Reader Comments and Reviews



"While designedly fiction in fleshing out the human drama, Bill Riddle’s DEAD DOWNWIND stays the course in its historical presentation of the roots of naval aviation – a history too little known and under appreciated. A well told tale, it spans a decade which bore witness to lofty aerial ventures, untamed ambitions, and extreme personal daring powered by a dogged belief in a future for naval aviation.  

"Through a wide lens, it spotlights the early challenge in trans-Pacific flight and lighter than air operations. Against a backdrop of real names and events from the pages of history, it also documents intense service rivalry between the Army Air Corps and the Navy over control of Naval Aviation.

"A good read of fiction enriched by fact and facts enlivened by fiction!

"Well done,"


Admiral Ronald J. Hays USN (Ret)

Chairman of the Board

Pacific Aviation Museum



"Bill Riddle is a spellbinding storyteller, and has amplified this fascinating, historically based account with a phenomenal assortment of rare period photographs and actual headlines that further enrich and enhance the reader’s experience of this riveting saga."


Eden-Lee Murray

Clairemark LTD.



To: Bill Riddle

“I just finished reading DDW (for the first time).  Being a pilot and sailor, I thought your book would be interesting, but it went way beyond my expectations.  Your attention to detail with regard to the aviation and nautical aspects of the subject matter was dead on, yet presented in such a way that it was informative and interesting but not overly technical.  Your use of word-pictures made me feel as though I was actually looking at what was being described.  Reading the book was more like watching a motion picture.  In presenting so many details of that period in our history, you showed me that you really did your homework.  The many photographs of that era were a wonderful complement.  Flying, sailing, the beautiful Hawaiian islands, a harrowing ordeal at sea, and even a tender love story; your book has something for everyone.  I will highly recommend this book to my friends.  Thank you for a wonderful read.” 

Dick B
(New Jersey)


"Well Mr. Bill Riddle, if I'm falling asleep at my desk this week, you are to blame! 

"This book is fabulous!  I am absolutely captivated! The moment I've got the boys to bed, I pour myself a cup of tea and snuggle in with your book.  The fact that it has me riveted when I'm not much of an aeronautical or nautical aficionado is quite a comment on the mass appeal of this story. 

"I'm so enjoying learning about this slice of history and I can hardly put the book down.  It's such a treat to have the pictures with the book and really enhances the reading experience.  I'm intrigued with your research process to have uncovered all these fascinating details. 

"We bought the other copy for our neighbor/landlady's birthday.  She just turned 64 and is a long time Oahu resident.  She told me she was already halfway finished with her book and had been up until 4AM reading!  

"While few movies even come close to being as good as the books from which they are made, this tale is so harrowing and thrilling it would seem a great candidate for film.  I'm sure your agent is already pursuing movie rights, no doubt. 

"I'm up to September 3rd, 1925 and don't want to finish!"


Kristen D





"Just finished DDW, and I am very wasn't just good, it was bloody terrific. You found a good balance with the technical aspects, so that those areas were interesting without getting so technical that anyone not so inclined would be turned off. I thought the second half of the story was particularly good, and from the time they started the flight, it was difficult to put down. I read it in three sittings, the last half this morning.

"Congratulations was outstanding."


Peter J





"I would like to congratulate you for creating a truly outstanding book.  Very rarely do I encounter text that is so captivating and compelling that I feel it can't be put down until the end is reached.  Your attention to research and detail are exceptional and enhanced by the wealth of period photographs.  You have taken history weaving in a background story to create in the process a beautiful tapestry that can be appreciated by any type of reader.

"This is one book that will remain in my library permanently as I fully intend to reread it again down the line."


Chuck H