Friday, January 11, 2013

"Air Combat Stories for Boys"

So I was in a posh suburbanite development.  So posh the association has a "community building" that has living quarters, a fireplace room, a work out joint, and a library.  I saw this book, "Wings of the Navy"

But what was cool was the sub-title:

"Air Combat Stories for Boys"

The book itself had multiple short stories about a heroic naval aviator, but what got me was how simple it was back in the day.  There was nothing wrong with young boys reading about war and aspiring to be a hero.  Additionally, they were stories FOR BOYS.  None of this, "stories for everyone" or "well it should be for girls too" or "gender neutral" heroes or some kind of forced female hero into the plot.

No, these were stories for boys!

Not a terribly famous author, but found several of his books were made into movies.


Hoss said...

Dangerous agitprop placed there by a masculinist. Call the PC police and have the place locked down until the perp is hunted down and neutered.

Pat Sullivan said...

I remember reading some the Biggles book series, when I was a kid. These were written for boys. Biggles was fighter pilot in the RAF. The author W.E. Johns was a WW1 veteran.
The books had both WW1 and WW2 backgrounds to the stories.
Great stuff!

Altimanix said...

Looks like a poor man's Biggles!

packed full of boyhood goodness

and a film also, packed with boyhood goodness PLUS yummy sci-fi AND Spitfires (judging by the cover)

Anonymous said...

Yes - I have fond memories of the "Biggles" stories, about a certain fighter fighter pilot who began with the Royal flying Corps in WWI and then, somewhat improbably continued flying Spitfires with the Royal Air Force in WWII. I thought that the stories were terrific! It was all the more interesting that I read most of them when my father was posted to a RCAF base outside of Edmonton, and I met some of the veteran combat pilots of WWII (my father was non-flying). They were mostly flying F-86s or, as test pilots, a variety of aircraft such as Hawker Hunters.

I see from Wikipedia that Biggles did live long enough to fly the Hunter, but I lost interest before those books appeared.

All good.

Ryan Fuller said...

I am reminded of a tabletop wargame developed by none other than H.G. Wells: "Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books."

There's no sense in excluding the girls who like awesome stuff. Although I'd venture to say that a girl who likes reading about dogfights would probably know that if a book says it's full of "air combat stories for boys" then that's where the good stuff is.

heresolong said...

Definitely dated by his name. When was the last time anyone named their kid "Eustace"?

Ah, Biggles. I'd forgotten. Great stories. Along with Tom Swift and the Hardy Boys, all a young boy needs.

Bill said...

A boy's hero, Vol.2

Highschool was divided into three schools back in my distant past: General for those who might go to college; Commercial for those looking for office jobs (96% female); and Tech (100% male) for those seeking careers in manual trades such as electronics. All students had to take English Literature regardless.

Students in General studied the works of the Bronte sisters, Shakespeare, i.e., the Classics. In Commercial there was something of interest for girls, and in Tech? Yesss! "Reach for the Sky" the story of much decorated Sir Douglas Bader, an RAF ace from WWII.

Sir Douglas was a boy's man: athlete, brainiac, daredevil, scamp, and an ace flyer who defied authority on occasion. Squadron Leader Bader racked up 20 confirmed kills and several 'probables' before shot down in 1941 and becoming a guest at Colditz, (aka, Oflag IV-C) a German high-security PoW camp for escape-minded flyers like Bader.

I should add that Sir Douglas was a double amputee having lost both legs in 1930 doing aerobatic stunts. His heroic accomplishments and victories were achieved without them.

He was knighted in 1976 for his work supporting the disabled.

When you next think of Spitfires and Hurricanes, think of boy's heroes like this man:

Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, FRAeS, DL (21 February 1910 – 5 September 1982) He was credited with 20 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable and 11 enemy aircraft damaged.