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The Last Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Final Combat Mission of World War II Hardcover – July 31, 2017
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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About the Author
Captain (Retired) Jerry Yellin is an Army Air Corps veteran who served in WWII between 1941 and 1945. Yellin enlisted two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on his 18th Birthday. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P- 47 and P-51 combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron. He participated in the first land based fighter mission over Japan on April 7, 1945, and also has the unique distinction of having flown the final combat mission of World War II on August 14, 1945 – the day the war ended. On that mission, his wing-man (Phillip Schlamberg) was the last man killed in a combat mission in WWII. After the war ended, Jerry struggled with severe undiagnosed PTSD. He always wondered why he survived, while so many of his comrades died during the war.
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That being said, why did they, the publishers(?) choose a photo of a P-5l B/C in European theater markings, when the book is about P-51 D's in natural metal that flew from Iwo Jima in l944-45. I'm sure there are numerous excellent photos of those fighters that could have been used for the cover dust jacket of this book and would have enhanced the focus of the story.
There are numerous mistakes in the text; The fighters were not painted "battle grey" but left natural metal except for black bands for ID from enemy aircraft, specifically the Ki 61 Tony, that resembled the P-51 D, and they also were painted with unit markings.
Typographical errors are too numerous to cite all, but one of the most glaring is the spelling of "ordinance" with an i, it is spelled ordnance. Also, the author fluctuates between the pilots using the yoke or stick to control the aircraft. The P-51 had a control stick, not a yoke like the British fighters, most notably, the Spitfire and Hurricane.
And last, the over-use of historical references, apparently to set a tone about the Japanese. These might be of interest to new readers without any background in the history of the far east and the Japanese before and during the war, but they come across as somewhat boring and seem to be filler, to make the book a book.