As portrayed on television by the properly pugnacious Robert Conrad, viewers feel they know "Pappy" Boyington. But do they really? Now, noted historian and Black Sheep expert Bruce Gamble sets the record straight with an engaging, exciting, warts-and-all biography of this larger-than-life American legend. 32 photos.As portrayed on television by the properly pugnacious Robert Conrad, viewers feel they know "Pappy" Boyington. But do they really? Now, noted historian and Black Sheep expert Bruce Gamble sets the record straight with an engaging, exciting, warts-and-all biography of this larger-than-life American legend. 32 photos.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2000-12-04 Anyone over 50 should recognize the name: leading the WWII Marine Fighting Squadron 214?the air and ground fighting Black Sheep?Boyington ("Black Sheep One") racked up the most hits in the Marines, earning the Medal of Honor before being shot down over Japanese territory in 1944. Presumed dead, he spent 20 months in a prisoner-of-war camp, and was released at war's end to the surprise of the nation. Twelve years later, his memoir Baa Baa Black Sheep hit bestseller lists, and six years after that, the book became a hit TV series starring Robert Conrad. Retired naval flight officer Gamble, who has already penned an account of the squad's exploits, here narrows his focus to its most famous exponent. The results are less than heroic. Black Sheep's appeal was in its raciness for its time (in one scene quoted here, Boyington is on his knees "in front of two very gorgeous gams"); one purpose of this book seems to be to fill in the blanks and innuendo, and to detail some years better lost. It's unclear that anyone still cares about these matters, though, and the same is true of the numbing familial detail of the first chapters. But Boyington's military exploits are still of interest to buffs, and here Gamble's expertise comes to the fore. If Boyington, who died in 1988 at 76, had a tendency to fudge or exaggerate, Gamble carefully sets the matter of his actual achievements straight, and they remain impressive. Veterans of the war and fans of the show may want the full story here, but since Gamble assumes Boyington's status rather than rehabilitates it, few others will tune in. (Dec.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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