"The Man Called Brown Condor" by Thomas E Simmons

Discussion in 'Non-fiction' started by vikingBerserker, May 2, 2013.

  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    “The Man Called Brown Condor”
    By Thomas E Simmons
    Skyhorse Publishing – 2013
    ISBN: 978-1-62087-217-8

    Brown.jpg

    One morning in late May 1936 a black gentleman wearing a leather flying jacket disembarked from the SS Europa in New York City where a large crowd was waiting to catch a glimpse of the pilot called “The Brown Condor of Ethiopia”. Colonel John Charles Robinson, an American from Mississippi had returned home after having flown with and Chief of the Ethiopian Air Corps during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War.

    The book is 293 pages long divided into 26 chapters and contains 36 pages. It traces his life from the time he wanted to learn how to fly, through the challenges that a black man would face during that era and the impact he had on aviation. He was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the School of Aviation at the Tuskegee Institute (which would result in the Spielberg stinker “Red Tails”, but he should not be held accountable for that), attended the Curtiss Wright Aviation School, built his own plane and even toured with a number of other black pilots across the US (including Aviatrix Janet Waterford-Bragg whose brand new airplane he destroyed).

    One of the more humorous lines is while on the SS Europa a couple of German aviators asked him to have a drink with them and talk about the Italians performance during the war. His response?

    “I’ve been bombed, gassed and shot at by Italian Fascists for the last year. You boys will have to excuse me if I’m not ready to sit down and drink with German Fascists just yet.”

    Now some of the things I did not like. The book’s subtitle is “The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot” – which was one of the reasons I wanted to get the book. It’s somewhat misleading as from what’s in the book the only fighter type of aircraft he flew was a Potez 25 which was not very often. He spent most of his time flying passengers or flying reconnaissance flights. The other thing that bothered me was the author’s use of supposedly actual conversations that took place almost a hundred years ago.

    At the time, based on the news articles I came across he was a rock star of the day during the early says of aviation, but has since sadly been almost forgotten.


    8 solid Lions of Judah
     
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