Book Review: China’s Wings

China’s Wings: War, Intrigue, Romance, and Adventure in the Middle Kingdom During the Golden Age of Flight. By, Gregory Crouch

I give this book five out of five stars.


I applaud Crouch’s book, this is the kind of gem we get when an author has spent time researching their topic, but edited their manuscript without mercy. To pull off a non-fiction book that reads like a fiction novel is stunning and not easily done. This is not something I would typically say, but filmmakers should pursue this book.
China’s Wings follows the real life events of an American aviation executive William Langhorne Bond. Crouch’s protagonist demonstrates how some of the best characters remain in the realm of non-fiction, stories of real people who did remarkable things.
Thank you Gregory Crouch for pointing out (repeatedly), the isolationist policy the US held going into WWII. Way to kick pacifist idiots in the head by discussing the inhumane acts our nation could have potentially hindered or stopped if the US had stepped up earlier. Even if to only marginally cut off supplies and petroleum.
While I don’t discredit the value works exploring the mentality of the Third Reich, I find it irritating there is not an equal amassing of exploratory literature covering the mentality of a nation of people (Japan) who celebrated the mass killing of civilians during their invasion of China. China’s Wings does such an effective job of illustrating the destruction Japan wrought against China in WWII. Crouch made me cringe and ponder the deviation of an entire culture/continent/country of people. How did they wittingly and collectively throw their moral compasses away, because there was no trickery or veiled propaganda about the civilian death toll in China? Any of the battles, destroyed citied and provinces affected could be extrapolated on. But Crouch delivers the necessary details to capture the horror of war and war crimes without loosing readers who might not enjoy long expositions about battles and tragic civilian death.
This is a must read for anyone who missed checking “China” as one of the United States allies during WWII on a high school history exam. Aviation buff’s, and military history fans should add this to their read list for sure. Those interested in the tactics that evolved America’s strategic airlift capability will enjoy this book. Incidents portrayed in this book provide clear examples of why modern civilized nations conduct military operations with formal rules of engagement.
Crouch has a knack for describing both environment and action. We are given enough detail to understand the difficult circumstances particular aircraft faced, but not so much to bore us into oblivion. All the details given are useful and help heighten the drama the pilots faced in unusual circumstances told in the book. And to all of my squeamish friends this is a book that involves a challenged airline during WWII-a war. Don’t yell at me later if you read this book not understanding what kind of graphic content is usually associated with war.