Best Biographies of World War II Reviewed By BookViral

A BookViral Review Of That Lucky Old Son By Mark Cote

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Summary: Having lost his father when he was only eight years old, Cote embarks on a quest to discover the man who left him too soon, but who left behind a legacy of courage, love, and faith.

The BookViral Review: Genre – Biographies of World War II

Far too many war fiction novels reach for an epic sweep only to get bogged down in clichéd drama and two-dimensional characters. But Cote’s autobiographical creative nonfiction That Lucky Old Son proves a compelling sky-war pageant of a read. With chapters moving between disparate timelines. First writing from his own perspective as he recalls intimate moments with his father then a quasi-fictional perspective as he weaves known facts about his father, Len, into a nail-biting story. The flak flies, German fighters attack, wings are shredded and gun turrets are blown off. And once again we are reminded of the skill, courage and sacrifices of RCAF and RAF aircrews who played a pivotal role in winning World War Two. Following Len from basic training to his drafty and isolated rear turret the scenes of aerial combat are skilfully written and it’s a credit to Cote’s prose that we can clearly imagine 158 Squadrons devastating bombing run on Peenemunde and feel the loss of Len’s many comrades who are listed as FTR. More importantly we can’t help but make an emotive connection with the characters he introduces us to with Len’s stalwart nature in no doubt when he is finally captured by Germans after bailing out over The Netherlands.


Powerfully capturing the transient and fragile human element of war Cote states in his epilogue that in writing his biography he came to “a truly cathartic realization” that his father had never truly left him. He has also ensured that Len’s bravery and those of his fellow RCAF and RAF airmen will be remembered for future generations. Recommended without reservation That Lucky Old Son proves a must-read. 

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