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Hardcover Black and White Airmen: Their True History Book

ISBN: 0618562974

ISBN13: 9780618562978

Black and White Airmen: Their True History

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

*Best Available: (ex-library)

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Book Overview

Here is the true history of a friendship that almost wasn't.

John Leahr and Herb Heilbrun grew up in the same neighborhood and were in the same third grade class together. They were classmates--not friends--because Herb was white and John was black.

John and Herb were twenty-one when the United States entered WWII. Herb became an Army Air Forces B-17 bomber pilot. John flew P-51 fighters. Both were thrown into the brutal high-altitude...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent little read for young and old alike

I have had the chance to meet Mr. Heilebrun personally when a B-17 was flown into Cincinnati recently. He is an AMAZING individual and was so gracious with his time, his stories and was so sweet with my daughter I had to buy his book thinking it would be a good story for her to read (she is in the 4th grade) For the "hard core" history buff this may seem a little "simple" in its writing still and content but I think that was by design because while the theme of the story is a cross over the "color line" its also a cross over the age line as well. I enjoyed the book and I think you will too, and while I am not a teacher I think it would be a great educational tool when talking about WWII and how even though minorities were fighting and dying in Europe they were actually treated better overseas than they were here in the United States. Herb and John's story is one for the ages and definitely one worth telling and knowing.


John Leahr and Herb Heilbrun were kids that lived in the same neighborhood for while and were even in the same third grade class. Because of the racial barriers of the time period they living in they were not allowed to be friends. Life moved on quickly for the boys and the grew into men. They both enlisted in the air force during World War 2. The book tells their stories of mission and battles that the men went on. Later in life the men meet again and find out they served together not really knowing it! They join forces today and speak about world war2. They also have another messege for young people. They teach them that the color of their skin doesn't matter, it's what is on the inside that counts. I really enjoyed this true story. We are losing our World War 2 vets at alarming rates. I feel that there stories, no matter how painful and drak they might be should be passed on to the next generation. These men and women are true heroes and deserve honor and respect!

Good book

I bought this book for a paper I was writing in college about the Tuskegee Airmen. This book was great, I read it cover to cover in one sitting. While its not packed with the information other books are, it does include stories from white and African American air and service men. Its also facinating to compare the treatment of men of different races during the war. There is a story behind it that is quite interesting as well considering what a large war it was. I highly recomend this book. If your reading this I ask somthing of you, thank a veteran or service person for what they have done or are doning to protect your rights and freedoms.

Making a sound like thunder

Fun Fact: If you want to get the attention of a class of sixth graders, tell `em about a book where a guy blew a metal rod through the top of his skull and lived. That'll wake the little buggers up! Yes, when it comes to booktalking a work of non-fiction to kids, I've relied on John Fleischman and his book, Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science for years. Insofar as I could ever tell, this was Fleischman's one and only contribution to the world of children's literature, and it was a doozy. Science is rarely so simultaneously gory and well-written. I suppose I had the feeling that maybe Fleischman was some kind of one hit wonder. I mean, he spends most of his time writing scientific articles for journals like Muse and Harvard Health Letter. He also writes for Air & Space Smithsonian, which, had I but known, would have made his latest book a little less left-fieldish for me. "Black and White Airmen: Their True History" is exactly what you want out of your historical non-fiction for kids. It strikes just the right balance of personal stories, historical clarifications, and exciting air battles. They grew up in the same town, were in the same third grade class, and fought practically side-by-side in the same air battles, but John Leahr and Herb Heilbrun didn't know one another until the year 1997. At that time, Herb read in the paper that the mayor of Cincinnati would be presenting a public award to some Tuskegee pilots not too far away. So Herb crashed the reception. He wanted to thank the guys who'd covered his tail during multiple escort missions and in doing so he met John. Herb and John became fast friends, finding that they had more in common than they had ever expected. Through their eyes, Fleischman tells the story of Fifteenth Air Force and the Tuskegee airmen. He draws attention to racial lines and divides at that time then brings you face-to-face with what it meant to fly an airplane during the Great War. The author is adept at making this a very personal story at one moment and a look at history the next without ever straining his narrative or cutting too quickly. It makes for a startlingly good story. For kids, the notion that your grandparents and great-grandparents were ever children can be baffling. Baffling and more than a little inconceivable. You might concede that they were capable of fighting in a massive war more than 60 years ago, but that they were ever kids running about reading comic books? Go pull the other one. So some of the best parts of this book come when you see contemporary John and Herb going to classrooms and showing classes a picture of the two of them in third grade. That was part of what I really liked about this title. You see enough of our two heroes as kids to give them some depth and history, but not so much that you get bored waiting for the action to start. Now a book of this sort becomes a very delicate balancing act early in the game. On the one hand,

Parallel Journeys

Two boys from Miss Pitchell's third grade class in 1928 Cincinatti, Ohio grew up to be World War II pilots. John Leahr was one of the famed "Tuskegee Airmen", African-American pilots who flew for the United States even as they were being systematically oppressed. Herb Heilbrun flew bombers over Europe completing 35 successful missions. The parallel stories of these two men are told in BLACK AND WHITE AIRMEN: THEIR TRUE HISTORY. Full of photographs and primary sources, this book is a fascinating look at the different wartime experiences of military men in the segregated armed services. Leahr and Heilbrun became friends later in life and currently speak to students about their experiences. Fleischman details their childhoods, education, service records and their lives after the war. The narrative is exciting with many details that will keep any reader with the slightest interest in flying, history or wartime interested.
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