In writing the biography of Charles E. McGee, her father, Charlene E. McGee Smith, Ph.D., in Tuskegee Airman: The Biography of Charles E. McGee, also provides an extensive overview of nearly 90 years of American history!
Please consider this a major research effort, which highlights not only the life of a great American, but:
· An extensive history of the creation and present status of Tuskegee Airmen.
· The development of aircraft used during wartime.
· Highlights for all significant historical events during these years.
· A continual look at race relations; Ie, segregation, civil rights, and, in particular, racial issues within the military service (s) and in America.
· A significant list of resources and a detailed index!
There were just too many awards to mention in this review from the Air Force Fighter Combat Record Holder through to The Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by the United States Congress. It will be each reader's privilege to read of these recognitions and compliments.
I enjoyed most, though, reading of Charles McGee's personal family life and of the many individuals affected through knowing him. The pictures on the front cover reveals a man who eyes share the warmth of love and compassion-a man of integrity who claims respect due based upon respect given. Sample items I appreciated most included:
· Lessons passed down for generations in the McGee family dictated Charles endure them [acts of racism] with quiet dignity. So he turned a deaf ear … (p. 22)
"As hard as things were, there (in the camp) I was not black or white, just another American pilot and officer afforded the same treatment as the others. That was better than I got when I was freed and returned to my own Country after the war. " (P. 55)
· Charles named his plane "Kitten …" (p. 56)
· Having come this far, the Tuskegee Airmen faced two enemies and one was American. (P. 59) … and, later, "They knew when they had Red Tails flying with them, they had protection from the Germans that they could count on." (P. 61)
· "… a lot of what we [Tuskegee Airmen] fostered for was an opportunity to overcome having someone look at you and, because of your color, close a door on you."
· Responsibility to God, country and family took on new meaning when it included six pound, ten ounce Charlene Edwina McGee … (p. 71)
· "Up there above 30,000 feet with the earth below and the canopy of the heavens above, you realize you are a speck, a grain of sand in the grandeur of the universe." (P. 88)
· … he completed the 7000th mission flown by pilots of the 18th Fighter Group, went on to complete 100 combat missions, flying his final mission on February 20, 1951. (93)
· When it was time to learn to swim, Dad offered a few pointers then threw me [the author] in the deep end of the pool … (97)
Forget about for what this biography was written. Instead, add to your must-read list, the biography of one of America's finest! Find a copy of Tuskegee Airman by Charlene E. McGee Smith and read one of the best Americana books around!
Sir Colonel Dr. Charles McGee – I am honored to have had the opportunity to review your life story!
Glenda A. Bixler