I read this book in junior high, with little sense of its literary value (which is actually pretty strong). I was just captivated by the story of a mediocre Dauntless pilot based on the Enterprise who finally had his day–only to get wounded and lose his chance to fly. He then becomes a coast watcher in the Slot.
My love for the Dauntless was cemented by this book, and also my rather romantic notion of the open-air rear gunner’s nest in any number of different aircraft.
Thanks for the invitation, David!