The Life of Pappy Boyington
The turbulent life of Gregory Pappy Boyington, the top U.S. Marine ace of the Pacific, is captured in memorable detail by the acclaimed author of One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle of Tarawa. Wukovits pulls no punches in describing the controversial World War II fighter pilot, who was a hero to some, and a villain to others in the Corps. Boyington was a little of each as this biography of the legendary but complex figure shows. The book details the Marine's early life with abusive parents and frequent moves and his early military career and service with the Flying Tigers in Burma and China. His feats as a Corsair pilot in the South Pacific and his time in Japanese prison camps are also given full coverage. Wukovits contends that Boyington performed miserably when shunted to the sidelines and amassed a spotty record with the Flying Tigers because they treated him as an outsider. He excelled, however, when others looked to him for advice. When put in command of the Black Sheep Squadron, where the men considered him a teacher and leader, he triumphed, making his squadron the most effective in the Pacific. Called one of the preeminent historians of the Pacific War, Wukovits paints a complete portrait of Boyington that allows readers to understand the colorful World War II ace as never before.