Monday, November 23, 2020


Hawkeye: The Enthralling Autobiography of the Top-Scoring Israel Air Force Ace of Aces by Giora Even-Epstein (Grub Street Publishing 9 November 2020)

Fascinating book by and about the Israeli Air Force’s top-scoring pilot. The boo is a good read with very little politics and propaganda from an ongoing conflict. In fact, Giora Even seems to have been in as much conflict with his own air force as with his country’s enemies. Rejected due to medical issues, he initially trained as a paratrooper (with tougher medical exams than the air force!) before managing to join pilot training as the oldest pilot ever in the air force. Sent to helicopters after initial training he struggled his way to fighters and to his life-long love, the Mirage (and variants). He started his claims during the Six Day War, continued in the War of Attrition before becoming the top-scorer during the Yom Kippur War. All his claims were against the Egyptians (which he regarded higher as pilots than the Soviets).

What’s interesting is that he mentions names on co-pilots, dates of claims, type etc and is thus very detailed, which is not very common in books from more “modern” conflicts.

Of course, you can always argue, which you always can in books about fighter pilots, about whether the claims were legit or just wishful thinking but overall, it comes through as a honest description of Even’s career. In fact, the book is very much a typical fighter pilot’s book in that you could easily exchange the Mirages and MiG-21s with Spitfires, Bf 109s or P-51s!

Recommended reading if you’re interested in these conflicts from a pilot’s view!

I wish there would be any fighter memoirs “from the other side” available in English!


Rating: 9/10


The book is available from Amazon: Hawkeye: The Enthralling Autobiography of the Top-Scoring Israel Air Force Ace of Aces: BG Giora Even-Epstein: 9781911621966: Books