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Baa Baa Black Sheep

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,875 ratings  ·  92 reviews
The World War II air war in the Pacific needed tough men like Colonel Pappy Boyington and his Black Sheep Squadron. The legendary Marine Corps officer and his bunch of misfits, outcasts, and daredevils gave new definition to "hell-raising" - on the ground and in the skies.

Pappy himself was a living legend - he personally shot down 28 Japanese planes, and won the Congressio

Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 1st 1977 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1958)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  2,875 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've been told the TV show Baa, Baa Black Sheep was not very good. I don't know. When it was on, I was too busy enjoying it to notice.

I think that may be the case here - one thing I can say for sure is that the book was not ghost written. God bless him, but the man was not a gifted writer. He was a gifted flyer and fighter. The book is probably not "good," but I enjoyed it too much to notice.

And if you want to round out your vision of the myth with some facts, this book will help you. Flyers wer
Eric Birk
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book didn’t grab me because of the writing ability of Gregory Boyington, but I was hooked from page one. There is no phony about this man and it is no wonder that he was a born leader. He pulls no punches and tells everything the way that he sees it. His personal accounts of the war and his opinions of the people he encountered there were mesmerizing. I read it as a boy in 1977 and he was instantly one of my heroes. His front page quote has stuck with me to this day, “Just name any hero… an ...more
Ryan Reece
Oct 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic tale from real person about war in the pacific--without the whitewash. Some embellishments maybe, who knows? I wasn't there but this book made me feel that i was. This book cannot be rated like other books, simply as a "good read" or whatever. More than that, this is one man's insight, raw and unedited, into the life of a true modern day hero. This book proves, like Pappy says and so admits about himself that all heroes are bums in some respect at least. Pappy was an alcoholic, who c ...more
Jenny T
Jun 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm not normally a major reader of war memoirs, but Greg "Pappy" Boyington's story of his experiences as a fighter pilot during WWII (including commanding the famous Black Sheep Squadron) and his time spent in a Japanese POW camp was a fascinating read. Blunt, honest, and witty, with self-deprecating humor and understated heroics aplenty, this autobio left me with stars in my eyes, muttering "What a guy" in amazement at both his nerve (the man was a self-confessed troublemaker) and his bravery.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, but not for all the same reasons I love many other WWII memoirs. It has its fair share of history, of course, and in this case it helps that Boyington's experience includes his time with the Flying Tigers in Burma as well as his contributions to the Pacific island-hopping campaigns. But what makes this book really unique is Boyington's voice. He paints a very vivid and highly personal picture of life at war--both with the Japanese and with some of his own incompetent military l ...more
Josh Voss
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly good. Despite Boyingtons reputation for padding the truth a little, my initial hesitations were won over by the honest and down to earth tone of his writing. The number of times he makes fun of himself outnumber the times he brags.
I enjoyed taking a look back in time into the minds of the fighting citizen soldiers at that time, learning about air warfare in the Pacific, and seeing the strange contradictions of life as a prisoner under the Japanese.
Jun 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: WWII, Aviation
Shelves: alreadyread
"Show me a hero, and I'll prove he's a bum." -Greg Boyington

This book's is about the author's experiences as a WWII pilot in the Pacific. It is mostly a linear rant, but nonetheless very interesting. He meets many colorful characters and sees many strange things in China and the Solomon islands. He has some interesting insights into war and the human condition. He also talks a fair amount about the planes and missions he flew, but never deteriorates into geek-speak.

As commander of the Black She
Mar 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an impulse buy. I saw the new Medal of Honor memorial at UW, which includes Boyington, and on my way past Magus Books saw the book in their window (along with several others that I bought).

I watched the TV show "Baa Baa Black Sheep" as a kid and went through a phase where I read a lot about military aircraft. At age 9, I probably could rattle off the technical details of every WWII military plane, or close to it - American, Japanese, British, German, Italian. My favorite was the Vought
Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My whole prior knowledge of "Pappy" Boyington was derived from the old TV show so I wanted to get the full story by reading the book that the show was based on. It was an ok read even though he is tough to follow at times since his narrative is much like a stream of semi-random thoughts and stories, especially early on. I learned a few things - he was a five-time combat ace, he was a hidden POW (what the Japanese termed a "captive" and therefore not subject to Geneva Convention rules concerning ...more
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great story of the Flying Tigers & VMF-214, flying the great Chance-Vought Corsair. Plus a spiritual journey through a difficult life. ...more
Paul Moore
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story of courageous and troubled man.

Pappy Boyington tells a great story about his flying in the Flying Tigers in China and Marine Corps in the Solomon Islands. Because of his alcoholism he is a humble and broken man. Not what you expect from the leader of "the black sheep" and the most successful marine pilot in the history of the Corps (in terms of aerial kills). He provides a very honest assessment of his flying days in combat, his 20 months in a brutal Japanese POW camp and his s
Todd Buegler
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I feel a little embarrassed saying this, but I really enjoyed this book. For a couple of reasons:

1. I enjoyed watching the TV show when I was growing up. It was not any Emmy award winner...not by a long shot. But it was a lot of fun for someone who was probably a pre-adolescent at the time. So this book is a bit of a flashback for me.

2. I enjoy the history. I knew very little about the "Flying Tigers" era. So though it wasn't exactly comprehensive, I appreciated the opportunity to read more abo
Anthony Di Bona
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this an enjoyable enough read. It seemed to leave out details or, more accurately, assumed that the reader could figure out what went on in some of the flying passages. He had a more or less honest tone about his past and actions especially when it came to his alcoholism and the problems it produced. The time spent in the prison camps held my attention the best. It was surprising to learn about the way they were treated by the guards and civilians.
On the whole, worth a read if you want
Todd Kehoe
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A solid memoir of an American pilot through WWII in the Pacific Theatre. Starting out as a Marine pilot to becoming a Flying Tiger pilot in China as one of the mercenary AVG squadron then as the leader of the Marine 214 fighter group squadrons sky The Black Sheep Squadron to being shot down in early 1944 to becoming a Prisoner of War being held by his Japanese captors until the end & afterwards.

It’s more of a personal story of “Pappy” Boyington & how he went through the war as it evolved. It is
Nishi Giefer
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The autobiography of the creator of the Black Sheep Squadron as told by the only man in the Pacific Theater who could round up renegade pilots who had been kicked out of other squads and band them together into a deadly and cohesive lot. After flying with Chennault's Flying Tigers and then becoming the most successful fighter pilot in US history, "Pappy" was shot down and spent time in the same prison camp as Louis Zamperini. Underlying his life story was his battle with the bottle. Unfortunatel ...more
Robert M. Roth MD
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is an autobiography about the author’s time flying with the Flying Tigers and later with a Marine squadron in the South Pacific, where he is shot down and subsequently becomes a POW held in captivity. Mr. Boyington addresses his underlying alcoholism towards the last quarter of the book in a straight forward manner. I found his story to be interesting but a bit disjointed in several places and I couldn’t understand the point he was making. All in all it was definitely an interes
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, nonfiction
I grew up watching the show and discovered by accident that there was a book. If you choose to read this for the writing, you’ll be disappointed. As he was ranked at the time in combat, Major Greg “Pappy” Boyington tells his story like he sees it, no more, no less. He admits his faults, praises those who deserve it, but he makes one thing very clear in this book: he’s a Marine, not a writer. And in this case, that’s just fine, because it’s all about the history.
This country could actually use
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An honest tale of a mans journey.......

I have been a fan of the TV show "Baa Baa Black Sheep" since it first appeared back in 1976, I believe. I found this book more than riveting, opening up the man, Greg "Pappy" Boyington, in a way the show that I loved never did. Every twist & turn his life took made him the man he was. He gives an insight into many situations that I doubt I would have otherwise gleaned. I am so happy I decided to read this, I recommend it highly.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was a fan of the TV show back in the 70's (early 80's?). This book describes some of the times captured in the 2-season series, but coverers much more. Boyington spent 1-1/2 years as a POW from Jan 3, 1944, through the end of the war. This along with his (in my mind) enlightened view of the Japanese people are fascinating to witness in this book. Likewise, Boyington's own descriptions of his emotional immaturity and alcoholism are similarly refreshing in the frank way he describes them.
Tim Ganotis
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was great. A very matter-of-fact autobiography from a WWII ace. The narrative gets a bit off track with various tangents and unrelated stories, but very interesting and easy to read. Certainly not as preachy as other similar books have been (in fact the author was in the same Japanese prison camp as another author that I found to be particularly preachy).
Charles Huss
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought it was a very interesting read. The only thing I didn't like is that he spent too much time talking about his alcohol related problems. It is great that he is honest about it and I think it is important that he talks about it in the book but personally, I was more interested in reading about his war stories.
Ian Holmqvist
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good book! I think the only thing that I didn't really like was that Pappy didn't really know that much about writing books, but it was such a good book that doesn't matter. I was really sad when I finished it. Would recommend this book to almost anyone!
Betty Briggs
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good read

I loved watching the show Baa Baa BLACK Sheep and wanted to read Pappy's book. I'm happy I did. I am happy Greg wad able to overcome his drinking problem and hee found peace in his life at last¡
Jeff Nelson
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Exciting and often hilarious aviation/WW2 adventure story, followed by Boyington's gradual redemption in his personal life, which was surprisingly insightful. Highly recommended.
bonnie kirchner
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bas Bas Black Sheep

I really wanted to read this book because I always want h the show Black Sheep Squadron. I wanted to see if the show followed the book. It did a little . The book was very interesting. I would recommend this book.
John P Gildernew
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Reads like a conversation with Pappy, with all the thoughts and digressions that come and go during it. Readable, really enjoyable.
Scott Umphrey
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book. Signed by the author.
Sebastien Vitoux
A man with his devils

I have in my memory the picture of Robert Conrad from the serie. In fact Boyington was more than a tv hero. Very interesting please read it
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
Picked this up out of curiosity. Interesting
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Gregory "Pappy" Boyington was the U.S. Marine Corps' top scoring fighter ace during the Second World War, scoring 28 victories in aerial combat.

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“Show me a hero and I'll show you a bum.” 9 likes
“But more than that, they give nobody else credit for knowing how to laugh, or even how to make up his own mind about his own things when these things happen to be bad. Those starved, ragged kids back in camp had more individuality than that. And because they had it, they are what Americans are supposed to be, and they are what I like to think REAL Americans still are: people who, through the years, were able to take it on the lam, laugh about it, then take it again—but always going forward on their own individual guts.” 1 likes
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