The Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot

Skyhorse
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“Riveting, with a style and pace that take the reader on the journey with John Robinson—the African American man called the brown condor” (New York Journal of Books).
 
In this gripping, never-before-told tale, biographer Thomas E. Simmons brings to life the true story of John C. Robinson, who rose from fraught and humble beginnings as a black child in segregated Mississippi to outstanding success. He became a pilot and an expert in building and assembling his own working aircraft; he also helped to establish a school of aviation at the Tuskegee Institute (there would have been no Tuskegee Airmen without him); and his courageous wartime service in Ethiopia during the Italian invasion in 1935 won him international fame.
 
Featuring thirty-five black-and-white photographs and based on twenty-three years’ worth of original research, when very little information on this remarkable American hero was available, The Man Called Brown Condor is more than just a biography of an unfairly forgotten African American pilot; this book provides insight on racial conditions in the first half of the twentieth century and on the rise of fascism in the years preceding World War II.
 
“[Robinson’s] lifelong triumph over adversity belongs to the greatest of American success stories.” —The Washington Times
 
“Simmons brings to life Robinson’s inspiring struggle against racism through the story of how he rose to become the commander of Haile Selassie’s air force in Ethiopia’s attempt to defend itself against Mussolini’s brutal invasion . . . An inspiring affirmation that celebrates the old adage that where there’s a will, there’s a way, even against seemingly impossible odds.” —Kirkus Reviews
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Additional Information

Publisher
Skyhorse
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Published on
Dec 18, 2012
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Pages
305
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ISBN
9781620879474
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Language
English
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Genres
History / African American
History / Military / United States
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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During World War II, 15,000 P-51 Mustang fighter planes were produced by North American Aviation. Arguably the best fighter plane ever made, today there are less than a hundred left flying in the world. Of those, only a handful saw combat. Sierra Sue: The Story of a P-51 Mustang is the story of one of those survivors.

The backdrop for the story is Sierra Sue IIs appearance at the huge Offutt Air Force Base Open House in 1989. There, we go behind-the-scenes for glimpses of warbird pilots and jet jockeys alike, preparing for their air show acts. We also go six stories underground for a rare, chilling visit to our nuclear command post.

But the real story is the history of Sierra Sue II, and the remarkable pilots who flew and loved her: from 1st Lt. Bob Bohna who flew her in combat during World War II and nearly became a reverse ace, to Sten Soderquist who flew her in Sweden in the early 50s when more than thirty Swedish pilots died in Mustang crashes, to Nicaragua where she was involved in several of dictator Luis Somozas military adventures in the late 50s, to California where Dave Allender modified her with the intent of setting a new world speed record for piston aircraft.

Almost forty years after her combat missions in the war, Sierra Sue II is bought by a hard-flying Minnesota physician known on the air show circuit simply as Doc. His romance with Sierra Sue II continues where Bohna and Soderquist and Allender leave off. But Doc is more than just another ardent admirer in her long history. While an Air Force jet pilot in the 50s, Doc crashed and suffered major injuries that ended his Air Force career. During his long recuperation, he took up a study of medicine that led to a general practice in Minneapolis. Now, he is determined to restore Sierra Sue II to her World War II condition and take her on the Midwest air show circuit. We follow that restoration in California by a mechanical genius named Jack Cochrane, and then Docs cross-country flight to Minnesota, ending in a harrowing landing at nightfall on a remote airstrip on the Minnesota prairie.

Millions of air show fans have enjoyed the sight of Sierra Sue IIs ageless beauty. Now, here is her story.

DIVOf all the celebrities who served their country during World War II -and they were legion -Jimmy Stewart was unique. On December 7th, when the attack on Pearl Harbor woke so many others to the reality of war, Stewart was already in uniform - as a private on guard duty south of San Francisco at the Army Air Corps Moffet Field. Seeing war on the horizon, Jimmy Stewart, at the height of his fame after Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and his Oscar-winning turn inThe Phadelphia Story in 1940,had enlisted several months earlier.

Jimmy Stewart, Bomber Pilot chronicles his long journey to become a bomber pilot in combat. Author Starr Smith, the intelligence officer assigned to the movie star, recounts how Stewart's first battles were with the Air Corps high command, who insisted on keeping the naturally talented pilot out of harm's way as an instructor pilot for B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators. By 1944, however, Stewart managed to get assigned to a Liberator squadron that was deploying to England to join the mighty Eighth Air Force. Once in the thick of it, he rose to command his own squadron and flew twenty combat missions, including one to Berlin.
/div“My father would feel honored by this book.” —Kelly Stewart Harcourt, daughter of Jimmy Stewart
"We would have made Jimmy a group commander [equivalent to an army regiment] if the war had lasted another month." - General Jimmy Doolittle.

"An excellent biography of a distinguished airman and fine human being." - Roger Freeman, author of The Mighty Eighth: A History of the U.S. 8th Air Force.

"How wonderful it is that Starr Smith has finally directed a literary light on the personal history of Jimmy Stewart. . . . I welcomed Starr's book. It is needed and wanted. Bravo!" - Gay Talese.

"This is a very well researched and written book. . . . It fills a place in history about no mere actor but a courageous and selfless man, Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart, USAF." - General Michael E. Ryan, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

“I have met a few movie stars, but of them all, I think that Jimmy Stewart was most like those modest heroes he portrayed. Now journalist Starr Smith has raised the curtain on Stewart’s gallant service as a bomber pilot and air combat commander in World War II.” —Walter Cronkite, from the Foreword
During World War II, merchant marine tankers in convoys plied the frozen North Atlantic through the flaming wreckage of torpedoed ships. Working to keep sea lanes open, valiant merchant seamen supplied food, fuel, and goods to the Allies in the last pockets of European resistance to the Nazis.

This exciting book acknowledges that the merchant marines, all volunteers, are among the unsung heroes of the war. One of these was Jac Smith, an ordinary seamen on the Cedar Creek, a new civilian tanker lend-leased to the U.S.S.R. and in the merchantman convoy running from Scotland to Murmansk. Smith's riveting adventures at sea and in the frozen taigas and tundra are a story of valor that underlines the essential role of merchant marines in the war against the Axis powers.

This gripping narrative tells of a cruel blow that fate dealt Smith when, after volunteering to serve on the tanker headed for Murmansk, he was arrested and interned in a Soviet work camp near Arkhangelsk.

Escape from Archangel recounts how this American happened to be imprisoned in an Allied country and how he planned and managed his escape. In his arduous 900-mile trek to freedom, he encountered the remarkable Laplanders of the far north and brave Norwegian resistance fighters. While telling this astonishing story of Jac Smith and of the awesome dangers merchant seamen endured while keeping commerce alive on the seascape of war, Escape from Archangel brings long-deserved attention to the role of the merchant marine and their sacrifices during wartime.

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER
LYNTON HISTORY PRIZE WINNER
HEARTLAND AWARD WINNER 
DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE FINALIST
      
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times  • USA Today • O: The Oprah Magazine • Amazon • Publishers Weekly •  Salon • Newsday  • The Daily Beast
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New Yorker •  The Washington Post • The Economist • Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle •  Chicago  
Tribune • Entertainment Weekly • Philadelphia Inquirer • The Guardian • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch  • The Christian Science Monitor 

 From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.
 
With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.
From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.
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