Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo, Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown, and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi, Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot, defending a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar.
While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world’s most dangerous job—landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier—a line of work that Jesse’s young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept.
Deployed to the Mediterranean, Tom and Jesse meet the Fleet Marines, boys like PFC “Red” Parkinson, a farm kid from the Catskills. In between war games in the sun, the young men revel on the Riviera, partying with millionaires and even befriending the Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea.
Devotion takes us soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse, and into the foxholes with Red and the Marines as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates and the Marines are cornered at the Chosin Reservoir, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to try and save them. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.
A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend?
Praise for Devotion
“Riveting . . . a meticulously researched and moving account.”—USA Today
“An inspiring tale . . . portrayed by Makos in sharp, fact-filled prose and with strong reporting.”—Los Angeles Times
“[A] must-read.”—New York Post
“A masterful storyteller . . . [Makos brings] Devotion to life with amazing vividness. . . . [It] reads like a dream. The perfectly paced story cruises along in the fast lane—when you’re finished, you’ll want to start all over again.”—Associated Press
“A delight to read . . . Devotion is a story you will not forget.”—The Washington Times
“My great respect for Tom Hudner knows no bounds. He is a true hero; and in reading this book, you will understand why I feel that way.”—President George H. W. Bush
“This is aerial drama at its best—fast, powerful, and moving.”—Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake
“Though it concerns a famously cold battle in the Korean War, make no mistake: Devotion will warm your heart.”—Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice
“At last, the Korean War has its epic, a story that will stay with you long after you close this book.”—Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author of Fearless and Legend
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|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Excerpted from "Devotion"
Copyright © 2015 Adam Makos.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Reading Group Guide
1. Discuss the evolution of the friendship between Tom Hudner and Jesse Brown. What surprised you? How did individual growth in each man change the shape of their relationship with one another?
2. Who would you cast to play each character in a film adaptation of Devotion? Why?
3. How do you think Tom and Jesse’s story would have been different if it took place in the present?
4. The role of faith is especially important in the lives of Jesse and Charlie. Even John "Red" Parkinson credits Charlie with leading him to his faith in God in chapter 35. What effect do faith and hope have during times of war? How do attitude and mindset contribute to one's ability to persevere in times of hardship?
5. Though Tom and Jesse are the most central figures in the book, Devotion features a wide cast of colorful characters who take us back in time and bring their stories to life. Which secondary character did you identify most with, and why?
6. Discuss the dynamic relationship between the Navy and the Marines throughout the book. How does it change from beginning to end? What stays the same?
7. In chapter 39, “Pilot Herb Sergeant flew the recon mission that confirmed Jesse’s death. He says it was ‘the saddest flight’ he ever made.” What insight does this give us into their squadron? How does this defy the time in which this story takes place?
8. Discuss the scene in which the men meet Elizabeth Taylor. How would things have been different if they were meeting a celebrity in the present?
9. How did technological advances for the military affect the story? In your opinion, what was the most exciting development? Which piece of our modern technology do you think would have had the biggest benefit back then?
10. Discuss the aftermath of coming home for Tom, being praised as a hero while mourning the loss of a dear friend. In what ways did he continue to honor Jesse’s legacy?