Sonic Wind: The Story of John Paul Stapp and How a Renegade Doctor Became the Fastest Man on Earth by Craig Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Craig Ryan has woven the true story of an American hero through the rollicking history of the late Twentieth Century. Dr. John Paul Stapp proved that human beings were capable of enduring massive G-forces by strapping himself into a rocket sled and undergoing incredible acceleration and deceleration. He and his team used the data collected during these runs to improve the safety of pilots everywhere. He designed the escape system that modern jet pilots still employ.
Arguably, Dr. Stapp saved more lives than any man who ever lived. Without him, seat belts would not be standard equipment in automobiles. Ryan chronicles Stapp’s campaign to make that happen, fighting the American auto industry at every turn.
Ryan tells the story in an easy matter-of-fact voice and a flair that keeps pages turning effortlessly. His research is impeccable and thoroughly documented. “Sonic Wind: The Story of John Paul Stapp and How a Renegade Doctor Became the Fastest Man on Earth,” is a must-read for aviation history buffs and anyone who is interested in how we arrived in 2015 with safer air and ground travel. It is a quintessential American story. With this book, Craig Ryan has cemented his stature as the preeminent Aviation History writer of his generation.