Wars have not always been fought with computer graphics, smart bombs, and roving automatons. Back in the early days of aviation, battles were pitched man-to-man in the European skies. Dashing biplane pilots swooped upon one another, Gatling guns rattling. These aerial dogfights lasted well through the afternoon as the entrenched troops below cheered. The savage and thrilling encounters usually ended with one or more antagonists crashing burning to the earth. In 1918 a working-class German fighter pilot offends his squadron’s aristocratic fliers by winning The Blue Max (1966), a medal awarded for sixteen airborne kills. The young ace also wins the affection of his general’s wife, a prize that lands him in one last do-or-die flight.