|Steve Gotts' Book 'Little Friends'|
A Pictorial History of the 361st Fighter Group in WW II
Taylor Publishing Company
Size: 9" x 12"
Illustrations: over 500 b/w photos
Pages: 176 pages
'Little Friends' is the culmination of twenty years research and co-operation with the 361st Fighter Group Association and its members. It follows the group from its creation in 1943 to modern day reunions and is written in the traditional group history format. More than an ordinary pictorial history 'Little Friends' uses photos and detailed captions to get across a highly accurate chronological history of the group. The history is put in context by the final section of the book that covers modern day memorials and reunions.
'Little Friends' is the original Group History of the 361st FG first published in 1993 and as such it sets an incredibly high standard for other group histories to follow. It was the book that inspired me to get so heavily involved with the group and it was this book I humbly asked 361st FG veterans to sign when I met first met them in 1995.
Although described as a pictorial history this is no 'coffee table' style photo album. Through clever use of detailed captions Steve succeeds in bringing to life the story of a highly successful fighter group right through from the early days in February 1943 when the group was formed in Virginia to the groups first reunion in England in 1990.
The photographs themselves tell a wonderful story and include such gems as a beaming young English schoolboy, Eric Potter, standing next to a hedge with a beautiful shiny P-51 in the background or Lt. William Staples hanging precariously upside down in his overturned P-51b after an accident on takeoff.
Another facet of the book are the appendices which include an incredible amount of detail including mission lists, victory credits, a roll of honour and a table of awards.
Overall I would highly commend 'Little Friends' to any potential readers as it not only contains an incredibly authorative account of the group's history but also contains a marvellous photo collection and excellent reference material. In the words of the author "Whilst this book was produced mainly for the benefit of 361st FG veterans, it is hoped that it will also be of interest to WW2 aviation enthusiasts and historians; reminding us all of those momentous years a half century ago , when airman of the US Eighth Air Force fought in the skies over Europe in the defense of freedom."
To purchase a copy or to get more information on Little Friends click here & e-mail Joe Ormond