In Their Own Words: True Stories and Adventures of the American Fighter Ace

by James A. Oleson, iUniverse, Lincoln, Neb., 2007,$34.95

With the passing of World War II and Korean War veterans, there’s a feeling of urgency among historians—or anybody with a sense of history—to record their stories before they’re lost to us all. Jack Oleson, who is among those fortunate enough to have met numerous American fighter aces, preserves their reminiscences for posterity in his book In Their Own Words.

Oleson’s book is more of a primer in air-to-air combat than a major addition to an aviation buff’s library. The background provided is generally limited to pilots’ unit and score, and their comments range from a page or two to a couple of sentences.

The interviewees relate a potpourri of vignettes on different aspects of their wars on many fronts, dealing with everything from aerial combat to downtime on the ground, sometimes exciting, sometimes humorous. A separate section is devoted to the pilots’ impressions of various aircraft.


Originally published in the November 2008 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here