The Extraordinary Life of Britain’s Greatest Pilot


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Pre-order 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.

The pilot who set the standard for Britain's golden age of aviation, Winkle cemented his worldwide fame with incredible skill, extraordinary daring - and nerves of steel when things went wrong. 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 Disc's 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. To truly understand this fascinating but secretive man is to grapple with questions that have intrigued and confounded biographers throughout his extraordinary life.

Drawing on previously unseen documents and unfettered access to Winkle's own personal archive Paul Beaver records a life with more twists and turns than a Battle of Britain dogfight - which was, of course, something Winkle had taken part in himself - uncovering 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 . . .

©2023 Paul Beaver (P)2023 Penguin Audio


  • 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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