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Robert F. DeBurgh was born and grew up in the northeastern United States. From a very early age his entire life has been dedicated to aviation, from flying airplanes himself as a professional pilot to writing about the people who fly them.
His first recollection of flight is sitting on his aunt’s lap in the front seat of an open cockpit biplane flown by his uncle at the tender age of five. He learned to fly at age fifteen and obtained his commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates at eighteen
After completing his military service he returned to college and obtained graduate degrees in psychology, sociology and education and a master of arts in psychology, supporting himself and paying his tuition by doing what he loved best, flight instruction and writing about aviation. His writings have included aviation and sports car columns for several newspapers, many articles for American and foreign magazines, short stories in the realm of adventure, science fiction and fantasy and much poetry. He has also worked as associate editor for “American Roadracing Magazine.”
At the present time he writes articles for “Indian Aviation Magazine” and several US magazines and is the author of the widely acclaimed novels, Riders of the Wind and Winds of Fate. In each of these novels DeBurgh has woven a tale of high adventure set against an accurate background of actual historical events.
Robert DeBurgh has served as captain for three overseas airlines and has sojourned widely in the US, Canada, Central and South America, Asia and Africa. For the past seventeen years he has served his country in the capacity of a pilot examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration until his recent retirement. He still flies regularly and does some advanced flight instruction for airline transport pilots and flight instructors. He resides in the southeastern US with his wife of twenty-five years and his four dogs.
His new novel, The Winds of Kunlun Shan, due to be released in the autumn of 2011, is the third book in the Riders of the Wind series.
on Feb. 15, 2014 :
I could not believe my good fortune when I won a copy of this book in an on line drawing. I found I had stumbled into a remarkable treasure of entertainment and history. This extremely well researched book had me going to the library and numerous online searches to find out more about this time period between the two world wars and especially the nonfictional characters in it. The story revolves around the life of Charles A. Cross and the early days of aviation from the early 1920's through to the start of World War II in 1941. Combining great story telling with an encyclopedic knowledge of the aircraft of this era, Mr. Deburgh has created a master piece to enjoy for generations to follow.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Aug. 27, 2013 :
I was enjoying this, and it was enhanced by my beginning to read it while embarking on a flight that would land in Newark, the primary location of most of the story. While it doesn't start at the very beginning of aviation, it covers the commercialization of airlines, mail deliveries, and the last hurrah of aviation racing in the days of biplanes. It also touches on many topics of the times, like prohibition, the Mafia, the Lindberghs, and the depression. Some of the historical events are presented in an oddly skewed fashion, but I didn't see anything that stuck me as incorrect. For a novel, I don't ask objectivity about history!
The thing that kind of threw me out of the story was when the two main characters go to Brazil and have a supernatural encounter. I wasn't expecting that. Also, the message became a bit heavy-handed here in the story and took over what I was reading it for - the history, and the planes. Don't read this for the story telling, that is a bit flat, and the characters cardboard. But the telling of the progression of aviation was a good read, out of my usual fare these days, harking me back to my teen obsession with aerospace. I might pick up the second book, because it gets into WWII, this book having ended with the announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)
on Aug. 20, 2013 :
This story opens up with such a moving scene having to do with a young man’s drive to fly an airplane. Already I can feel the passion the characters in this book and author has for the love of flying. Immediately the reader is being pulled into that passion with a one thrilling sensation after another.
"Riders of the Wind is a engaging story with a ton of adventure and just the right amount of romance. This book centers around airplane technology but there is so much more and I found this book to be written with heart and great sensitivity. I really got to know and fall for the characters. The feel of the times was clearly laid out by the author in vivid detail. It reminded me of some of the old time movies I used to watch with my dad when I was young. I could see the scenery all around me while I was reading. It was a great history lesson but at the same time an endearing love story.
"With the words still unspoken they walked arm and arm back to the hotel. Charlie was about to leave Doretta at the door of her room when she suddenly threw her arms about his neck and reached her soft red lips to touch his. Charlie's arms went around her waist and the kiss turned into a long, lingering embrace that shook both of them to their very souls. He felt the warm softness of her body the entire length of his and it seemed as if a wild hot wind was blowing through him."
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Feb. 12, 2012 :
via the books description: "Riders of the Wind is a fascinating tale of romance and adventure in the pioneering world of aviation", I jumped to the book for the chance to read a good love story and received so much more. I was totally entertained with the adventures and love between Charlie and Doretta Cross, while being subtly educated about aviation and points in history. I loved this book and can't wait to read DeBurgh's next book in the series Winds of Fate.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)
on Aug. 26, 2011 :
A historical fictional story about the early years of aviation. Charlie and Doretta take us through the years and different airplanes in the years before WWII. The author does a good job of explaining the differences the pilots were dealing with as each new plane came along without getting too technical, yet leaving you feeling like you might be able to fly one with the knowledge shared and how the commercial airlines came about, the pilots clothing and the different types of pilots/planes by weaving the story of Charlie and Doretta into it all. Do be aware this is nearly 700 pages long so you won't be able to read it all in one sitting!
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on June 16, 2011 :
Riders of the Wind is a very fascinating look back to the early days of aviation. Everything was new and experimental and DeBurgh describes the era in a way that expresses the passion and excitement of the time.
The adventures and misadventures of the pilots flying airmail, rumrunning, competing in air races and exploring new routes through the Amazon makes for some very exciting reading.
The courtship, marriage and absolute love shared between the two main characters, Charlie and Doretta Cross and the bond they have with their friends makes this more than just an aviation story. The tough times during the depression and prohibition era shape the events that take place and the addition of several historic characters add reality to the book.
Riders of the Wind is tale of romance, adventure, tears and laughter with a little mysticism mixed in creating a balanced mixture of all the elements that make a great novel. The reader does not have to an aviation fan to enjoy this book, it is a great story that will leave the reader wanting for more.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on June 08, 2011 :
I thoroughly enjoyed Riders of the Wind.
The novel spans the early days of the aeronautical industry, and how that industry survived the Great Depression and spawned the common names we know today such as TWA, Eastern Airlines, American Airlines Lockheed and Boeing.
It follows the lives of a real aviation family, Charles and Doretta Cross and includes several historical characters such as Charles Lindbergh and his family as some of the books minor characters.
An aviation enthusiast will find much to like in the book, as it provides details of the technology that the pioneers of flight wrestled around the sky.
The book has romance, danger and and tense moments, with a dabble of fantasy thrown in. All in all a very entertaining read.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)