The book was released today to much fanfare and press.
No doubt, the Danville hero pilot is a nice, straight-arrow fellow, a true professional who, in his own words, used all his decades of training--studying the science of crashes, his stint as a military fighter pilot--to land that crippled jet on the Hudson River last January.
But 320 words (er, PAGES!) of Sully's wit and wisdom? And haven't we heard the story of the miracle landing in his own words before? In that interview with Katie Couric on 60 Minutes?
I don't know. Tell me I'm wrong, and I do need to rush out and spend $25.99 to acquire a copy. Maybe you already have a copy and have read it and can set me straight.
I have been a bit wary of the book ever since the book deal was announced. The $3 million deal will allow Sully to publish not one but two books. Sully will follow up this autobiography with a book of, um, his inspirational poetry and writings.
Okay, okay, with regard to Sully's poetry, maybe he is the next Robert Frost or Wallace Stevens or Richard Bach. Remember Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a best-selling totally '70s inspirational novella about a seagull learning about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection?
How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!
Then again, I started to wonder if I had jumped to a wrong conclusion about what the 58-year-old father of two has to say about his life and his flying career.
I was intrigued to read in accounts in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times that Sully might give insight into the current woes of the airline industry, from a personal and professional perspective.
Apparently, Sully, like many of us, was facing serious money woes, in the current economic climate. His salary had been cut in half, he had lost half his pension, he was looking for side jobs, and he and his wife were talking about selling their house. Very relatable, right? The book, according to the Times, paints "an ominous picture of an atmosphere where cost-cutting is increasingly valued over safety, and passengers are largely unaware of the implications."
I was trying to find reviews of it, and, so far all I could come across was this from Entertainment Weekly. The reviewer says that he has nothing but admiration for Sully, but he has few nice things to say about his "drearily written book."
The reviewer makes a recommendation I can go with. It is to instead turn to a fresh take on the crash, written by William Langewiesche. He's an award-winning journalist for The Atlantic and Vanity Fair; Actually, he's an amazing writer, one of the best writers of long-form investigative and narrative journalism around these days. His book is called Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson and it's due out next month.