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P-38 Lightning Books

There are dozens of books available about the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. We have chosen a few that are unique to show you here, but if you'd like to see all the ones that Amazon has to offer, check these out!

Leora's Letters

Leora's Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II

The day the second atomic bomb was dropped, Clabe and Leora Wilson’s postman brought a telegram to their acreage near Perry, Iowa. One son was already in the U.S. Navy before Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Four more sons worked with their father, tenant farmers near Minburn until, one by one, all five sons were serving their country in the military. 

Amazon Review: " Through a well-crafted combination of letters, photographs, and narratives, Joy Neal Kidney draws you in and makes you feel like a member of the family. I found myself caught up in the daily experiences of all five young men and hoping each of them made it home safely. Unfortunately, war is never that kind."

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Harry's War

Harry's War: A War World II Memoir

Harry L. Runyan served the United States as an engineering officer during World War II. Supported by award-winning historian and author John V. Quarstein, Runyan has shared his unique viewpoint of this world-changing event in Harry's War: A World War II Memoir.

Perfect for anyone interested in history, Harry's War describes the 30th PRS history, from formation, through training and action, to final demobilization, as well as its "everyman" soldiers, like Runyan himself, who gave up safety, security, and loved ones to fight for what they believed in.

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Lynn Shubert


"I have to say that this was a really good read. I sat down to find out what Lynn had to say about his memories as a Lightning pilot and didn't get up until I had finished the whole book. He has a light and humorous touch and such great stories. Behind the fun, however is an honest appreciation of the risks that he took and the fact that he was pretty scared flying the Lightning alone at high altitude, over the Alps, blazing the trail for a following bomber force and - as he puts it - he was expendable and he knew it." -Amazon Review

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American Headhunter
American Headhunter

Written by P-38 Association member and Museum Docent, American Headhunter is based upon a true story, the untold account of P-38 pilot Kenneth Lloyd Sr. in WWII air combat in New Guinea, Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines. The story captures the amazing transition of a young boy into a man to become one of the "greatest generations."

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P-38 Odyssey

P-38 Odyssey

Written by our own Life Member, Dick Butler, this book is a detailed account of the life of his father, Richard Butler, with emphasis on his 24‑year military career as a USAF officer.

In North Africa in 1943 Butler was assigned to fly the P-38 Lightning.

Over southern Italy on Richard’s fiftieth and final combat mission, one of his enemy target's plane disintegrated during a head-on dog fight. Before he could pull away, part of the wreckage disabled his left engine, which soon burst into flame, forcing him to bail out. Richard was taken captive and spent 21 months as a prisoner of war.

This book has been read and raved about by several members of the P‑38 Association. It's an excellent, and significant read. You should definitely pick up your own copy today.

"P-38 Odyssey is a treasure." -Tom Brokaw

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Lockeed P-38-5-LO

Lockheed P-38L-5-LO Lightning

A compilations of the 4-view color profile, scale plans and photo details of the single variant of the Lockheed P-38L-5-LO Lightning.

Scale plans in 1/72 and 1/48 scales plus drawings from wartime technical manuals. Also photos of the details in B&W and color.

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P-38 Lightning Unforgetttable Missions of Skill and Luck P-38 Lightning: Unforgettable Missions

Book Review

A first-rate book full of the experiences of those people who had flown or serviced the P-38 fighter in its various incarnations across a variety of venues during the Second World War. One of the most fascinating things I learned from reading this book was about the various peacetime roles carried out by Lightnings (e.g. cloud seeding and flying high altitude photography jobs all over the world for mapping purposes). This book is highly recommended for any aviation enthusiast who wants to read some fantastic stories about one of the most phenomenal aircraft ever built.

Phantom Father

Phantom Father: A Daughter's Quest for Elegy

Written by our own Sharon Taylor, this book about her commitment and just sheer tenacity in tracking down her father's crash site in German and assuring that his remains were returned to America, is a fascinating read and a story well worth knowing.

Book Review

It's such a powerful story and reflects well devotion and persistence in telling the story of a daughter's love for her father and of their continuing bond. --John Harvey, Editor of the Journal of Loss and Trauma and Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, University of Iowa

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The Lost Squadron The Lost Squadron
Every fan of the P-38 Lightning has probably heard the remarkable story of "Glacier Girl," the plane recovered from beneath a Greenland glacier and restored to airworthy status.

The "Greenland Expedition" is the story of legends, of commitment beyond what most of us an image. It's worth a read and worth watching the History Channel special about the expedition (Time Machine: The Hunt For The Lost Squadron).

Book Review

Ghosts From The Past
It is absolutely amazing to see the lengths that dedicated people will go to for history. Most people could not care less about these ancient aircraft, but to those who know, no amount of effort at their retrieval is too much. The fact that these men were able to dig down into the Greenland ice, in very difficult conditions, is a testament to their interest in WW2 history. It must have been thrilling to see "Glacier Girl" fly again. These aircraft represent a significant part of American and world history. They should not be forgotten. I highly recommend this book to people who are interested in WW2, it is well worth it.

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P-38 Plane Essentials Plane Essentials: P-38 Lightning
We've included this book because of its unsual content. It is 4th in a series of books written as detailed studies on aircraft types that have been significant in the history of aviation, of which the P-38 Lightning was certainly one!

It outlines the P-38’s development, production, and operational service. In addition to its principal role as a fighter, the P-38 was also used to considerable effect as an "eyes in the sky" reconnaissance aircraft, and this book covers that variation as well as the many other versions of this versatile plane. There are detailed photos of the cockpit interior and equipment, while cutaway drawings demonstrate the P-38’s inner features and unique layout. There is even a section dedicated to modelling to help hobbyists build accurate replicas.

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P-38 Lightning Aces of the 82nd Fighter Group P-38 Lightning Aces of the 82nd FG

John Stanaway, among others, has written an excellent series of books on the P-38 Aces of the various theaters (PTO, MTO, ETO, etc.) Here are all of those titles for your enjoyment.

Book Review

Excellent History of a Top-Scoring P-38 Unit!
Activated in February 1941, the 82nd FG was somewhat unique in that many of its original pilots were EMs (Staff Sergeants), part of a new AAF program to create needed combat pilots. Whatever their rank, the pilots of the 82nd FG made their presence felt as soon as their P-38s entered combat over North Africa in December 1942.

Back in 1992, author Blake and John Stanaway authored Adorimini, the definitive 82nd FG history now long out of print. Blake's Osprey volume is a follow-up of sorts with new information, photographs and 12 pages of absolutely super Chris Davey color profiles.

Great American Pilots. I know one of these pilots. Dick (Willsie) lived next to me and i even saw a special on TV where he was interviewed about being shot down in Italy, and picked up by another pilot and flew on to Russia. He had many very interesting stories to tell about his exploits. [NOTE: The incident mentioned was referred to as the "Romanian Rescue Mission," and you can read the story and see the photos here.]

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P-38 Lightning Aces of the 82nd Fighter Group P-38 Lightning in World War II Color
While there are countless books with black-and-white images of the P-38 during the war, color photos were not as commonplace then as they are now. Have today's youth seen any B&W pix? Well, this book has a bunch of them.

Book Review

This is an excellent picture book and a very nice introduction to research on the P-38. It features photos taken in color from production shots to training photos, to pictures taken at wartime bases of operation. Also presented are snapshots of pilots and ground crew members, showing a reality that is sometimes lost to black and white photography. Text is informative but not intrusive. I think this is a fine book, and well worth many re-visits.

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P-38 Association Book The Allison Engine Catalog
Many of you know that the P-38 ran on two Allison V-1710 engines. If you want to know more...this is the book for you!

Book Review

An Outstanding Read!
This book provides a broad and fascinating survey of Allison engines and products, covering nearly everything except proprietary and still-classified aerospace products. While it does not attempt to address every model where there were many variants (such as the V-1710), it makes up for the lack of such minutia by exposing the reader to many new concepts, projects and products.

John Leonard, a third-generation Allison employee and long-time editor/contributor of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust Allison Branch Newsletter, has combined his vast knowledge of Allison engines with pictures, drawings and information from the Allison archives to produce this very enjoyable work.

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San Joaquin Siren The San Joaquin Siren,
an American Ace in WWII's CBI*

The San Joaquin Siren is the true-life adventure of a determined young man who decided he was going to become a P-38 pilot.

With the odds stacked against him from birth, Bill used his grit, drive, and quick mind to make his dream become a reality. Bill's story goes far beyond the tale of a pilot and his place in the history of WWII. The authors lead the reader on a first-hand adventure through the sometimes unorthodox escapades of Bill's flight-training experience through his travels to exotic locations in Southeast Asia with unforgettable descriptions of people and places halfway around the world.

Told in an engaging style by authors William Behrns with Kenneth Moore, The San Joaquin Siren is a compelling read for those interested in being fully entertained by travel adventures, WWII history, and the strength of this American's spirit and will.

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*CBI = China-Burma-India theater of opertions

Fork-Tailed Devil Book Fork-Tailed Devil The P-38 Lightning

Book Review

I am a pilot and I love the WWII airplanes. My favorite is and always has been the P38. This is a great book for fans of that plane..Or for that matter fans of airplanes. Although the P51 gets all the press Caliden makes a great case for the P38 as the outstanding fighter of WWII. P38's shot down more planes than any other allied airplane. They served as fighters, bomber escorts, bombers, recon, interceptors, ground support and as night fighters They had the longest range of any fighter in the war. They could carry almost as much bomb weight as the B17 They even flew on skies. Nothing else flying did anywhere near this stuff. And they were the fastest plane we had at the time.

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View all "P-38 Lightning" books available from Amazon.