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The Flying Tigers

The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged a Secret War Against Japan
Narrated by: Stephen Graybill
Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)
Non-member price: $38.94
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Publisher's Summary

The thrilling story behind the American pilots who were secretly recruited to defend the nation’s desperate Chinese allies before Pearl Harbor and ended up on the front lines of the war against the Japanese in the Pacific.

Sam Kleiner’s The Flying Tigers uncovers the hidden story of the group of young American men and women who crossed the Pacific before Pearl Harbor to risk their lives defending China. Led by legendary army pilot Claire Chennault, these men left behind an America still at peace in the summer of 1941 using false identities to travel across the Pacific to a run-down airbase in the jungles of Burma. In the wake of the disaster at Pearl Harbor, this motley crew was the first group of Americans to take on the Japanese in combat, shooting down hundreds of Japanese aircraft in the skies over Burma, Thailand, and China. At a time when the Allies were being defeated across the globe, the Flying Tigers’ exploits gave hope to Americans and Chinese alike.

Kleiner takes listeners into the cockpits of their iconic shark-nosed P-40 planes - one of the most familiar images of the war - as the Tigers perform nail-biting missions against the Japanese. He profiles the outsize personalities involved in the operation, including Chennault, whose aggressive tactics went against the prevailing wisdom of military strategy; Greg “Pappy” Boyington, the man who would become the nation’s most beloved pilot until he was shot down and became a POW; Emma Foster, one of the nurses in the unit who had a passionate romance with a pilot named John Petach; and Madame Chiang Kai-shek herself, who first brought Chennault to China and who would come to visit these young Americans. 

A dramatic story of a covert operation whose very existence would have scandalized an isolationist United States, The Flying Tigers is the unforgettable account of a group of Americans whose heroism changed the world, and who cemented an alliance between the United States and China as both nations fought against seemingly insurmountable odds.

©2018 Sam Kleiner (P)2018 Penguin Audio

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  • Da King am l
  • 07-08-2018

Great story

loved it .... a time capsule of a story taking you back to the very beginning of an adventure for young pilots...before, during and after ww2

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Heath Clayton
  • 17-06-2018

Great history, great story!

The flying tigers is a fascinating listen! I learned so much about this often overlooked history. Book is well written, with fun anecdotes throughout that make you feel like the flying tigers are old friends.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-03-2019

A moving testimonial to a great group of individuals!

I found this book to be an awe inspiring tribute to a group of individuals that had achieved great fame, but the fame was largely mythic until now. To have the actual story brought to life in great detail with all of the human failings attached to such a heroic endeavor was enlightening and informative. It is another example of the achievements by our greatest generation. This book allows that legend may live on.

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  • Kathleen Crippen
  • 11-03-2019

Great story but not written well

It’s a very interesting story about the pilots who waits the war in China against the Japanese. You come to understand the people in their lives but the story could’ve been written better. At times seems a little amateurish

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  • GREG J NELSON
  • 09-03-2019

Excellent book.

Have always been enamored with the Flying Tigers. I'm glad I listened to this book.

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  • WD
  • 24-01-2019

Formerly secret documents now show the Tigers were a covert operation

I have read several books on the Flying Tigers and the China Burma India theater. The best of which is Barbara Tuchman’s epic “Stilwell and the American Experience in China”. Too bad Kleiner is not the historian that Tuchman was (who is? she was one of the great historians of the 20th century). My sense is that Kleiner is more of a Google researcher than a serious historian because that’s the way the book reads. Of course it’s a great saga but this book is more of a survey of contemporary news clippings than an original historic record. Chaing Kai Shek and Claire Chennault come off as heroes which is contrary to Tuchman and Stilwell. Who lost China? Clearly it was the Chinese Nationalists. Chennault was their lackey and stooge whose drumbeat to FDR and anyone who would listen was “without China threatening Japan on the Western Front Japan would have been free to defeat the Marines across the Pacific”. Maybe. Consider Stilwell’s perspective; if Chaing’s 99 divisions would have taken the offensive and stopped hoarding American military largesse for future civil wars, would the Navy-Marine island hopping campaign been as long and costly. If the B29 raids had come from China and sooner could the war have ended sooner? Tuchman’s Stilwell believed that was the lost opportunity.
Chennault felt betrayed because he was not given advanced notice of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. He was so blind by Chaing (or was it Madam Chaing?). That he didn’t see the wisdom of keeping this secret from the leaky sieve that was the Nationalist political caldron. Four stars is plenty. Oh and the narrators performance was poorly matched to the author’s text. It is flat, deadpan and lacks zest.

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  • randy brech
  • 15-12-2018

Amazing story<br />

I enjoy war stories from our men and women in combat. This book was recommended by a friend and I enjoyed like other books of the Vietnam war.

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  • lavalleem
  • 10-12-2018

Interesting take on this perspective of WWII

The intricate and intimate relationship between the US and China before and during WWII is a viewpoint from the time period of which I was unfamiliar. It is helped to round out my knowledge base on the war and enlighten me to the origins of the United States Air Force and flying in combat.

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  • Aaron A. Tyler
  • 04-10-2018

Great book, great production of it.

This is an excellent book and this production of it is excellent. There is quite a bit to the story and the author and reader both do a great job of bringing it to life.

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  • William R. Toddmancillas
  • 19-09-2018

Informative, interesting story.

Narration: Clear.

Story: Informative, learn a lot about this storied group, much that one does not know from seeing movies.