Fate Is the Hunter

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This article is about a book. For the 1964 film, see Fate Is the Hunter (film). For the album, see Fate Is the Hunter (album).
Fate is the Hunter
1st edition
Author Ernest Kellogg Gann
Cover artist Paul Bacon
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages 390
ISBN 0-671-63603-0

Fate is the Hunter is a 1961 memoir by aviation writer Ernest K. Gann. It describes his years working as a pilot from 1he 1930s to 1950s, starting at American Airlines in Douglas DC-2s and DC-3s when civilian air transport was in its infancy, moving onto wartime flying in C-54s, C-87s, and Lockheed Lodestars, and finally at Matson Navigation's short-lived upstart airline and various post-World War II "nonscheduled" airlines in Douglas DC-4s.

On its publication, in reviewing the book, Martin Caidin wrote that his reminiscences "stand excitingly as individual chapter-stories, but the author has woven them superbly into a lifetime of flight."[1] Roger Bilstein, in a history of flight, says that of books that discuss airline operations from the pilot's point of view, "few works of this genre equal E. K. Gann's 'Fate is the Hunter,' which strikingly evokes the atmosphere of air transport flying during the 1930s."[2]

The plot of the 1964 film Fate is the Hunter had no relation to the book. Gann had written some early drafts of the script, but was so unhappy with the final result that he asked to have his name removed from it. In his autobiography, A Hostage to Fortune, Gann wrote, "They obliged and as a result I deprived myself of the TV residuals, a medium in which the film played interminably."[3]

The plot of the fictional book, The High and the Mighty, (written by Gann) bears some resemblance to one of the true stories in Fate is the Hunter. On a flight from Hawaii to San Francisco a mysterious vibration puzzled the flight crew during the entire trip. The vibration was later traced to a malfunction that would have likely caused the aircraft to crash had they not inadvertently maintained a higher-than-normal airspeed throughout the flight. Another fictional book by Gann, Island in the Sky, is also based on a true story told in Fate is the Hunter.



  1. ^ Caidin, Martin. "Lady Luck Is Co-Pilot," The New York Times, February 12, 1961, p. BR10.
  2. ^ Bilstein 2001, p. 378.
  3. ^ Gann 1978, p. 457.


  • Bilstein, Roger E. Flight in America. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8018-6685-5.
  • Gann, Ernest K. A Hostage to Fortune: An Autobiography. Dayton, Ohio: B.D. King Press, 1978. ISBN 978-0-97168-712-7.