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The Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  15 reviews
How did a black child, growing up in segregationist Mississippi during the early 1900s, become the commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Corps during the brutal Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935?

In this gripping, never-before-told tale, biographer
Thomas E. Simmons brings to life Robinson's outstanding success in becoming a pilot, his expertise in building and assembling his o
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 7th 2013 by Skyhorse (first published January 1988)
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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Duane
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
As much reading, display making and teaching I've done over the years on Blacks in aviation, I've never encountered John Robinson and his incredible accomplishments. It's a straight forward telling of the story of a war that's been mostly forgotten, Italy's stomping and brutal occupation of Ethiopia in the 1930s and the incredible role that a Black aviator played in it. What makes it so intriguing is that at the time he was using his adept piloting skills to safeguard the Ras Tafari--Emperor Hai ...more
Edward Evans
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This story is amazing. I am honestly ashamed that I did not know about Robinson before I read this book. Not only is he from my hometown (Gulfport, stand up!!!), but he was also indirectly responsible for the conception of the Tuskegee Airmen. I see a lot of me in Robinson's life, which is why this book resonated with me so well. He proved black people could be pilots and did it in an extremely courageous way. Great story that isn't diminished by the mediocre writing. ...more
Judy Sainsbury
May 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a remarkable man

An extremely interesting but poignant story of the determination and courage which took a black boy from segregated Mississippi to the heights of aviation in the '20s and '30s. Johnny Robinson was a quiet, well mannered, highly intelligent young man who overcame circumstances which most of us couldnt imagine. It really made me understand why black Americans remain a repressed group. The obstacles he overcame and the lateral thinking with which he approached them were unbelie
...more
David
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Extremely interesting story of an African American who got the Ethiopian Air Corps and later, Ethiopian Airlines, up and running.

I do think the author wrote the book more as a story with biographical details (just no way some of the conversations could have been recorded or remembered in such detail), and the publisher could have used a good proofreader to avoid a few homonym mistakes. OTOH, I was reading a first edition, first printing. I still recommend it.
T. Rose
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Years ago my mother, a Gulfport teacher, sent my young son a hard cover book named The Brown Condor-The True Adventures of John C. Robinson written by Thomas E. Simmons. That book was published in 1988. This e-book has much more information and photos. I am excited to re-read the story of The Brown Condor in this format - may his story never be forgotten.
Jane Thompson
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
.ecanWWII Story

This is a good book .It tells the story of a black man who took responsibility for the Air Force of Ethopia when it was about to be in card by Italy. The sad story of the battles these people fought, without weapons or mechamisms is hard to read. The author did a lot of research h to learn about This man who was a hero of WWII.


Fredrick Danysh
John C. Robinson was one of the first black men in the United States too become a aircraft pilot, mechanic, and instructor of such. As an adult he went to Ethiopia where he established its air force and fought in the war against Italian fascism. Returning to the States after the war he trained black men and women in aviation returning to Ethiopia to command its air force.
Sue Williams
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was a fascinating story of character and strength. Would love to have met this man. Little known but should be held high in history. Cudos to Thomas Simmons for his investigative work and storytelling.
Carol S
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting portrayal of issues encountered by an African American Pilot trying to learn to fly in mid twentieth century America.
Magnus Stanke
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ethiopia
This was exactly what I needed for my research into 1930s Ethiopia.
Jeanie Loiacono
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
http://www.amazon.com/Man-Called-Brow...

The forgotten true story of American war hero John Charles Robinson, a.k.a. The Brown Condor of Ethiopia.

How did a black child, growing up in segregationist Mississippi during the early 1900s, become the commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Corps during the brutal Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935? In this gripping, never-before-told tale, biographer Thomas E. Simmons brings to life Robinson’s outstanding success in becoming a pilot, his expertise in building
...more
Carmen
Jan 17, 2013 added it
A well-researched story about a little-known legend of American flight history. John C. Robinson was instrumental in the establishment of the Tuskegee Institute, and was considered the "black Lindbergh" of his day. The obstacles he faced were tremendous, yet he confronted the challenges of racism and war with grace, conviction, and humility. This historical non-fiction book would serve to fulfill some of the common core reading requirements for secondary education quite fittingly, as it's a perf ...more
Carl Phillips
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent book! A really revealing and heartwarming story that most of us know little or nothing about! The story of how a young African-American boy in Gulfport, Mississippi endured segregation to grown up and become one of the first black airplane pilots in the 1920's. He went to Ethiopia at the request of the Emperor Haile Sallasie to build the Ethiopian Air Force to resist Mussolini's invasion. He returned after WWII and was instrumental in founding Ethiopina Airlines. ...more
Alistair
Oct 10, 2015 rated it liked it
A very interesting biography of a black man from Mississippi who learns to fly in 1928.
Eventually goes to Ethiopia in 1935 to fly for Haile Selassie during the Italian invasion.
It was a good true story, but I didn't like the 'writing style' which makes it hard to give a star rating.
For writing 2stars (not bad but....?)
For a fascinating tale that touched on so many topics 4stars.
(split the difference) 3 stars!
...more
Harry Kuniansky
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Starts off slow but builds It was good read about history I was unaware of.
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