From Publishers Weekly
The McKissacks (Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters) add to their distinguished explorations of African American history with a well-researched, informative look at the only all-black flying unit to serve in WWII. Established in 1941, the pilot-training program at Tuskegee, Ala., had been designed as an "experiment," without full military support to ensure its success and with many officers predicting utter failure. Despite segregated facilities at the base, hostile reactions from the locals and other demoralizing conditions, the aviators trained at Tuskegee went on to fly hundreds of missions over North Africa and Europe. They were known as Red Tails for the designs on their planes; they earned the nickname Red-Tail Angels with their reputation for staying with the bomber planes they escorted. The pilots of the 332nd division, the McKissacks point out, never lost a bomber-a record unmatched by any other group in the Army Air Force. As the McKissacks outline the history of the squadron, they also tell the larger story of racial tension and bigotry in the U.S. Numerous photos, from both military archives and individual fliers, depict the pilots and their deeds. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-The prolific McKissacks have collaborated once again to produce yet another well-crafted, thoroughly researched account of a little-known facet of African American history. Red-Tail Angels is much more than just the story of the black "Tuskegee Airmen" who served with distinction in segregated squadrons and bombardment and fighter groups under white commanding officers during the Second World War. The authors also present necessary background information that delineates the black experience in the military from the Revolutionary War through World War I. Readers learn that, "Despite their performance and character, black soldiers were not accepted by the military or by the civilian communities to which they returned." The narrative continues with historical information about flight in the U.S., women and blacks in aviation, and West Point cadets who faced tremendous odds in their struggle to become commissioned officers in the army. The rest of the coverage moves year-by-year from 1940-1945 with an epilogue for the years 1946-1948. It was, conclude the authors, the Tuskegee Airmen and their predecessors who helped create more "open doors" for the black airmen and airwomen of today and the future. This attractive book has a wonderful collection of seldom-seen historical photos and an extensive bibliography of secondary and primary sources (interviews). A lively, compelling addition to any collection.?David A. Lindsey, Lakewood High and Middle School Libraries, WA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.