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Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942
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Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  19 reviews
During World War II, in the skies over Rangoon, Burma, a handful of American pilots met and bloodied the "Imperial Wild Eagles" of Japan and in turn won immortality as the Flying Tigers. One of America's most famous combat forces, the Tigers were recruited to defend beleaguered China for $600 a month and a bounty of $500 for each Japanese plane they shot down—fantastic mon ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published September 1991)
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Well, it would be pretty hard to go below 4 stars on this one because I like me some fighter pilot stories. This revised edition is a fine way to spend a few hours learning about an iconic war story. My preconceived notions on the unit were set straight. First of all, they did most of their fighting in Burma, not China. That was news to me. They met the same Japanese units time and again through the year they were actively engaged in combat. I'd say they were poorly treated by the "Big Army" in ...more
For all its detail and focus on purely factual data, FLYING TIGERS is an exhilarating ride. Its clinical tone is tempered by an impressive amount of insight into the multitudes of personalities involved with the AVG--often including the Japanese perspective. It's a sprawling book, with mountains of information on every page. This could easily have been a ponderous, heavy-handed account by a detached historian; instead, Ford uses effective language to turn the individual stipples of the story int ...more
I could tell you to see the movie starring John Wayne, but then you wouldn't really know anything about the "Flying Tigers". The AVG (American Volunteer Group, fighting for the Chaings of China) now commonly known as "The Flying Tigers", had a rich history in their fight against the Japanese over Burma and Southern China. From humble beginnings, contracts signed in hotel rooms over a bottle of whiskey, along with rumors of great flying jobs with good pay, and little to no danger, a group of hero ...more
Terry Cornell
Extremely well researched book on the American Volunteer Group in China. Mr. Ford conducted research from Japanese, Chinese, and American sources. The presentation is a little dry, which is why I don't rate it with four stars. Three and half would be more accurate. Mr. Ford points out the discrepancies when comparing after battle reports of the Japanese with the AVG--and the exaggerations of both sides when claiming the number of planes destroyed during missions. You do get a glimpse of the pers ...more
Jeff Jellets

High flying history of the highest caliber.

Daniel Ford’s Flying Tigers is the high-flying history of a group of American aviators who took to the skies over southeast Asia in 1941 to challenge the seemingly unstoppable military might of the Japanese empire, which had begun its juggernaut –like march across much of Asia and the Pacific. Lured by promises of high pay and bounties by the beleaguered Chinese government, the rough-and-tumble Americans flew with guts and bravado and, though nearly alw
Paul Haspel
The Flying Tigers are still on patrol. Seventy years ago, the heroic pilots of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) provided a glimmer of hope to the people of the United States, China, and other Allied nations during the grim early days of the Second World War. They were daredevil U.S. pilots; they flew P-40 Tomahawks adorned with the twelve-pointed star of the Chinese Air Force, and decorated with a ferocious shark-mouth emblem painted on each plane’s air scoop. They guarded "the Burma Road” and ...more
A pretty objective history of Claire Chennault and the American Volunteer Group (better known as the Flying Tigers) that he & others recruited to fly for Nationalist China against Japan prior to Pearl Harbor in both China & Burma (most of the aerial combat actually happened in Burma). The author reviewed American, British, Chinese & Japanese records to try to sort out fact from myths & exaggerated claims on both sides.

Chennault was an early advocate of developing fighters to inte
My first love in History non-fiction is World War II and I enjoy nothing more than books which put the historical record straight. There is a lot of mythology to the story of the Flying Tigers, those American mercenary pilots who, as the American Volunteer Group, volunteered to fight the Japanese before it became fashionable. I always thought that the Flying Tigers fought before the attack on Pearl Harbor, that they shot down up to a thousand enemy planes and that they stopped a major drive by a ...more
Dustin Gaughran
I liked this book, but not as much as I had hoped I would starting. I wanted a more thorough knowledge of the AVG, and their leader, and I absolutely got it after reading this book. It was unbelievably well researched. But to me, that was the problem, in a way. This book read more like a text book. It was tedious more times than it wasn't, and on more occasions than was really necessary included details about things that were just completely pointless. The story of the AVG, and the personalities ...more
This excellent book by Dan Ford (author of the estimable Incident at Muc Wa) was a fine companion read to Martha Byrd's biography of Claire Lee Chennault, guiding force of the renowned Flying Tigers of World War II. Ford gives incredible detail of the daily experiences of the pilots and crews of the American Volunteer Group in China and augments it with spectacular insights gathered through in-depth research of Japanese records. The magnificent record of the Flying Tigers is thus tempered a bit ...more
This was the revised additon written 16 years after the original addition was published. A different perspective. Really details how often the Flying Tigers had to abandon airfields and move to other ones as the Japanese ground forces advanced in China. More thoroughly documents the difference between victories claimed by both sides and how many planes were really shot down. Both side's claims were optimistic.
Chennault told them, "If five of you see one Jap Zero then you are out numbered."

The only thing that those early American fighters could do well was dive.

So they would get well above Jap bombers and dive through them and their speed would take them well away from the protecting Jap fighters.
Meh. More of a unit history than any connection to the strategic importance of the unit (if there was any). Blow by blow accounts of dogfights ad nauseum to the point you feel like you're reading a grocery list.

This was a great read. Gave a well rounded picture of the group from top to bottom. It never ceases to amaze me what men were able to do with so little at the beginning of the war.
There is a political slant to which Claire Chennault would not agree. With that being said, it could have told more, but because the author picked such an amazing topic, it is still a good read.
Good history of a period and a group I've always been curious about. Kind of a dry analytical read, but gets the point across.
Aug 24, 2012 Elizabeth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
I'll be interested in this especially because my uncle served as special attaché to Claire Chennault.
Just got back from an underway so this will be short...very good book.
Alex Buchalter
this is a good book about the planes from war
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