Aviator of Fortune

Lowell Yerex and the Anglo-American Commercial Rivalry, 1931-1946

978-1-58544-500-4 Cloth
6 x 9. 280 pp. 14 b&w photos., 4 maps.
Pub Date: 08/03/2006
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A man without a country—a flyer with no place to land.

At a time when the Anglo-American relationship was riddled with suspicion and competition, Lowell Yerex, a British subject who lived in America, had the misfortune of becoming entangled in it as he attempted to create a commercial airline empire in Central America. His experience—rife with adventure, romance, and intrigue—made him a legend in air history and now provides a dramatic chapter in U.S.–British relations, as well as the history of Central America.

To understand Yerex’s remarkable career, Erik Benson focuses on the uniqueness of the entrepreneur’s background, one that enabled him to empathize with both Great Britain and the United States and to foster working relationships with these rivals. Yerex’s dealings with the two countries shed new light on the development of aviation in the 1930s and 1940s, at a time when Pan American ruled the skies of the western hemisphere, when revolutions and coups rocked governments, and when fortunes waited to be made and lost.

Aviator of Fortune offers a detailed look at the life of Lowell Yerex: his successes and failures. Benson shows him as a tragic hero, influenced by fate and by his own ambitious desires. Today, his remains an important story, one that offers worthwhile reading for historians, aviation enthusiasts, and adventure seekers.

Centennial of Flight Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press