Title: Flying the Edge of America
Author: David Millett and Julia Buss
Pages: 196, Paperback
Reviewed by: Gary Sorkin, Pacific Book Review
Pacific Book ReviewWritten in an interlaced diary format the stories of David Millett, the pilot, and Julia Buss, the intrepid passenger and companion, Flying the Edge of America shares the modern day adventure of touring the country in a self-piloted private airplane.
Having a noticeably delightful charm from being of British decent, the co-authors take you on their journey circumventing America in a “pogo-stick series of encounters” dropping in at points hundreds of miles apart. Upon landing, the travelers are faced with logistical issues of touring the countryside by either renting a car, hiring a taxi or shuttle, or meeting friends to assimilate more closely into the regional culture. Nonetheless the combination of David’s “Amelia Earhart seat-of-the-pants type” of commandeering and Julia’s “Charles Kuralt journalistic style” seeking the color of the local story, takes the reader on an adventure only few are ever privileged to experience first hand. Throughout the journey, Millett’s analytical mind continuously weighs thoughts of logical choices while Buss’ feminine emotions tend to lean more to the feelings and impressions of the locals they encounter. Together they unfold a duet of trust, friendship and invite you into a love story while masking it as an adventure chronicle.
Traveling clockwise along the perimeter of the Continental United States, from their origin and home in the San Francisco Bay Area, Millett and Buss encounter the threads of the sights and people that weave the fabric of America. From behind their sunglasses, caps, and casual clothing, Millett and Buss observe and experience the natural beauty of the country by hiking or taking excursions into the back country. They get a geological view of the terrain from the air. They seek out every opportunity to mix with the locals, and are truly appreciative of the kindness in others. They sample the delicacies of the local region or put up with the “burger, fries and coleslaw” just the same. Highlighted with Buss’ photographic eye and full of many captivating photographs, the co-authors developed a see-saw style whereas Millett would write about the journey from a pilot’s point-of-view, and Buss would write about the history and present day circumstances on their score of stops along the way.
I certainly would recommend reading this book as I have found Flying the Edge of America to be very relaxing and enjoy the non-presumptuous openness and honesty of both Millett and Buss.