Chennault, Claire Lee. Way of a Fighter. Tucson, Arizona: James Thorvardson & Sons, 1991. Limited edition. Signed by fifteen members of the Flying Tigers squadron. Original dust jacket.
Presented is a limited edition printing of Claire Lee Chennault’s memoir, Way of a Fighter. These are the memoirs of the general who led "The Flying Tigers," one of the bravest flying units in American history. The scarce first edition of Way of a Fighter was first published in 1949. Several editions in Chinese were published in the forty two years between that first edition and this second, limited edition in English. With a print run of only 1,300 copies, this limited second edition printing was released in 1991. This limited edition printing is highly collectible not only for its scarcity but also for the numerous signatures from Flying Tiger pilots found on the limitation page. Fifteen pilots have signed and inscribed the limited page of this book. The book retains its original dust jacket and is now housed in a custom built archival slipcase.
Prior to the United States entry into World War II, approximately 15,000 Americans joined flying units already engaged in combat. General Claire Lee Chennault recruited a squadron of volunteer fighter pilots, the First American Volunteer Group, to aid China in its conflict against invading Japan. The AVG were referred to as the Flying Tigers, given the nickname largely because of the large-toothed smile painted on the nose of their planes. The group was highly active in the Pacific theater after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was responsible for destroying nearly 300 enemy airplanes. Once America formally declared war, the AVG was replaced with the Army Air Forces and Chennault was put in command. In a war that largely depended on air power, Chennault’s leadership helped set the standard for an entirely new part of the military that would eventually become the U.S. Air Force.
Today, Chennault, his men, and the shark-toothed planes are some of the most celebrated military symbols of the Second World War. "Their outstanding gallantry and conspicuous daring," wrote President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, "is a source of tremendous pride throughout the whole of America."
This book is signed and inscribed on the half title page, from top right corner, clockwise, by: Charles D. Mott, “Tex” Hill, Duke Hedman, Dick Rossi, Joe Rosbert, Robert Raine, Ken Jernstedt, Bob Layher, P. J. Greene, C. H. Laughlin, “Rode” Rodewald, Eric Shilling, Ed Rector, Chuck Older, and Bob Keeton.
Overall very good condition. Numbered “629” out of 1500 copies on the limitation page. Fifteen signatures and penned inscriptions are written in blue and black ink and mostly legible, with only a little overwriting. Inscriptions all made out to a “Tom” (unknown). The original dust jacket has some very minor wear. Internally, the pages are bright and clean. The book is housed in a custom archival slipcase featuring an inlaid depiction of a Flying Tiger plane on the front. Dimensions: Book: 8 3/4" H x 6" W x 1 3/8" D. Slipcase: 9 1/8" H x 6 1/8" W x 1 3/4" D.
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