Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Before They Were the Black Sheep: Marine Fighting Squadron VMF-214 and the Battle for the Solomon Islands Hardcover – October 9, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I highly recommend this book - not just to students of military history but to anyone who has ever sent a loved one off to an uncertain and dangerous situation.
Carl Dunbar was well-educated and particularly observant. His letters provide a clear picture of the people and places that would race through his life during the war. His interest in the plants and wildlife in each place he is stationed provides the reader a clear picture of what he was seeing. His interests in baseball, singing and his numerous friends bring the reader closer to the young man, but also provide a unique insight into the effects of the war upon him and those around him.Read more ›
Dunbar's book interweaves letters he wrote to his parents with background information and material on VMF-214's early days supplied by his son Peter. Dunbar enlisted in the USNR in September 1941, underwent pilot training at NAS Jacksonville and Miami before being assigned to VMF-214 in January 1943. He flew two combat tours with the 'Swashbucklers' before he and the other pilots were all reassigned to other USMC Corsair units, Pappy Boyington taking over the VMF-214 designation with a new batch of F4U drivers. Dunbar's final combat missions were flown with VMF-211.
Dunbar was a prolific writer and his fulsome letters home give excellent summaries of life as an aviation cadet and budding fighter pilot. The background material is quite helpful in placing Dunbar's military career in the overall war picture and explaining various passages in those letters. I would have liked more detail on VMF-214's combat exploits but that's just me.
A number of vintage b&w photographs compliment the smooth-flowing text.
In short, BEFORE THEY WERE THE BLACK SHEEP offers an informative, unvarnished look at one pilot's war in the Southwest Pacific. Hopefully, Peter Dunbar might now consider a full combat history of the 'Swashbucklers' in order to give those men their full due. Recommended.
On a phone call to my parents this morning, my dad told me that he needed to have "a word with me." I am 51 years old and that statement from my father still makes me sweat. I instinctively said out loud to him, "Oh no, what have I done now." He started to laugh and said, "You're not in trouble honey. You did a good thing and I want to make sure to tell you how much I appreciated the book 'Before They Were the Black Sheep.' Please tell Pete I said thank you for writing it. I learned so much about an important part of our country's history and I truly enjoyed reading it!"
Thank you Pete for writing this book, treasuring your father's life experiences and helping to create this moment for me with my father. Nothing makes me happier and there's no better feeling in the world than making my father smile!
This book is defiantly a great read and a great gift, and it has turned out to be a treasured experience between me and my father.
Before They Were the Black Sheep: Marine Fighting Squadron VMF-214 and the Battle for the Solomon Islands
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a young man's quest through the letters of his Father's to his Mom during the epoche of World War II. Read morePublished on August 19, 2013 by K. J. Larson
Read the book because one of the pilots now living in Billings, Mt.
Very interesting side of the aviation battle in the Pacific though letters home supplemented by interviews... Read more
Wonderful Book. There are hundreds of thousands of books written about World War II. Yet most of these books are retrospective professorial type books. Read morePublished on January 17, 2012 by Screven Watson
Lt. Dunbar's letters (written before was promoted to captain)and the narratives by Peter Dunbar that help weave the wartime historical journey of one of our very brave WW II... Read morePublished on October 25, 2011 by ross mcvoy
The first hand accounts from one of the "Greatest Generations" are priceless and the editor is to be commended for preserving these accounts in such an engaging and interesting... Read morePublished on September 8, 2011 by Kirk Zerkle