In this, his 52nd flight in hardcovers, air historian Caidin soars over the many unsung, forgotten or ignored aerial...

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THE RAGGED, RUGGED WARRIORS

In this, his 52nd flight in hardcovers, air historian Caidin soars over the many unsung, forgotten or ignored aerial operations at WWII's beginning in the South Pacific and especially the China-Burma-India theater. (Bliss K. Thorne's recent The Hump (p. 1014) is a more intimate recital of CBI operations but less thorough.) Caidin covers the period from 1937, with Japan's air strikes on the Chinese mainland, to mid-1942. Like Bernard Shaw, he is a great one for quoting himself and often dips into his earlier books; at other times he relies heavily on such well-worn sources as God is My Co-Pilot, Chennault's Way of a Fighter, plus official histories and personal interviews. Chennault is a major figure here, first hired in 1937 by Chiang Kai-Shek to command the Chinese Air Force. This consisted of 91 planes operational. The Chinese pilots were so inexperienced that when they took off to dive bomb a Japanese carrier offshore of Shanghai, they actually bombed not only a British carrier but also Shanghai's International Settlement. Nonetheless, by a single brilliant tactic, Chennault's force shot down 54 Japanese bombers in the first three daylight raids. Caidin's review of the Chinese air war is often wonderfully ironic, with Chinese gunners sulking at their guns and refusing to shoot the attacking enemy; and the ingenious activities of the Japanese are engrossing.

Pub Date: March 16, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1966