At a time when the Anglo-American relationship was riddled with suspicion and competition, Lowell Yerex, a British subject who lived in America, had the misfortune of becoming entangled in it as he attempted to create a commercial airline empire in Central America. His experiences - rife with adventure, romance, and intrigue - made him a legend in air history and w provide a dramatic chapter in U.S. - British relations, as well as the history of Central America. To understand Yerex's remarkable career, Erik Benson focuses on the uniqueness of the entrepreneur's background, one that enabled him to empathize with both Great Britain and the United States and to foster working relationships with these rivals. Yerex's dealings with the two countries shed new light on the development of aviation in the 1930s and 1940s, at a time when Pan American ruled the skies of the western hemisphere, when revolutions and coups rocked governments, and when fortunes waited to be made and lost. Aviator of Fortune offers a detailed look at the life of Lowell Yerex: his successes and failures. Benson shows him as a tragic hero, influenced by fate and by his own ambitious desires. Today, his remains an important story, one that offers worthwhile reading for historians, aviation enthusiasts, and adventure seekers.
ERIK BENSON, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, is an assistant professor at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.