Michigan and the Great Lakes

Lost Eagles

One Man's Mission to Find Missing Airmen in Two World Wars
Blaine Pardoe
The first biography of the man who created the way we look for airmen downed in combat behind enemy lines


Few people have ever heard of Frederick Zinn, yet even today airmen's families are touched by this man and the work he performed in both world wars. Zinn created the techniques still in use to determine the final fate of airmen missing in action. The last line of the Air Force Creed reads, "We will leave no airman behind." Zinn made that promise possible.

Blaine Pardoe weaves together the complex story of a man who brought peace and closure to countless families who lost airmen during both world wars. His lasting contribution to warfare was a combination of his methodology for locating the remains of missing pilots (known as the Zinn system) and his innovation of imprinting all aircraft parts with the same serial number so that if a wreck was located, the crewman could be identified. The tradition he established for seeking and recovering airmen is carried on to this day.

Praise for Lost Eagles

"The pilot and observer stories selected have not previously seen much exposure. Not only are they interesting, but I found myself relishing getting to the next chapter to find out what Frederick Zinn was doing during the next stage of his life."
—Alan Roesler, founding member, League of World War I Aviation Historians, and former Managing Editor, Over the Front

Praise for Blaine Pardoe's previous military histories (which average 4.5-star customer reviews on Amazon.com):

Terror of the Autumn Skies: The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I

"This painstaking biography of World War I ace Frank Luke will earn Pardoe kudos . . . Pardoe has flown a very straight course in researching and recounting Luke's myth-ridden life. . . . Thorough annotation makes the book that much more valuable to WWI aviation scholars as well as for more casual air-combat buffs."

The Cruise of the Sea Eagle: The Amazing True Story of Imperial Germany's Gentleman Pirate

"This is a gem of a story, well told, and nicely laid out with photos, maps, and charts that cleverly illuminate the lost era of ‘gentlemen pirates' at sea . . . [German commerce raider Felix von Luckner's] legend lives on in this lively and readable biography."
—Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Navy, Naval History

Jacket photo: Frederick Zinn's Sopwith aircraft, which crashed during World War I. National Museum of the United States Air Force Archives.

Jacket design: Heidi Hobde Dailey

Blaine Pardoe is an accomplished author who has published dozens of military fiction novels and other books, including the widely acclaimed Cubicle Warfare: Self-Defense Tactics for Today's Hypercompetitive Workplace; Terror of the Autumn Skies: The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I; and The Cruise of the Sea Eagle: The Amazing True Story of Imperial Germany's Gentleman Pirate.

Praise / Awards

  • "This excellent, fitting memorial provides a moving tribute and well-deserved recognition to an overlooked heroic figure." 
    Lansing State Journal
  • "Blaine Pardoe performs a great service with his new book, Lost Eagles: One Man’s Mission to Find Missing Airmen in Two World Wars. ... Very Highly Recommended."
    Western Front Association

  • Historical Society of Michigan 2011 State History Award

Look Inside

Copyright © 2011, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Gift guide to books by Michigan authors; Mlive.com 12/13/10

Read: A2 Ann Arbor Journal 12/13/10

Read: Review | Battle Creek Enquirer | 12/27/10

Read: Review | Military Writers Society of America | 1/5/11

Read: Review | Culpepper Star Exponent | 1/10/11

Read: Culpepper Star Exponent | 1/13/11  

Listen: Interview | History Czar | 12/2/11

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 264pp.
  • 19 B&W photographs.
See Sales Restrictions

Sales Restrictions

Our edition is available in Canada, United States


  • Hardcover
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11752-9

Add to Cart
  • $32.50 U.S.

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