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Old 25th August 2007, 16:56
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Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

Greetings!

Tuesday was the publication date for Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942--an updated, revised, and somewhat shorter version of my history of the AVG. Who knew that there was so much to be discovered about a 65-year-old story? I've been a student of the AVG for twenty years now, and I'm still learning.

The book is available from Amazon of course: www.amazon.com/dp/0061246557/?tag=annals

Or from me: www.FlyingTigersBook.com (autographed but pricier)

This HarperCollins edition is much improved over what the Smithsonian Institution Press published in 1991, but here's what reviewers said of that edition:

* "A first-rate history of the group and its leader" - Katharine Powers in the Boston Globe

* "War history as it should be written" - Hal Andrews in The Hook (magazine of naval aviation)

* "Totally engrossing--just like reliving those days fifty years ago" - Robert Neale, AVG 1st Squadron

* "Bullsh*t" - R. T. Smith, AVG 3rd Squadron (alas, the Tigers weren't altogether happy to learn that some of their victories aren't borne out by Japanese records, just as Japanese claims tend to evaporate when compared to Allied losses!)

And as for what I've learned since the book was locked up in January, I'm keeping a running score at www.FlyingTigersBook.com/errata.htm

The preface is also posted online: www.FlyingTigersBook.com/preface.htm

Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
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Old 25th August 2007, 22:12
rldunn rldunn is offline
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Re: Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

This excellent book is the definitive work on the Flying Tigers (First American Volunteer Group). If you haven't read the first edition and have a modicum of interest in the subject this edition is a must. If you have the first edition be advised that Dan had added new material from published and unpublished sources yet managed to reduce the text. In soft cover at USD 15.95 it is a bargain.

If you don't know Dan, he is an excellent author of fiction as well as non-fiction. A movie was based on one of his books.

For those really intersted in this subject try to find Russell Whelan's 1942 Flying Tigers which is excellent from that era. Also Alan Armstrong's Preemptive Strike expands on what Chennault was really trying to accomplish. The Flying Tigers were just the first phase of a larger vision.

RLD
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Old 26th August 2007, 03:01
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

Quote:
Originally Posted by rldunn View Post
This excellent book is the definitive work on the Flying Tigers (First American Volunteer Group).
Well, actually the first American volunteer group fought in Poland against Bolsheviks back in 1920, but it never got such a publicity like AVG.
I believe there is still plenty to find on both groups, especially about their background.
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Old 26th August 2007, 07:28
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Re: Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

I've got Dan's original book Flying Tigers, which IMHO is one of the best unit history's ever written.

What I like best about Dan's approach to the very emotive subject of the AVG is that he accepts that he will wear flack (and often insults) from members of the AVG (and it's supporters) who disagree with him. But that doesn't lesson his regard from them in any way whatsoever.
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Old 26th August 2007, 09:50
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Re: Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski View Post
Well, actually the first American volunteer group fought in Poland against Bolsheviks back in 1920, but it never got such a publicity like AVG.
I believe there is still plenty to find on both groups, especially about their background.
Wouldn't the Lafayette squadron pilots count as the first?

Back to the subject.

I have a copy of the original, but would be tempted by a revised 2nd edition (cover art is great IMHO, should have been ofered as a hard cover as well!!).

Could you expand upon the revised part?

To those who haven't got the first edition, choosing this book should be a no brainer.
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Old 27th August 2007, 23:28
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

I echo Ruy's and Jim Oxley's comments about the first edition. my second edition is on the way, so I'm looking forward to it.

Dan's approach is really good, a combination of detailed, serious research, and first person. I applaud him for all the slings and arrows he has taken.

It is a real shame that the remaining AVG pilots cannot be proud of the accomplishments they achieved as delineated by Dan, but continue to whine and complain about perceived slights. They need to bask in what they did do, and let history admire them.
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Old 28th August 2007, 16:21
JACK COOK JACK COOK is offline
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Re: Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

I have the new edition and although only a few chapters into it am enjoying very much! I'm a picture lover so would have liked to have seen a few more photos. Better get yourself a copy!
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Old 29th August 2007, 16:48
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Re: Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

Thanks for the kind words. (Different words can be seen on the AVG association's message board.)

New stuff: most readers wouldn't notice, but there's lots of it. My best find was to discover how many planes Jernstedt and Reed destroyed at Moulmein in their astonishing raid of March 18. (Quite a few, it turns out.) This information wasn't available in the 1980s but has since come to light. The book is also a lot more precise on AVG victory credits, thanks to the work of Frank Olynyk, which I didn't learn about until after the book was published. And so forth.

Photos: up to the very end we'd hoped to exploit a collection of unpublished photos that had been promised to Air & Space magazine. Alsas, the owner sold them to a private collector who apparently intends to keep them private.

Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942
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Old 29th August 2007, 19:11
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Re: Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

Dan,

Well most of the FlaK seems to come from people who haven't even read your book. The ones who did seem to be tempering the tone of discussion.

BTW

I'd love to ask you a question, which if you are interested can be separated into a new thread: was the AVG the (direct or indirect) precursor to operations like Air America?
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Old 3rd September 2007, 20:25
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Re: Now available: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and all that

Chennault was a very single-minded individual, and when he had an idea he didn't easily let go of it.

His first irregular outfit of course was the 14th Squadron, often called the International Squadron, of the Chinese Air Force. Then he was put on the shelf in 1938 when the Russians went into China in force. Chiang brought him back in 1940 and he drew up plans for a 500-plane Special Air Unit. As refined in Washington in the winter of 1940-1941 it would consist of the 1st AVG (the fighter force that actually went to Burma), 2nd AVG (the bomber force planned for December 1941 that Alan Armstrong makes so much of), and the 3rd AVG (another fighter group, armed with P-43s and P-66s, poor sods) that never got off the ground.

In November 1941 there were also plans afoot for a volunteer British Commonwealth Bufflo squadron and perhaps a Blenheim bomber squadron, which would have been transferred to Chinese control from RAF squadrons in the region. This appears to have been a Roosevelt to Churchill to the RAF operation, and I'm sure it was greeted with great unhappiness by Brooke-Popham in Singapore.

Once war broke out, the USAAF took over from these volunteer outfits, though with agonizing slowness. It seemed to take from six months to a year from the decision to the implementation.

Postwar, Chennault created Civil Air Transport as a transport company in China, with many American pilots. It retreated to Taiwan with Chiang in 1949, and in the 1950s was a hired carrier for the USAF in Korea and for the French in Indochina. By this time the CIA had a financial interest in it, but it wasn't until Chennault retired that "the company" took over in earnest and renamed the airline Air America.

Chennault also had plans for an International Volunteer Force equipped with F-84 Thunderjets to fight communism in Vietnam and elsewhere as needed. That was in the Eisenhower administration, and the IVF was promptly shot down by the Pentagon.

Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
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