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Tuskegee Airmen (Hardback)

Dogfighting with the Luftwaffe and Jim Crow

Aviation > WWII WWII World History > The Americas > USA

By Samuel de Korte
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 70 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399043816
Published: 14th February 2024


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During the Second World War, the Tuskegee Airmen had not one but two enemies to overcome: the German Luftwaffe and Jim Crow. In this book, the inspiring history of these men is recounted detailing the struggles the men faced at home and abroad.

The Tuskegee Airmen were black American pilots who served in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War. However, before earning their wings, these men and women needed to prove themselves to their white countrymen. After all, the racism prevalent at the time meant that black Americans were deemed unsuitable for the demands of modern war.

After completing their training and conducting their first combat missions, the real enemy was waiting for them: the Luftwaffe. As a result of their role escorting the bombers, as well as their bright red tails, the Tuskegee Airmen of 332nd Fighter Group earned the nickname the ‘Red Tails’. The units served with distinction in several fierce engagements, such as the 99th Fighter Squadron, who fought in the skies over Anzio on 27 and 28 January 1944, and the 332nd Fighter Group, who earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its mission to Berlin on 24 March 1945.

“That the pilots' combat accounts read like other pilots' accounts in the air can be considered the point of the book...Enjoyed it!”

Read the full review here

Historical Miniature Gaming Society

Not a book I would normally read but I loved it! I had the honor of visiting the Tuskegee Airmen Museum a few years ago and I was amazed at the history of it. I was also shocked for all of this that happened which we never learned about in schools. It's a shame because they have an incredible history of how they came to be and how they were amazing fighters in WW2.

If you don't know anything about the Tuskegee Airmen, I highly recommend you read this! It's a fascinating read of history that is not told enough!

NetGalley, Sheryl Fisher

"It is a moving tale that is well told in this profusely illustrated volume."

Aviation News - June 2024

"Enjoyed it."

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, April 2024

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A well-written, stirring account about black US airmen being allowed to successfully participate in vital combat missions during WW2.
Before the war, the situation for African-American aviators was far worse than their counterparts in the other services. The USA had a strict segregation policy between black and white races, which unfortunately spilled over into the military. The Army Air Corps had completely barred blacks from their ranks, while in the other services blacks were only allowed to serve the country in fairly menial (but vital) support roles.
Due to pressure from civil rights groups and key politicians, the Tuskegee pilot training base was established in 1942, with many black pilots earning their wings. After months of waiting, the fighter squadron was transferred to North Africa and later to Italy, proving themselves well up to the role of flying successful combat missions and bomber escorts. Every role in the squadron was undertaken by a black person.
I was astonished at the number of aircraft being destroyed, not just by enemy action but by mechanical failures, weather, and accidents. On the positive side, Tuskegee pilots shot down many Italian and German aircraft, including three Me262 jet fighters.
The day-by-day accounts taken from the squadron records, typifies the life of most military airmen. Several mundane days, followed by many terrifying action-packed days when comrades never returned.
One disturbing fact about being a Tuskegee airman is that they had to fly many, many more missions than their white counterparts. This was due to the lack of black replacements. Tuskegee was the only training base for black pilots, which was at full capacity. There were a substantial number of white pilot training bases available but unbelievably, segregation made it impossible for any Negro to be assimilated into a flying programme.
I found it very moving that when the pilots and ground crew returned to the States, they continued to be segregated and abused by many racist whites. Occasionally this led to lynching, shootings, and maiming of the veterans. As an observer, I have experienced racial hatred firsthand during the apartheid years in South Africa. It was truly awful to see the venom and abuse given to black Africans by the Boers. I cannot imagine how much this affected the emotions of the victims.
The USA can thank the Tuskegee airmen for successfully standing up to racism, proving that they are just as capable as whites in flying and maintaining military aircraft. They opened the gates to subsequent generations of competent young aviators from many minority sectors of the population.
A thoroughly recommended book.

NetGalley, Peter Coxall

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic book! I was hooked from the beginning. I thought it was well written and the story flowed well. I was engaged from start to finish. I am a history buff and this book was right up my ally. I will definitely be recommending this book to others and I will buy a copy for myself as well.

NetGalley, Joseph Bruce

I appreciated how detailed and educational this book was. I learned so much about the Tuskegee airmen that I never knew before. The insight from the soldiers themselves was cool to read mixed with the actual chronological events of the wars they were involved in and aftermath post war that they faced.

NetGalley, Briana Gagnon

An interesting read on the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen and their treatment during WW2. The author provides good first-hand accounts from the various individuals who served in the unit. The stories were intriguing and full of action. Overall, a good read.

NetGalley, Ron Baumer

Although I normally focus on ancient history, the opportunity to read a history of the Tuskegee Airmen was irresistible. This book is essentially two parts: the training and war experiences and what happened when they came home.

The first part was astounding in that it lists pretty much every mission, every accident and every loss incurred by the Airmen, in spite of the prejudice and 4acism aimed at them. The sheer number of missions they flew was amazing, and I was in awe at their accomplishments.

The second part, which is fairly short, illustrates the difference in treatment they received once they came home. They did not get the respect that white soldiers got, and instead were expected to "know their place."

An excellent and detailed history that occasionally lost me because I did not always understand what was being spoken about when missions were discussed, but it really illustrates just how much these heroes overcame both in the military and at home.

NetGalley, Sharon Custer

About Samuel de Korte

Samuel de Korte is a graduate student of Utrecht University, where he studied an MA in the Cultural History of Modern Europe, and in his spare time enjoys researching or writing articles about popular history. He wrote his Master's thesis about the representation of black Americans during the Second World War in contemporary media, indicating that although they formed a substantial part of the American armed forces, they don't receive an equal share in the representation. His research provided the starting point for this book.

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