The Crash, Captivity and Comeback of an Ace Fighter Pilot

By: Giora Romm

“Fighter pilots tell the greatest stories and the great ones tell the best stories of all…”

—PAT CONROY, bestselling author of Prince of Tides and The Great Santini


“Like Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, Solitary sits alongside the most profound reflections on the resilience and capacity of the human soul.”

—Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of The Lion’s Gate and The War of Art

"An intensely searching account of brutal captivity and resurrection...A hero's tale."

—New York Daily News

"Solitary is a memoir of his imprisonment, but it is also the story of his inner war."

—The Wall Street Journal

Giora Romm was the Israeli Air Force's first fighter ace. As a twenty-two-year-old lieutenant he shot down five MiGs during the Six Day War of 1967.

Fourteen months later over the Nile Delta, an Egyptian missile exploded beneath the tail of his Mirage IIIC. Within moments Romm found himself hanging by the straps of his parachute, with a broken arm and a leg shattered in a dozen places, looking down from 10,000 feet. Streams of farmers and field workers converged below onto the spot toward which his chute was descending, with the intention, he was certain, of hacking him to death as soon as his feet touched the earth.

No other Israeli pilot had survived capture in Egypt or in any other Arab state.

Solitary is Romm's story of his imprisonment, torture, interrogation, release, and return to service.

Solitary is not a "war book." It's not a tale of heroism, though if anyone ever qualified for that distinction, it is this story's author. Solitary is not even, in its deepest parts, about captivity or imprisonment.

Solitary is about Romm's inner war.

It's the story, in his phrase, "of a fall from a great height," not only literally but metaphorically.

Romm could not tell his captors the truth about who he was or what he had done. He had to invent an entire fictional biography and keep it straight in his head through months of beatings and interrogations, all the while being held in solitary confinement with his body sheathed from chest to toe in a plaster cast.

Solitary is not a grim book. It's full of wry humor, keen self-observations and revelations.

An ordeal such as Romm endured is a sojourn in hell, but it is also a passage. Romm fell, and he came back. Solitary is his indelible account of confronting, as few of us ever will, his own fears and limitations, and discovering, ultimately, his capacity to survive and to prevail.

—From the Introduction by Steven Pressfield