The Maverick War: Chennault and the Flying Tigers
St. Martin’s Press, 1987
On July 23, 1941, some five months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed a secret Executive Order authorizing the bombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities. This astounding mission never took place, but what resulted was America’s first venture in to the shadowy area of covert operations against a foreign power.
The author of this extraordinary plan was the cantankerous, opinionated, and controversial ex-Army captain, Claire Lee Chennault. Though Roosevelt was persuaded to postpone this plan, he did give Chennault a consolation prize—an air force of 100 fighter planes and the pilots to fly them. Thus, the Flying Tigers outfit was born.
Chennault pulled together an unlikely group of undisciplined, hard-drinking men and built the most successful and unorthodox outfit of World War II.
Drawing on unpublished diaries of the men of Chennault’s American Volunteer Group (AVG), interviews, Chennault’s personal papers, and material from military archives, Schultz has written a fascinating and definitive account of Chennault and his now-legendary pilots.