The Colored Boys is Top Gun II with all the thrills, dangers, and aerial exploits of the first, only better. This is the story of aviators who fly F-14 Tomcats, amazing, complex, and phenomenal machines possessing technology that was light-years ahead of their time. Two black men from very different backgrounds believe that they can break into the demanding world of naval tactical aviation and learn to fly, operate, and master these machines and the technology they possess. While young and naive, these men are also amazingly confident, determined, and driven type-A personalities who take on the challenges that their chosen profession and dynamic careers demand. Told through their eyes, their personalities, and their experiences, we follow them as they evolve from terrified aviation officer candidates to commissioned officers into seasoned aviators. The Colored Boys follows them from their induction in Naval Officer Candidates School, through the myriad of challenges, terror, and joys of flight school, the demands of the replacement air group, and then to the demands of squadron life in the fleet. They train, develop, teach, and grow, and then they are thrust into the life-and-death struggles of war in the Persian Gulf. There, they enter combat and must fight for their survival in a war that tests their mettle as human beings, as aviators, and as men. The Colored Boys is also about the navy—the real navy, a beloved but highly traditionalized institution that must grapple with the integration of these men into its culture, into its strict caste system of officers, persons commissioned and positioned to command sailors, and the men and women they command and serve who sometimes unconsciously, sometimes quite consciously, resist change and have deeply ingrained revulsion, prejudices, and aversion to black men that they sometimes don’t even recognize or believe exists within themselves. This is the story of how these two men face, tackle, and overcome the invisible and mostly covert but highly prevalent racism and still excel in the already highly demanding world of naval aviation. This is the story of these phenomenal flying machines, the amazing men who fly them, and the demanding missions that they perform daily as they serve this nation as members of the United States Navy. Two African American men who fight to prove to others, to the navy, and ultimately to themselves that they do indeed belong, that they can hack it, that they too have the right stuff. They are many things to many people but ultimately they prove that they are not merely black men, not just commissioned officers, and not just Americans. They are naval aviators.
“At a time when school systems have completely lost focus on what really matters, John Hunter reminds us what we should be teaching our children. His ideas will help anyone who has the courage to understand that a real education must go beyond filling in circles on a standardized test form.” — Rafe Esquith, author of Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire
Can playing a game lead to world peace? If it’s John Hunter’s World Peace Game, it just might. In Hunter’s classroom, students take on the roles of presidents, tribal leaders, diplomats, and military commanders. Through battles and negotiations, standoffs and summits, they strive to resolve a sequence of many-layered, interconnected scenarios, from nuclear proliferation to tribal warfare.
Now, Hunter shares inspiring stories from over thirty years of teaching the World Peace Game, revealing the principles of successful collaboration that people of any age can apply. He offers not only a forward-thinking report from the frontlines of American education, but also a generous blueprint for a world that bends toward cooperation rather than conflict. In this deeply hopeful book, a visionary educator shows us what the future of education can be.
“With numerous reflections on the game’s impact on certain students and a resounding final chapter highlighting his class’s 2012 visit to the Pentagon, Hunter proves the value of ‘slow teaching’ in this important, fascinating, highly readable resource for educators and parents alike.” — Booklist
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