Baa Baa Black Sheep

Baa Baa Black Sheep

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Here, in his own words, is the true story of America's wildest flying hero, of his extraordinary heroism, and of his greatest battle of all—the fight to survive.

The World War II air war in the Pacific needed tough men like Colonel Pappy Boyington and his Black Sheep Squadron. The legendary Marine Corps officer and his bunch of misfits, outcasts, and daredevils gave new definition to “hell-raising”—on the ground and in the skies. 

Pappy himself was a living legend—he personally shot down twenty-eight Japanese planes, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. He broke every rule in the book doing so, but when he fell into the hands of the vengeful Japanese his real ordeal began.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553263503
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1977
Series: Military Classics Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 120,445
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (1912–1988) was an American World War II fighter pilot. As the "bad boy" of the Pacific theatre, he commanded the famous Black Sheep squadron.

Read an Excerpt

Two years ago I got back into flying after an absence of thirteen years. Everyone was very helpful, and many friends put aside their own work to help me get started once again as a pilot.
The flight surgeon who gave me the necessary physical was most obliging, although he didn’t know me from a hot rock. A pilot who runs a ground school tutored me for a week, so I was able to pass a written test for an instrument rating, and another pilot who owns a flying school let me fly a few hours for practically nothing. Then I passed a blind-flying check. A local aircraft distributor even paid me a few dollars while I was busy getting some up-to-date flying hours for my ratings.
Two months from the day I discovered I could pass a second-class airman’s physical examination, I was all set to go. Multiengine planes, commercial and instrument, were on my flight certificate.
The amazing thing about it all is that the rust wore off in no time at all, as though I had never been away from flying. Getting accustomed to instruments I had never used before didn’t give me the slightest bit of trouble. But this is understandable, because, after all, for ten years or more flying was one of the few things to hold my interest for any length of time.
In the beginning I was uneasy about the conversation with the control towers and CAA Communications. But this ironed itself out soon, and they gave all the cooperation I needed when I called and told them that I was a “new boy.”
At my age it was difficult to get a flying job with an airline, even if you had a good record, but fortunately, I soon found a flying job. An air-freight company in Burbank permitted me to use their executive five-passenger plane for charter. The airline didn’t pay my salary; I was given a commission of part of the charter business I sold. In return for this privilege I piloted for the company officials and their guests at times free of charge. This was okay with me, because it was wonderful to fly again. I was chartered by business people, motion-picture actors, or just about anyone who wanted to go anywhere and was willing to pay sixty dollars per hour.
The airline hangar at the Lockheed Air Terminal is only a matter of five minutes or so from our three-bedroom house, almost in the center of the San Fernando Valley. The direction of the prevailing take-off pattern from Lockheed takes planes directly over us day and night. When friends drop in from other parts of the city, they can’t seem to understand how we put up with the racket. They probably don’t stop to think that this particular noise is music to me. The take-offs are no bother to anyone in our house, not even our basset hound, Alvin, who has very sensitive ears. But far more important than not being bothered is that I feel close to all those flight crews as they go over.
My flying job led to a sales engineering position with Coast Pro-Seal, a manufacturer of aircraft sealants that supplies the aviation industry all over the country. My flying is limited to weekends and business trips. But whether I fly or do other things, I seem to run across many people I have flown with in the past. Many of the things we joke about today were at one time very serious matters indeed. We do not forget they made the difference between life or death, nor do we forget the hardships and the mental anguish we went through.
At least once each year, sometimes more often, a group of around twenty of us meet here in the valley for dinner. Some are pilots. Others are ex-pilots. And some are men who had a knack for keeping aircraft flying. Most of these people are in their early forties now.
There has always been a great deal of talk about these men since they first became acquainted, but there are very few people who know how they got together in the first place. Few know them by anything but a legendary name—the Flying Tigers.


Excerpted from "Baa Baa Black Sheep"
by .
Copyright © 1977 Gregory Boyington.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Baa Baa Black Sheep 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not what I really expected. But appreciate the successes he realized as a pilot and warrior, and his challenges meeting his drinking problem. His story further illustrates that “hero’s” aren’t perfect, just regular people as the rest of us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Michael_P on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is considered a classic WWII memoir for a very good reason.Filled with tales both funny and heart-wrenching, Pappy Boyington gives the reader an unpretentious view of his life on the Pacific war front, from his early days of looking for a fight, to his capture and imprisonment by the Japanese. As he tells his story, we learn about everyday life as a fighter pilot, the beaurcracy of the government and armed forces that sometimes keep the best soldiers from doing what they do best, the wacky sense of humor men develope when under extreme pressure, and why Boyington came to like and respect the Japanese people even while his prison guards beat and starved him nearly to death.This book has remained in print since its initial publication in 1957, and even inspired a hit television show in the 1970s.
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Mad_Max More than 1 year ago
When I read this book it felt a little slow at first to get into get story. But once you start to connect with "Pappy" you can't put down the book, the man lived an incredible life and much to tell. From his days as part of the flying tigers to, reenlisting into the USMC and forming his formidable squad of dare devils and misfits, to be being imprisoned by the Imperial army of Japan. Throughout everything that he has been threw "Pappy" always stayed in high and optimistic outlook on his situations but one thing about him tho was he always look out for his squad during combat endangering his life in air combat to protect his friends. By the end of the book I enjoyed the book I have read and brought new prospective into my life for his words. "Just name me a hero and I'll prove he's a bum."- "Pappy" Boyington Review by Terrance copp
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Prowerlee More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book to all history lovers of World War 2. This book tells some fierce battles over the Pacific. The book tells to the readers that how the aces of Pacific theater war pilots flew their Corsairs and Wildcats from USAF and US Marines aircraft. They also tell how the other aces fought with the Japanese Navy and Japanese Airforce (IJN) (IJA. I liked this book, and anyone who is interested with dogfights and with world war 2... I suggest you to read this book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gives a great account of the air war in the pacific from the pilot's view. His style of writing isn't the greatest, but then again, he wasn't an english teacher, he was a pilot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally, from a high school student's point of view, the story is really hard to fall into, unless you absolutely love to read books along this genre. From what I have read, Boyington was a great pilot but not the best as writers go. His style is a major factor in the difficulty of the book. He left many things to be pondered, most frequently over the fate of some missions briefly mentioned. This is not a book I would suggest for a book review or any other sort of project.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Baa Baa Black Sheep provides an excellent snapshot of an american's experience in the Asian theatre from the time immediately preceeding America's entry into WWII until the end of the war. Particularily interesting are the various perspectives: as a member of the AVG; a commissioned Marine officer; and prisoner of war. Gregory Boyington's battle with alcohol is also an underlying current throughout the story. His observations on China, leadership,the American military culture and the Japanese are both entertaining and enlightening. I lived in Kunming for a year and visited many of the locations he writes about. It is a classic story.... Don't read it if you expect any similarities to the TV series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most overrated books I´ve ever read about WW II fighter pilots (and I´ve read dozens of them!. Boyington was a great pilot, no doubt about that, but his writing style is terrible. He also almost never says about the fate of his fellow pilots or his deeds in combat. Most of the book is about his time in Japanese prison. The book is full of gaps, also. If you like to know more (and closer to the truth!), read 'Black Sheep: The Deffinitive Account of Marine Fighting Squadron 214', by Bruce Gamble.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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