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Baa Baa Black Sheep Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1977

142 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 1, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553263501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553263503
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 101 people found the following review helpful By on March 7, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Interesting, first person narrative, from Greg Boyington himself. No ghost writer involved. Full of personal anecdotes from his time with the AVG (Flying Tigers), VMF 214 (The Black Sheep), his time as a "Special Captive" (not a POW) of the Japanese (in my opinion the most interesting part of the book), his post-war fall from grace and descent in to acute alchoholism, and finally his redemption. Nothing politically correct about this one folks. Boyington calls them as he sees them. An absorbing first person account of an amazing time in human history. Shows that the Black Sheep weren't the collection of "screwballs & misfits" portrayed in the entertaining, yet highly fictionalized 70's TV show. Also the story of a man trying to make sense of his life. I have owned this one for over 20 years, and re-read it on a regular basis. It never gets boring. A man who's days of combat were over by the age of 31, was considered the 'old man' in his squadron, hence his famous nickname. I find it amazing that a 6 week or so period of time in this man's life defined if thereafter. Well worth having in any WW II buff's collection, or simply for fans of the TV show who are interested in learning a version closer to the truth, at least the truth as seen through the eyes of the man himself.
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Pipher on March 12, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I came to this book believing that "Pappy" Boyington was a pugnacious drunken spendthrift that the Marine Corps was anxious to be rid of, and that he may not have been the leading Marine Corps ace of World War II as he was thought to be. From what I had read, Boyington spent most of his time on the ground as a member of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known as "The Flying Tigers," and was only credited with shooting down 3 ½ Japanese planes (although he claimed six). I also understood that Boyington left the AVG early and was the only man ever dishonorably discharged from that organization. In addition, I questioned his account of the final action in which he was shot down, another unseen action in which he claimed two more enemy planes.

After reading this book, however, I'm not quite so sure. In it, Boyington readily admits that he was a "drunk" and a "bum," and he allows as how he liked to wrestle a bit. As to his claim of six enemy planes while with the AVG, his explanation is easily believable. As he explains it: In order to get credit for a kill with the AVG you almost had to bring your victim back to the landing field in your teeth and drop it where everyone could see it, whereas the majority of his kills had been 75 to 100 miles away, most times behind enemy lines. In addition, and most likely with some merit, he states that the records of his actions at Rangoon were lost when that city fell to the Japanese. With regard to his being "dishonorably discharged" from the AVG, Boyington acknowledges that he left shortly before the remaining volunteers were forced/coerced into the Army Air Corps as 2nd lieutenants. But once again his explanation rings true.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Mark Rainey on May 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Pappy Boyington would not have gotten great marks for literary style or technique, but a reader delving into BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP probably wouldn't care very much. I certainly didn't. The insight into the man's life is often priceless--especially his takes on aerial combat, his experiences in the South Pacific (both before and after being shot down), and the Japanese people once the war was over. The lucid and colorful accounts of his days in the AVG as well as VMF 214 make all the superfluous sidetrips, self-deprecating ruminations, and endless proselytizing (even though he tells you time and again he's not doing that) worth the bumpy ride. There's a genuineness and immediacy about his story that would indicate that, while he may have necessarily had a heavy-handed editor, the words are basically his own. Boyington drives home the excitement and horror of his wartime experiences with great intensity, making this book a real thriller. Despite Boyington's endless flaws and rough edges (which he never ceases to remind you of), he comes across as a character to admire and to identify with--even if you often want to smack him a good one. Definitely recommended.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By TED B. on October 25, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a strange book with a misleading title. It is more an autobiography than a narration about the Black Sheep squadron. However, I rate it five stars because it delivers what I was looking for, an excellent narration of Boyington's internment in a Japanese internment camp.
Reading the book, it appears Boyington wrote it himself without the help of a ghost writer or editor, and it shows. It rambles at times, meditates, confuses, dwells on his drinking problems... But overall, Boyington delivers the goods: (1) a pre-war background; (2) his work in China; (3) the Black Sheep aviators; (4) his being shot down by the Japanese; (5) his internment; and (6) after the war.
Boyington, the author, treats us to the use of "tough guy" 1940-1945 words and expressions, which is refreshing, and he goes into detail on some events which could have been left out but which, nevertheless, are very interesting (traveling as a missionary, adventures ashore, etc.) and give the book a special touch.
His capture by the Japanese was what I was after, and I was well satisfied. Boyington goes into great detail and, by his method of writing, makes the reader feel you could actually see him sitting there begging sake from the Japanese guards while he worked in the kitchen preparing for one of their celebrations.
A nice book, better written by Boyington than by a ghost writer. It captures the essence of the moment.
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