Gregory Crouch discusses and signs China's Wings

From the acclaimed author of Enduring Patagonia comes a dazzling tale of aerial adventure set against the roiling backdrop of war in Asia. The incredible real-life saga of the flying band of brothers who opened the skies over China in the years leading up to World War II—and boldly safeguarded them during that conflict—China's Wings is one of the most exhilarating untold chapters in the annals of flight. A hero’s-eye view of history in the grand tradition of Lynne Olson’s Citizens of London, China's Wings takes readers on a mesmerizing journey to a time and place that reshaped the modern world.

You can read more about the book and about the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) on Crouch's blog, or in this excerpt from the book.

In addition, several CNAC veterans will be attending this event. Leading the contingent will be two men Gregory considers really special: Oliver Glenn and Bill Gilger.

Oliver Glen is a fascinating man, and very much of a Los Angeles success story.
He flew navy patrol planes during the second world war, did a tour in the Aleutian Islands, participating in the battle of Attu in May, 1943, then retrained onto PB4Y-1s (the Navy version of the B-24 Liberator) and flew combat patrols that suppressed the Japanese navy base at Truk. Very similar to what Louis Zamparini did in Laura Hillenbrand's book Unbroken. Except that Glenn never crashed. He completed his second tour, did a stink as a flight instructor, demobilized, then copiloted for TWA before he joined CNAC in May 1946 and went on to participate in all the crux evacuations of the Chinese Civil War. Back in Southern California in 1950, he joined Lockheed as an aeronautical engineer, and worked for them until 1990 -- including 14 years in their fabled "Skunk Works," possibly the best aeronautical engineering facility of all-time. He's a great guy.

Bill Gilger, CNAC rice-kicker
Bill graduated from high school in Pasadena in 1942, and he has a pretty unique CNAC connection. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and was sent to China, where he served with Z-Force... a special forces precursor that was assigned to train the Chinese army. Recovering from malaria in 1944, he was seconded to CNAC as a "rice kicker" -- to kick rice out of C-47s to Chinese troops advancing into Burma. He did about 45 of those missions, and if you look down his log book by clicking the link above, you'll see that Pete Goutiere piloted a few of his missions -- Pete's one of China's Wings main supporting characters in Part IV -- "The Hump." (Pete's alive in New York, and Bill and he hang out at the reunions.) After the war, Bill graduated from USC, then worked for Matson shipping, rising to become one of their vice presidents. Another great guy.

This discussion is free and open to the public.
Please keep our general signing guidelines in mind: Those wishing to get books signed will be required to purchase at least one copy of the featured title from Vroman's for every 3 books they bring from home. Save your Vroman's receipt; it will be checked when you enter the signing line.

Event date: 
Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 4:00pm
Event address: 
695 E. Colorado Blvd
91101 Pasadena