The Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged a Secret War Against Japan

Sam Kleiner. Viking, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-56413-0
This is a well-told amalgamation of the best stories about the American Volunteer Group (AVG), pilots who flew combat missions against the Japanese as contracted civilians under the authority of the Chinese government during World War II. In 1937, Col. Claire L. Chennault is recruited away from an unsatisfying Army career by Mayling Soong, the wife of Chinese political leader Chiang Kai-shek, to consult on the development of the Chinese Air Force. When the Second Sino-Japanese war breaks out in 1937, he recruits other talented American pilots, such as David Lee “Tex” Hill and Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, to fight for the Chinese. Thus they’re all in place to take on the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and their victories give hope to the Allies. Though it’s a stretch to claim this story is “untold,” given the profusion of other books and a John Wayne movie about the Flying Tigers, this account is informative, action-packed, and easy to read. It is a good introduction to the subject for readers not familiar with the Flying Tigers story, but those who already know their aviation history won’t find anything new here. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/02/2018
Release date: 05/15/2018
Ebook - 978-0-399-56414-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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