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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Jack Hardigan's Hellcat fighter squadron blew the Japanese Zekes out of the blazing Pacific skies. But a more subtle kind of hell was brewing in his feelings for rookie pilot Fred Trusteau. As another wingman watches - and waits for the beautiful woman who loves Jack - Hardigan and Trusteau cut a fiery swath through the skies from Wake Island to Tarawa to Truk, there to ke ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 408 pages
Published November 28th 1979 by Avon Books (first published 1979)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  237 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m-military, wwii
Written in 1979, this novel stands alone in the m/m genre. Written before such low expectations have become the norm, "Wingmen" soars above 99% of what is out there today. I'd give it 10 stars if I could. By contrast, it shows how far writing has sunk from the days when books were actually edited and screened before being published. This can hold its own with the best of Naval Air Battle books.

"Wingmen" is not a true m/m romance by today's standards. It is mostly a WWII story taking place in the
Marc | Rainbow Gold Reviews
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars for the audiobook version of this book.

I haven't read all that many historical fiction books, but the ones I tried were really good and this one is no exception. I was provided a review code for this audiobook and listened to it, while I was working on folding 17,000 letters. It's the kind of work you don't need to concentrate on and it would have been very boring, were it not for this book.

It quickly sucked me into another time and I found the story of the main character quite fascin
Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~
3.5 stars

First thing's first: this is NOT a romance, so anyone reading this as a romance is going to be very disappointed. This is a war story with some romantic elements, but those elements make up a very small percentage of page time. Really, it's more a story of a squadron of pilots, focusing on three of the men, two of whom just happen to be gay and start a relationship with each other, but for the most part that relationship is between the lines.

HOWEVER, all that said, I still really enjoy
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
OMG, this book was great! Just awesome! I loved every page of it and I suffered with Jack and Fred. The precious moments between them were so sweet, so touching.
I also loved the history in this book and the detailed description of the maneuvers, it was exciting and it reminded me of the cruelty of this horrible war. I also felt sad and in the end I cried for both of them, my feelings were mixed.
This book is unique!
Chelsea Bridge
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Now and then, among the run-of- the-mill potboilers and bodice rippers in the local used bookstore, you come across one so exceptional you wonder why it wasn’t released as serious literary fiction.
Ensan Case’s “Wingmen” is that kind of book.
Full disclosure, I had an email exchange with Mr. Case a few years ago, mostly regarding our shared military background; he was very gracious. Aside from that, I have no personal or professional/financial interest, other than to see a damn good writer get his
Literatures Movies
Aug 10, 2018 marked it as ahh-how-about-no  ·  review of another edition

Nothing wrong with it.

Just realized that I can't do with just "It's romance, but not really" type of book.

I need my good dose of romance, and this book just doesn't have it.
Fenriz Angelo
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Re-read on 2019: I'm glad i revisited this book this weekend, it was the kind of book i needed to just get by. I was glued to the pages as if it were the first time i read it, wanting so bad to know what happens next. God...wish i had the three editions in paperback.

Original review sums up what i like about the story.

(view spoiler)

Original review (June 2017): Oh man this book is something else, I regret no reading it right
Elisa Rolle
If you consider the time this novel first was out, 1979, and the period it refers to, II World War, Wingmen is a daring novel since it “allows” to its heroes an happily for now ending, something that was seldom read at the time. Novels with gay themes had sometime made their appearance in the past, but most often than not, the heroes were not allowed to be able to enjoy their love. Even in most notorious novels like Gaywick, another release from Avon Books of the ‘70s, the happily ever after was ...more
Gerry Burnie
Gerry B's Book Reviews -

You may have noticed I have a passion for WWII-vintage stories, and have reviewed several in the past. I like the era in general. It was a time when the free-world was drawn together by a war in two theatres, and men bonded together as warrior brothers—and sometimes more. Wingmen by Ensan Case (a pseudonym) [Cheyenne Publishing, 2012] captures the latter phenomenon with remarkable clarity and credibility. It is, in fact, one of the best war s
I was (very) pleasantly surprised by Wingmen. From the cover and the summary, I was afraid I was wading into schlocky romance territory, but the story had a lot of depth and I couldn't put it down. I like a good slow burn, and Fred and Jack's relationship does take a while to build, but I was quickly hooked and soaking up every delicious detail and scene along the way. The novel was just so very believable - the relationship and the setting, in particular. It's loaded with jargon, but luckily th ...more
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
A year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Ensign Frederick Trusteau, a naval aviator in the US Navy, finds himself transferred into a new outfit, the F20 fighter pilots in Honolulu. Trusteau (Trusty) quickly earns a reputation as a lady’s man with the other pilots, which couldn’t be further from the truth. He is confused about sexual matters, and dates women because that is what is expected of him, not out of desire. But the one sexual thing that becomes clear to Trusteau is that he gets aroused ...more
Amanda Clay
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I won't lie, the entire time I read this tale of love and war and the men who fly the fightin' Hellcats from the decks of the mighty carriers, I kept imagining square-jawed Montgomery Clift as hotshot young Fred 'Trusty' Trusteau, and the awesome ass of Burt Lancaster filling out the uniform of his CO and reluctant love, Jack Hardigan. (I'm also pretty sure that if Monty ever read this, he imagined that too).

This is a slow-burner written with the level of detail that can only be achieved by som
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A well written book filled with laugther, hope and friendship! The story brings you into each line and makes you feel the moment. One is able to truly visualize the fight scenes, the anguish of longing for someone from a distance and the horror and loss of fighting in a war. I wont give away any details of the story because I truly believe this book MUST be read from beginning to end over and over again!
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I first read this unforgettable novel at the time of its first publication. I could not believe how well written it was; it still is some 3-decades plus. The novel would translate to a great motion picture. My colleague, John Steven Lasher, former record-label executive, has composed [he is a conservatory-trained musician] a stirring score, which is based on chapters in the book. It's worth a listen on either Tumblr or YouTube.

Purchase the book; you won't be disappointed.
I began reading Wingmen by Ensan Case on a Saturday afternoon and couldn't put it down until I finished it late the following day. It's that good!

The love story between Lt. Commander Jack Hardigan, USN and Ensign Frederick "Trusty" Trusteau begins in 1943 toward the end of the Pacific conflict during World War II, after Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway. The Navy is in the midst of reorganizing the fleet and reconfiguring their strategy against the Japanese. Experienced naval combat aviator
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely super book, fantastic romance, realistic scenes, great characters. It's the kind of book that lives on in your head after and makes you decide to read more about the Pacific Theatre in WW2. I learnt history from this book.

Writing-wise, some of the "Fred thoughts..." were a bit clunky, but the style definitely improved as it went on. I loved Jack and Fred, and enjoyed reading Higgins, who was quite an enigma himself (possibly secretly in love with Jack himself?). The setting in Pearl H
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, history, military, romance
Okay, I've been trying to think of a coherent review for about three months and I'm still at a loss for words. It's simply one of the sweetest most amazing love stories I've ever read.

But it's also so much more than a love story. It's a book about war. The fight over the Pacific plays a great role here. It's an essential part of the story, not just a convenient background. In some way it is the story.

It's also a book about professionalism. Both Jack and Fred (and all the other members of Fight
Ms. Latham
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A year later: As I am wont to do with novels whose stories I mentally revisit often, I am adding another star to my original rating. A number of gay romance novels later and the poignant Wingmen has remained with me.


The backdrop of war here is a greater point of focus than I thought it would be. There were pages of the novel I, in reading, found myself becoming overwhelmed with all of the technical description of the pilots in their aircraft, though I do think that's what an aerial wartime nove
Julia Pogodina
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That is actually a copy-paste of my comment from Ensane Case's site, but anyway.

I finished reading your book yesterday and now I am having a massive book-hangover.

That was so good, god, I have never thought that I would be so, So involved into the book such a specific topic (I am talking about war planes and fights in the air), but I simply couldn't put this book down! I read it in two days, and that was amazing! Unforgettable experience. The author is a master of hooking the reader with this o
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This illustration is from the original edition of this book. Thank goodness it has now been reprinted and was available from Cheyenne Publishing before that firm closed. I read it on the recommendation of a gay uncle, and haven't regretted it.

Set in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War, the two principle characters are pilots aboard an aircraft carrier. Their love for one another develops, and is consummated during an R&R leave.

Read this book not for the steamy sex scenes because th
Aleardo Zanghellini
What a great novel. It can get a bit technical with the air force terminology, and those passages did go over my head a little, but they add authenticity to the story. The way in which the interactions between the main characters are rendered is very satisfying. I didn’t get blown away by the romance, but that’s just as it should be - it’s all in keeping with the regimented military setting, where you can’t let emotions (or at any rate same-sex romance!) run wild. The ending is not tragic, but s ...more
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Yes. Another really good book about gay men at war (I just read The Open Arms of the Sea). Deeply felt, beautifully described, completely convincing.
A Classic Gay Romance? Yes, it's very romantic, but the actual romancing mostly happens offstage, as well as the HEA, so I was a bit frustrated; all those trials and tribulations without many consolations for the reader. Granted, this was written in the seventies, but still...
Nevertheless, if this is your kind of thing, Do Not Miss this book.
Dreadful Bard
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a beautiful book. You definitely have to earn the few stolen moments of romance by slogging through some pretty technical descriptions and lots of Navy lingo, but that makes those moments all the sweeter. I also happen to love learning about military aviation, so it worked for me!

The end felt rushed and left me feeling unsatisfied and a bit depressed, but I wouldn't say that was to the book's detriment. This is one I revisit frequently.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recc'd by jessewave reviews

This is a unique book. Written with a unique voice. The writer has a unique historical perspective, not a modern writer trying to write a historical. The narrator has a worldview similar the the era written about. It is a well written, powerful experience.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
The story takes place after the Pearl Harbor attack during WWII. The aircraft carriers were just being used in the Pacific theater...the fighter pilots most of them very green are learning how to dog fight and all that. It is very much a book about the military. It does get very technical, not a romantic read at all.
scavola scavola
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent historical fiction with gay charecters. That being said, while the heterosexual content is "in your face", the homosexual content is "fade to black", which was a bit of a let down. A little heavy on the action and the militray jargon, a little light on the descriptions and character development, but all-in-all a satisfying read.
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
it was a slow start, I wasn't super sure what to think of it. however, once it picked up, I didn't put it down until I finished it. I love the two main characters and the slow burn up until they finally hugged (yes, hugged) was excellently written. kept me enthralled until the end. brilliant read.
Box of Bees
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great relationship, good writing, good setting. Wish there was more physical description of Fred and that they had taken longer to fall in love. Also don't see why the M/M sex was fade-to-black but the straight sex wasn't. Ending (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Quite a good book. The story is rich, the characters are consistent, the whole ambient of the book is serious and its not too sweet.
This book is a masterpiece...
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first read this precious book many years ago, no later than my early teens, I am quite sure. The copy I read had been picked up (having been thrown away, I think), and I kept it afterwards. The first few lines stuck out to me (I still remember the words) and I could not put the book down.

I loved reading about the war and Jack and Fred's relationship, but I had at best a vague idea what it was all about - it was the first time the idea of two men's being together seriously occurred to me. Stil
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