A Few Planes for China: The Birth of the Flying Tigers

Eugenie Buchan ’74

In the standard telling, the Flying Tigers were created by U.S. Army Air Corps Colonel Claire Chennault (with funding courtesy of FDR). Drawing on new sources, A Few Planes for China: The Birth of the Flying Tigers by Eugenie Buchan ’74 overturns that history and argues that the Tigers were more attributable to the British than to the Americans.

Buchan draws on wide-ranging new sources to demonstrate how this strange experiment in airpower was accidental rather than intentional; haphazard decisions and changing threat perceptions shaped its organization and deprived it of resources. In the end it was the British—more than any American in or out of government—who got the Tigers off the ground. On the eve of Pearl Harbor, the most important man behind the Flying Tigers was not Claire Chennault but Winston Churchill. (ForeEdge, 2017)

A Few Planes for China: The Birth of the Flying Tigers by Eugenie Buchan ’74