WALL STREET JOURNAL
Fokker was surely some kind of genius. He taught himself to fly, then to build flying machines until he had one that satisfied him. This was in 1911, when he was 21, eight years after the world’s first powered flight. In “Anthony Fokker: The Flying Dutchman Who Shaped American Aviation,” Marc Dierikx tells the story of this fascinating man and tells it well.
In this straightforward, well-sourced biography, Dierikx reveals the life of aviation legend Anthony Fokker. The Dutch pilot and aircraft manufacturer built his company by supplying the German military during WWI, when he perfected the timing mechanism that allowed pilots to shoot through the propeller while flying. A millionaire before he was 25, Fokker’s business fortunes were rocked by German politicaland economic unrest in the 1920s, forcing him to smuggle millions out in a risky escape. Eventually, he moved to America, where his aircraft achieved fame on record-setting flights, and he became the highly successful European sales representative for the Douglas and Lockheed companies. Fokker’s story, which also includes no small amount of personal tragedy, will be extremely appealing to military and aviationhistory fans. It also provides general history readers with a fascinating glimpse at an era where the lines between heroes and villains were blurred, even on the battlefield, and a stunt pilot could, remarkably, through sheer force of will, become an incredibly wealthy man.