Published Authors

Fallen Tigers: The Fate of America's Missing Airmen in China during World War II

by Daniel Jackson

Mere months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a volunteer group of American planes, pilots, and ground crews arrived in the Far East. With the world in flames and war clouds gathering over the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt realized keeping China in the fight would be crucial to an eventual Allied victory. The legendary “Flying Tigers” went into combat within two weeks of that fateful Sunday in December 1941. For the next three and a half years, Japanese and American warplanes fought in the skies over China and Southeast Asia without respite. Audaciously led by master tactician Claire Lee Chennault, American aircrews found themselves entering a world of ferocious aerial combat fraught with danger. Daring aviators, including fighter aces David Lee “Tex” Hill and George B. “Mac” McMillan, dueled enemy aircraft in the skies and unleashed a hail of bullets and bombs against Japanese ground troops, all while flying in the worst possible conditions in the remotest theater of World War II. Airmen who fell in combat faced the terrifying reality of finding themselves lost in an alien land in the face of a brutal enemy.

In Fallen Tigers: The Fate of America’s Missing Airmen in China during World War II, historian Daniel Jackson, himself a combat-tested pilot, sheds light on the stories of downed aviators who attempted to evade capture by the Japanese in their bid to return to Allied territory. In gripping detail, he reveals that the heroism of these airmen was equaled, and often exceeded, by the Chinese soldiers and civilians who risked their lives to return them safely to American hands. Amazingly, his comprehensive research even shows that helping downed American airmen transcended the deep political divisions of wartime China, with Nationalists, Communists, and even alleged collaborators realizing the commonality of their struggle against the Japanese. Drawing extensively on sources and interviews in the United States and China, Jackson vividly sketches an epic historical drama documenting the astonishing extent of Sino-American cooperation.

Fallen Tigers is an incredible story of survival amid a brutal war, insightfully illustrating the relationship between missing American airmen and their Chinese allies who were willing to save their lives at any cost. Based on thorough archival research and filled with compelling personal narratives from memoirs, wartime diaries, and dozens of interviews with veterans and war survivors, Fallen Tigers will appeal to history buffs and scholars interested in WWII, U.S. military aviation, and international relations between the United States and China.