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Red Tails, Black Wings: The Men of America's Black Air Force Paperback – March 24, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Yucca Tree Press; Revised edition (March 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1881325431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1881325437
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,250,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Baseball aficionados know John B. Holway as author of books about the Negro Leagues that rescued from obscurity many of the great black players who could not play in the segregated ranks of major league baseball. Here, Holway sets his sights on another group of heroes: the men of the "Tuskegee experiment"--the effort to train black pilots during World War II. Many white officers believed the experiment would be a failure because blacks did not have the skills necessary to become pilots. But the Tuskegee Airmen proved them wrong, and black pilots--in particular those of the 332nd Squadron (the Red Tails of the title)--established stellar records in combat. Holway quotes copiously from his interviews with black airmen, and the result is a stunning record of the heroism of black men in all but impossible circumstances. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this history of black aviation in America from 1911 to the Vietnam War, though concentrating on World War II and the Tuskegee airmen, Holway (Josh and Satch, Carroll & Graf, 1992) interviewed members of the 99th Fighter Squadron. They tell their stories of what they endured to become military pilots. The Red Tails, as the 99th was known, painted the tails of their planes red so that anyone who saw them would know who they were. Because the 99th never lost a bomber they were escorting to enemy aircraft, bomber crews who saw the Red Tails knew they had a good chance of getting home. Although the record of the 99th was outstanding, it was hidden by the prejudice of the time. Told from the point of view of one Tuskegee airman, Charles W. Dryden's A-Train (LJ 1/97) is a more interesting story, though Holway's work as a collective biography is an important addition to any African American history and/or military studies collection.?Terry L. Wirick, Erie Cty. Lib. System, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lyle Holmen on March 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
In "Red Tails Black Wings," John B Holway details the development and service of the first group of black aviators who eventually made up the 332nd fighter group. This distinguished group of flyers fought with the 15th Air Force in North Africa and Italy during World War II. During their service they destroyed 409 aircraft and earned a Presidential Unit Citation. The 332nd took most pride in the fact that they never lost a bomber they escorted to enemy fighters. What makes the history of the 332nd so interesting is that throughout their development and deployment they were opposed by those who felt that blacks were incapable of the high skill level, courage and discipline required to be fighter pilots. Red Tails Black Wings is an excellent book about two battles, the battle against racism and the battle against Fascism.
This book is a history of the first black aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps. There have been several books written on the Tuskegee airmen prior to this one, as well as autobiographies of the aviators that cover this era. John Holway draws on these secondary sources and personal interviews to bring a unique perspective to these pioneers of black aviation. His extensive use of oral history really brings to life all aspects of this exciting time. The secondary sources provide the background and facts of this time, while the personal stories of the men who lived it bring it to life. These personal stories told by the men who were involved, shed light on all aspects of the development, training and combat of the Tuskegee Airmen. In addition they give the reader insight into segregation, prejudice and other difficulties the flyers had to be overcome.
These oral histories provide a colorful first person account into the every day lives of these fine pilots.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on February 17, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really got to me. Full of first person quotes, you can really hear the pilots talking to you. I enjoyed their humor, felt pain when they lost fellow pilots and anger on how they were treated by fellow Americans. Yet it is full of hope, with 'white' officers who treated them with fairness and Europeans who also treated them as heros. They helped us take one more step towards what the ideal America should be and one day may be.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Drummy on April 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I found this book an experience to read. As an aviation enthusiast living in the Uk I found what the airmen had to put up with disgusting. Their record speaks for itself especially no bombers lost. In war everyone starts on a level playing field but sadly in these cases its different. The author lets the achievements speak for themselves and they do, sadly the individual awards are lacking. An excellent read on a topic that should enspire rather than shame. The Black Airmen rise above the predjudice and print their own chapter in aviation history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Tate on April 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has a special place in my life.my cousin Clarence "Lucky"Lester was a Red Tail pilot.and that is him on the cover of this book.his Plane was named "Miss Pelt" even though I never met him and I am also A pilot.I admire the men who flew and died to make this a better world.
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