Black and White Airmen

Black and White Airmen

Their True History

Book - 2007
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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 bomber war against Nazi Germany, though they never met because the army was rigidly segregated--only in the air were black and white American fliers allowed to mix.

Both came safely home but it took Herb and John another fifty years to meet again and discover that their lives had run almost side by side through war and peace. Old friends at last, Herb and John launched a mission to tell young people why race once made all the difference and why it shouldn't anymore.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c2007
ISBN: 9780618562978
Characteristics: 160 p. : ill. (some col.), col. maps ; 24 cm


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John Leahr and Herb Heilbrun were in the same third-grade class in Cincinnati and were both pilots in WWII, but didn’t become friends until meeting at a reunion in 1997, primarily because John was black and Herb was white.

Aug 15, 2014

As my friend and teachers say, I am a person with a crazy imagination. Every book I've read, I can see it happening with my brain's eye. I like this book because it is a book that is real, but acceptable to my brain. It's not like the "Goosebumps" series, which make you shiver and have nightmares about it for like a eight days in a row (which is why i don't like the Goosebumps). When I read the book, I could see it happening. See the planes spiraling down in a whirlwind of fire, feel the men's desperation as they struggle to pull open the plane door. I can feel their anxiety as they wonder whether they will live to see their family and friends just one last time. I can hear Herb's anger as he demands why the aluminum name strips of the dead men should be thrown away when they have fought so nobly for there country. I can smell the beer on the drunken white man's clothing as he taunted John and the four other black officers. A book written so well, i cannot resist reading.


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