David Hayward has written an excellent autobiography of his experiences as a B-25 pilot in Burma and China during World War II. Previously, Mr. Hayward put together several publications for the 22nd Bomb Squadron Association, which included some of his own reminisces, but he finally decided to compile his own story. He did a great job. Assembled from his own diaries, letters home, official records, and the memories of him and his comrades, A Young Man in the Wild Blue Yonder paints the picture of a boy who came from modest beginnings in Pasadena, California, to become a combat pilot in the Army Air Forces. He describes his challenges during training, heart-pounding encounters with enemy flak and fighters, and the terrible loss of friends. Throughout, the narrative is straightforward and easy to read. Hayward does not have a penchant for overstatement or sensationalism. He describes it as it happened to him and thus it comes across as a very honest and personal account. Unique for books of this type are his details about standing up the veteran’s group long after the war and his several trips back to China. These stories add perspective to his memories of combat. In all, it was a very enjoyable book and a very valuable addition to the body of World War II literature.


  1. I agree!! I enjoyed Dave’s book very much. In full disclosure — I had already heard some of the experiences from talking with Dave while working on the website and on my forthcoming book.

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