Some people are born lucky. Others make their own luck. As a boy, Hank wanted nothing more than to fly like the fighter pilots he admires in the skies over Amsterdam. When the lives of Dutch citizens are turned upside down with the Nazi occupation of Holland, his dreams will have to wait as he witnesses the tragic unfolding of events affecting those around him before finding himself in a fight for his own life. He must go into hiding before his 16th birthday, despite the fact that he is not Jewish.
After the war, his life takes another unexpected turn when he is enlisted by his father in the American army in Germany, where his inability to speak English results in hilarious missteps at every turn. He can roll with the punches if the army will teach him to fly, but when he learns that pilot training stopped with the end of the war, it seems he’ll never reach his goal.
Undaunted, Private Hank evolves into a suave and popular soldier. He learns what it means to be American, arriving in America broke but determined to pursue his lofty goals in a manner only this quirky and very lucky Dutch American would even think of trying, flying by the seat of his pants to some of the highest levels of aviation.