Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Tuskegee Airmen: An Illustrated History: 1939-1949 - Caver, Haulman, Ennels

Authors:  Joseph Caver, Daniel Haulman, Jerome Ennels

Publisher:  New South Books
Pages: 300
Source:  Review Copy from Publicist
Genre:  Illustrated History

From Amazon:
Many documentaries, museum exhibits, books, and movies have not treated what became know as the “Tuskegee Experiment” involving black piots who gained fame during World War II, as the Tuskegee Airmen.  Most of these works have focused on the training of America’s first black fighter pilots and their subsequent accomplishments during combat.  This publication goes further, using captioned photographs to trace the airmen through the stages of training, deployment, and combat actions in North Africa, Italy, and German in an attractive coffee table-book format.  Included for the first time are depictions of the critical support roles of doctors, urses, mechanics, navigators, weathermen, parachute riggers, and other personnel, all of whom contributed to help complete the establishement of the 477th Composite Group.  The authors have told, in picture and words, the full story of the Tuskegee Airmen and the environments in which they lived, worked, played, fought, and sometimes died.

My Thoughts:
I was thrilled when the publicist asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing this book.  I had recently read and reviewed “A Rare Titanic Family”, published by NewSouth Books.  I knew very little about the Tuskegee Airmen, except that they were black pilots during World War II.  For that reason alone I wanted to read it.  Any time I can read a book and gain more knowledge I am thrilled.

From the very beginning of this book I found myself angry.  I was angry at a society that could think that the color of ones skin could affect the size of ones brain and their ability to learn.  Having been raised in a home where I was taught there was no difference between people of different colors I am always amazed at the worlds stupidity and  the resilience of those who don’t fit into those stupid little boxes. 

Joseph Caver and Jerome Ennels – archivists along with Daniel Haulman – a historian with the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB came together to create and present an account of the Tuskegee Airmen.  Before reading this book I knew they were black and they were considered an elite group of pilots who did not receive recognition for their service until many years later.  I was shocked to learn there were over 14,000 people in the various organizations.  I didn’t even know they had several different organizations.

It amazed me as I read the book to see the accomplishments of these people and how long it took for them to be recognized for their accomplishments.  With ignorance the country tried to hold back these airmen to the point they waited years to be recognized for their role in World War II.  Thank goodness we have men like these authors who are willing to get the information out there for people like me who thirst for knowledge but don’t always know where to find it.  I would like to say that I am keeping this book on my shelves.  However, a math teacher at my school saw I was reading it and wants it for his classroom to share with his students.  I am all for passing on books to other teachers of different subjects if they will promote reading.  Especially when he told me how he can use the book when talking about statistics. 

I whole-heartedly recommend this book to everyone who loves history.  It doesn’t have to be a particular era of history you love to enjoy this book.

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