Book Review: Baa Baa Black Sheep

A picture of Gregory "Pappy" Boyington in pilot's gear.

A picture of Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, author of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” dressed in pilot’s gear.

Next on my list comes on of the best accounts of a WWII fighter pilot I’ve ever read.

“Baa Baa Black Sheep” an autobiographical account of one of the WW2’s great fighter aces and the famous Black Sheep Squandron, the Marine pilot, George “Pappy” Boyington.

He was one of the navy’s best pilots throughout the war in the pacific.

He flew with famous “Flying Tigers” in China, shot down nearly 27 enemy planes, and lead a squadron marine misfits that called themselves the Black Sheep Squadron.

You know he’s cool they make a TV show about him.

Although filled with lots of flying action, the book could be alternatively titled, “Being a fighter pilot was great and drinking is really bad for you.”

Much of the narrative focuses on the terrible consequences and darkly funny moments that came from too much drink, and a life of debauchery.

Here is a man who bares his soul through the written word.

A man plagued by years of stupidity which at the time of writing the book, he’d only just managed to recover from.

It is a reminiscence, on the follies of youth, and the wisdom that comes from both our best and worst moments.

His story is an inspirational that can certainly give hope to those struggling with alcohol.

One thing I really appreciated was that this story does not glorify his riotous behavior, he’s know what he did was wrong and is truly sorry about it.

Too many soldier’s accounts glorify their sexual conquests and excessive drinking while ignoring the terrible consequences.

If anything it’s brutal honesty is it’s greatest virtue.

Outside of his own incredible story, what really opened my eyes were his descriptions of imprisonment at the hands of the Japanese at the end of the war.

Although I’ve read a lot about the misery of being a POW, but his personal account threw somethings into perspective for me.

His account made me realize how humiliating and down right barbaric such imprisonment was.

It even turned Allied pilots against each other, either in stealing other people’s food or simply fighting to pass the time.

It blew my mind how cruel and debasing captivity is. For prolonged periods it can turn the best men into animals.

So in all, it was really a great WWII yarn that puts a human face on a well known war hero.

Rating: 5/5

Status: You’re more than welcome to borrow it. 

Content Rating: 13+ No language but some pretty intense moments associated with drinking. There also a lot of suggestive moments, but nothing graphic. I know this is vague, but the themes and content of this book will probably appeal to a more mature audience. 

 

As a bonus: Here’s a news reel of Boyington being rescued from a Japanese POW camp mentioned in the book. There are some cool shots of aircraft.

Black Sheep Squadron's official patch design