reputation and talent, there was more to Eric 'Winkle' Brown than met the eye.

From shooting down Luftwaffe bombers from the deck of a carrier in the Battle of the Atlantic and narrowly escaping death when his ship was torpedoed, to accumulating a never-to-be repeated litany of world records and firsts as a test pilot, his unparalleled flying career saw him take the controls of over four hundred different kinds of aircraft - more than any other pilot in history.

A rival to Chuck Yeager and hero to Neil Armstrong, by the time of his appearance on Desert Island Discs' 1000th episode Winkle had become a legend in his own lifetime, and by his death, a national treasure.

But despite his enormous fame, there have always been mysteries at the heart of Winkle's story.

Now, drawing on previously unseen documents and unfettered access to Winkle's own personal archive, Paul Beaver uncovers the complex and enigmatic man behind the legend - the real story of Britain's greatest pilot.

A story Winkle insisted could only be told after his death . . .


'Compelling, fascinating and frequently jaw-dropping. A brilliant and revelatory biography' JAMES HOLLAND

'Beaver recounts the story of a man he regarded as a mentor in unshowy but fascinating detail, and restores a British hero to his rightful place' OBSERVER

'[A] thumping great biography by Britain's leading aviation historian' DAILY MAIL, 'BOOK OF THE WEEK'

'Winkle Brown's astonishing adventures make for fascinating reading' SUNDAY TIMES

'An excellent biography' PATRICK BISHOP, DAILY TELEGRAPH

'The extraordinary story [of] a fearless pilot and decorated war hero. Epic' THE HERALD

'A thrilling new biography' DAILY EXPRESS

'A thumping great biography of the flying ace who made Top Gun look tame ... enthralling' DAILY MAIL

'Riveting ... one of those must-read books, compelling and full of incidents that leave you gasping with surprise ... an incredible story' FLYER

'An incredible life ... Brown took a secret to the grave that makes his story all the more remarkable' THE SUN


  • An excellent biography

About the author

Paul Beaver

Paul Beaver knew Eric Brown for nearly 40 years. In fact, Eric initially inspired Paul's writing career, offering him expert advice on aircraft carriers and naval aviation for Ark Royal, his first book. The collaboration later included Eric's foreword for Paul's best-selling Spitfire People. As a well as being author, Paul has been a war reporter, journalist with Jane's, a Parliamentary advisor and served for twenty-seven years in the Territorial Army rising to the rank of Colonel in the Army Air Corps (V).
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