10 books like Chennault

By Martha Byrd,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Chennault. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Flying Tigers

By Daniel Ford,

Book cover of Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942

In my bookshelf alone I count eight unit histories of the American Volunteer Group, the storied band of American pilots and technicians who fought for China in the first seven months of America’s involvement in World War II. I’m sure there are more. But when I need to check a fact about the AVG, the first book I turn to is Daniel Ford’s 1991 work. Ford was the first author to research Japanese sources to tell the full story of the Flying Tigers, and for that he was roundly criticized by AVG veterans who felt he had denigrated them by revealing that Japanese records did not support all of the AVG claims of combat success. In my view, however, the important contribution of the AVG was not the number of enemy planes its pilots did or didn’t shoot down but instead was the morale boost its successes gave to an…

Flying Tigers

By Daniel Ford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flying Tigers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Early in the Second World War, in the skies over Rangoon, a handful of American pilots met and bloodied the Japanese Army Air Force, winning immortality as the "Flying Tigers." Arguably America's most famous combat unit, they were hired to defend beleaguered China for $600 a month, plus $500 for each Japanese plane shot down--fantastic money in 1941, when a Manhattan hotel room cost three dollars a night.

To bring his prize-winning history of the American Volunteer Group up to date, Daniel Ford has drawn on the most recent U.S., British, and Japanese scholarship, providing new information about the Tigers,…


Into the Teeth of the Tiger

By Donald S. Lopez,

Book cover of Into the Teeth of the Tiger

When I met Don Lopez in the late 1970s while he was the deputy director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, I was interviewing him for a magazine article about his exploits as a fighter ace in China during World War II. The intelligence, graciousness and sense of humor I noted that day come through loud and clear in this memoir published in 1997. In contrast to the rest of the books I’m highlighting here, Lopez provides a vivid, first-hand account of what it was like to actually do the fighting in the skies over China, 1943-45. A terrific storyteller, he goes beyond descriptions of exciting air battles to explain the emotional highs and lows he experienced as his personal successes and those of his fellow pilots in the air failed to blunt the major enemy offensive that was underway on the ground at that time.

Into the Teeth of the Tiger

By Donald S. Lopez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Into the Teeth of the Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Into the Teeth of the Tiger provides a vivid, pilot’s-eye view of one of the most extended projections of American air power in World War II Asia. Lopez chronicles every aspect of fighter combat in that theater: harrowing aerial battles, interludes of boredom and inactivity, instances of courage and cowardice. Describing different pilots’ roles in each type of mission, the operation of the P-40, and the use of various weapons, he tells how he and his fellow pilots faced not only constant danger but also the munitions shortages, poor food, and rat-infested barracks of a remote sector of the war.…


The Tenth Air Force in World War II

By Edward M. Young,

Book cover of The Tenth Air Force in World War II: Strategy, Command, and Operations 1942-1945

If you could only have a single book about American involvement in the air war over Burma during World War II, this would be the one. Ted Young’s history of the Tenth Air Force has it all, from high-level political maneuvering (and there was plenty of it) and seemingly endless reorganizations to in-the-cockpit combat accounts and a generous selection of photos and maps. He describes in detail the constantly shifting priorities and strategies faced by the Tenth Air Force, along with the many innovative tactics and techniques developed by units such as the First Air Commando Group. In addition, Young brings fresh insight into many of the officers who led the efforts in Burma, men such as Clayton L. Bissell. Young describes him as “a capable staff officer with broad administrative experience” who nevertheless was unable to establish a good working relationship with Claire L. Chennault, his more colorful counterpart…

The Tenth Air Force in World War II

By Edward M. Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tenth Air Force in World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During World War II, flying B-24 Liberator bombers on missions deep into Burma, B-25 Mitchell bombers attacking Japanese lines of communications, and P-40 Warhawks, P-47 Thunderbolts, and P-51 Mustangs flying close support for General Joseph Stilwell's Chinese and American forces in northern Burma, the Tenth Air Force worked closely with the squadrons of the Royal Air Force to push the Japanese out of Burma. The first comprehensive history of the Tenth Air Force and the Army Air Forces, India-Burma sector, this book covers these operations in the context of Allied strategic objectives for prosecuting the war in China and Southeast…


The Forgotten Air Force

By Henry Probert,

Book cover of The Forgotten Air Force: The Royal Air Force in the War Against Japan 1941-1945

Understanding the full scope of the air war in the CBI requires knowledge of Royal Air Force operations against the Japanese, and Probert’s book delivers. I regret that I am not aware of a similar book covering the CBI story from the point of view of the Japanese Army Air Force. Probert begins his book with the arrival of RAF flying boats at Singapore in 1928 and recounts in detail the events of World War II from the debacle in Burma and Malaya in 1941-42 to the hard-won victory in 1945. Substantial appendices, notes, photographs and maps complete the package.

The Forgotten Air Force

By Henry Probert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Forgotten Air Force as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The role of the Royal Air Force in the Far Eastern war has received much less attention from historians than its many activities in the war against Germany and Italy. Indeed, just as the Fourteenth Army was and still is referred to as the Forgotten Army, so can the airmen and airwomen who fought alongside them reasonably consider themselves the Forgotten Air Force. This book, published to mark the 50th anniversary of the defeat of Japan, recalls and explains their achievements, and pays them their rightful tribute. The history covers, among other things, the problems of the 1930s as they…


Tale of a Tiger

By Robert T. Smith,

Book cover of Tale of a Tiger

R. T. Smith was a Flying Tiger ace, credited with a fraction less than nine Japanese planes shot down. He also took some remarkable photos. Postwar he tried many things, including freelance publishing, and he had the happy inspiration of reproducing his wartime diary just as he wrote the words in 1941-1942, making it the only first-person account that hasn’t been edited for publication. Hard to find but very much worth looking for.

Tale of a Tiger

By Robert T. Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tale of a Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


A Flying Tiger's Diary

By Charles R. Bond Jr., Terry H. Anderson,

Book cover of A Flying Tiger's Diary

Charlie Bond was a career aviator and retired as a two-star general, so his account is discreet and clearly edited for publication. But he was more serious than most of the buccaneers who joined the American Volunteer Group; he paid attention to what was going on at headquarters high and low, and he had a keen eye for his fellow pilots. History professor Terry Anderson provided the background, and R. T. Smith some of the photographs.

A Flying Tiger's Diary

By Charles R. Bond Jr., Terry H. Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Flying Tiger's Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

" Draws aside the curtain of mythology and shows the AVG members--pilots, mechanics, nurses, and Chennault himself--as recognizable humans with a full spectrum of virtues and faults. Yet, the glory remains undiminished . . . A Flying Tiger's Diary is highly readable and is wholeheartedly recommended."—Military Review

The Flying Tigers, under the leadership of Claire Chennault, fought legendary air battles in the skies over Burma and China. This journal of ace pilot Charles Bond, now in its fifth printing, vividly preserves his experiences in aerial combat against the Japanese, all recorded within twenty-four hours of the action. It also documents…


The Lady and the Tigers

By Olga Greenlaw,

Book cover of The Lady and the Tigers: The story of the remarkable woman who served with the Flying Tigers in Burma and China, 1941-1942

The beguiling Olga married an aircraft salesman named Harvey Greenlaw (among others) and with him was hired by Chennault for his pick-up AVG headquarters. She became a combination den mother and sex symbol for the Tigers in Burma, where she was charged with keeping the group’s “war diary.” When the Greenlaws came home in the summer of 1942, Olga brought a copy with her, and from it and her personal diary wrote this wonderful account of her year with the AVG. As with R. T. Smith’s facsimile diary, her facts check out, and I relied on her book while writing my own. Later, with her heirs, I edited a slimmed-down version so it would be more widely available.

The Lady and the Tigers

By Olga Greenlaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lady and the Tigers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Olga Greenlaw kept the War Diary of the American Volunteer Group--the Flying Tigers--while those gallant mercenaries defended Burma and China from the Imperial Japanese Army during the opening months of the Pacific War. Returning to the United States in 1942, she wrote The Lady and the Tigers, which Leland Stowe hailed as "an authoritative, gutsy and true to life story of the AVG." Out of print for more than half a century, the book has now been brought up to date by Daniel Ford, author of the prize-winning history of the American Volunteer Group. What's more, Ford explains for the…


Tonya

By Gregory “Pappy” Boyington,

Book cover of Tonya

Greg Boyington was a Flying Tiger before he took command of the famous “Black Sheep” fighter squadron and recipient of the Medal of Honor. He may have been Olga’s lover, and he certainly was Chennault’s most troublesome pilot. The two men despised one another, and Tonya was Boyington’s revenge. The novel is a thinly disguised and highly improbable account of the “Flying Sharks” in Chinese service. Great literature it’s not, but those who know something about the AVG will have a lark matching his characters with their real-life counterparts. 

Tonya

By Gregory “Pappy” Boyington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tonya as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a novel by the author of BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP with "not recommended for children" on the bottom of the front outside cover.


The Sand Pebbles

By Richard McKenna,

Book cover of The Sand Pebbles

An old army buddy of mine used to say that when he had trouble at work and was worried about being able to support his family and when life was beginning to be a little too much, he would pick up a copy of The Sand Pebbles by Richard McKenna. Soon, he’d be transported to the deck of the USS San Pablo, during the 1920s, steaming up the Yangtze River in the heart of China and suddenly everything was right.

McKenna was a sailor in the US Navy for 22 years (1931 to 1953). He enlisted at the age of 18 and was assigned to the “China fleet,” patrolling largely between Guam, Okinawa, and Japan. He served through World War II and the Korean War. After finally retiring, he went to school on the GI Bill and started to write. His first and only novel was The Sand Pebbles,…

The Sand Pebbles

By Richard McKenna,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sand Pebbles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This now-classic novel by Richard McKenna enjoyed great critical acclaim and commercial success when it was first published in 1962. The winner of the coveted Harper Prize, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for seven months and was made into a popular motion picture that continues to be shown on television today.

Set in China on the eve of revolution, the book tells the story of an old U.S. Navy gunboat, the San Pablo, and her dedicated crew of ""Sand Pebbles"" on patrol in the far reaches of the Yangtze River to show the flag and protect…


Noble House

By James Clavell,

Book cover of Noble House

Incredible character development, fascinating history, and a story that takes place in one week, yet has enough action and details to fill several years. [This book is what inspired me to incorporate dates and/or times/locations in my chapter headings.] The story is set in Hong Kong in the early 1960s and the author’s understanding of the culture clash between the British who think they are in control and the Chinese who are using them, while making plans for their inevitable exit.

Noble House

By James Clavell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Noble House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Taking place over the course of an eventful week in 1963 Hong Kong, James Clavell’s Noble House is a masterfully woven novel of true suspense.

Ian Dunross, the current tai-pan of the illustrious yet financially troubled Struan empire, is racing to undo the damage his predecessor left behind and to once again stand on stable ground. And he’ll do whatever it takes—including striking a hard-fought deal with an American millionaire. But his rival, Quillan Gornt, has other plans. Suddenly caught in a dubious plot involving Soviet spies, Hong Kong’s criminal underground, and the hostile takeover of his company, Dunross holds…


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