My True Course: Dutch Van Kirk Northumberland to Hiroshima

( 7 )

Overview

2013 Military Writers Society of America Silver Award in Biography

Look out your window and you can see him; he looks like the boy next door, a Depression-era kid. The now ninety-year-old gentleman with a glint in his eye, a remarkable memory, and a sharp wit became in 2011 the only living crewman from the Boeing Silverplate B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945. A debate continued for more than half a century with his former commanding ...

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Overview

2013 Military Writers Society of America Silver Award in Biography

Look out your window and you can see him; he looks like the boy next door, a Depression-era kid. The now ninety-year-old gentleman with a glint in his eye, a remarkable memory, and a sharp wit became in 2011 the only living crewman from the Boeing Silverplate B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945. A debate continued for more than half a century with his former commanding officer, Paul Tibbets, until his death about how Dutch Van Kirk came to navigate the Enola Gay from Tinian in the southwest Pacific Ocean to Honshu, one of the main islands of Japan. The answer is part of Dutch’s biographical chronicle My True Course from his hometown Northumberland, Pennsylvania, to the Pacific Theatre. Letters from home, his own correspondence, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, military orders, presidential speeches, and interviews of family members and others from the “greatest generation” build the chapters of his story.

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What People Are Saying

Col. Carroll V. Glines
This extensive biography of Dutch Van Kirk synthesizes the significant historical events taking place during his life to give readers an unusual insight into one man’s thoughts and experiences leading up to an important role in helping to end World War II. --Col. Carroll V. Glines, USAF (Ret), author of The Doolittle Raid: America's Daring First Strike Against Japan
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780692016763
  • Publisher: Red Gremlin Press LLC
  • Publication date: 4/9/2012
  • Pages: 600
  • Sales rank: 972,673
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne Simon Dietz is the historian for the Town of Porter, Niagara County, and the Aero Club of Buffalo, New York. She has lectured in Western New York on local history topics and in particular German prisoners of war held at Fort Niagara, a major POW camp during World War II. She is the author of Porter Images of America, Lewiston Images of America, Honor Thy Fathers & Mothers: Niagara Frontier’s Legacy of Patriotism and Survival, POW’s Interned at Fort Niagara: A Reference Manual, and co-author with Amy Lynn Freiermuth for Lewiston Then & Now. She writes and researches for the Niagara Aerospace Museum, and presently is working on a collection of veterans’ stories from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. She has consulted for the history of the Tuscarora Indian Nation and also contributed to several books on Niagara County history and numerous local history publications.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2012

    Please do not pay any attention to flyboy1944, he is a member of

    Please do not pay any attention to flyboy1944, he is a member of our modeling club and is a sick and vial individual, he claims to know all of the aviation greats and is a self proclaimed aviation historian. Far from it, he stalks veterans and acquires artifacts for resale on Ebay. He attacks the author like a Pit Bull as he treats anyone anyone he feels will not agree with him or kiss his ring for his self proclaimed greatness.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Not what I thought it would be about.

    I don't usually bother writing anything about what I think after I've read a book, but I felt strongly enough about this book to write here, since I purchase many aviation books from Barnes and Noble. I had a chance to meet Dutch in person back in April at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy museum, where he was signing his book. I've met him at other events, when he was signing the book The 509th Remembered. While reading My True Course, I was very disappointed to find it wasn't at all what I expected it would be. I thought I was going to be reading a book about Dutch's military experiences in combat within his various bomb groups, i.e. what he went through, saw, etc. There's really nothing like that in this book, other than a little bit on the Hiroshima atomic bomb drop. The majority of this book is about Dutch's relationship with his various family members during the war. The part about his personal letters drew me in, but they were just Dutch's family correspondence. It was more of the same on almost every page, with a bit of already known history intermixed within the text. It was a very frustrating read, and close to impossible to finish.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2012

    Bought this book Friday at the National Museum of the USAF in Da

    Bought this book Friday at the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton OH after hearing Dutch VanKirk speak. I am half way through the book and love how this book is written and feel it is a piece of history on a more personal level. Came on this website to buy another copy for my father in law because he was so jealous. I see that a previous poster only gave it one-star. They must not have read the book just like I am not going to their horrible review.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2012

    Not at all what it was supposed to be. An outright disappointment of the highest order.

    I'd known Paul W. Tibbets (until he passed) and Ted "Dutch" Van Kirk personally for years. Three books recommended to me by Ted "Dutch" Van Kirk and Paul Tibbets, are THE 509the REMEMBERED, THE SILVERPLATE BOMBERS (with an excellent forward by Paul W. Tibbets), and in it's several excellent continuous and updated reprints, ENOLA GAY, by Paul W.Tibbets), give you accurate, truthful knowledge of what Dutch was involved in, who with and equipment and weapons used. Those three books were written by aviation enthusiasts (and the commander of the 509th) FOR aviation enthusiasts, endorsed and recommended to me by both Paul and Dutch. When you compare My True Course against any of these three books (books that were recommended to me by the men who were there), there's no comparison. There's more concern with footnotes and Dutch's family history, than there is about Dutch's relationship to WW2 aviation and the August 6th, 1945 Hiroshima, Japan atomic bomb drop. Dietz's overpowering interest in researching Dutch's family (the uncle of the aunt of the brother's sister's wife's uncle's nephew's son (etc.), became such an obsession that she had to be pushed in 2011 by Dutch to stop pursuing that tact. Dietz knew nothing about any of what she's written relating to aviation history and aviators, other than what she's pulled out of archives and other books. Nothing unique or "new" is written in "My True Course", other than Dutch's (although 'edited' by the author) letters, woven through her interviews with Dutch, which she of course edited. What Dutch (and many other US Army Air Corp's veterans experienced in way of the reality of aerial warfare has been "cleansed" by this author, in a way that absolutely reeks of a type of revisionism. Like myself, many of you who have a true knowledge of many aspects of aviation history and who've unfortunately plunked down $40 (it's available new for $25 all over, and dropping fast) to read Dietz's heavily footnoted failure, get that same "something's missing" feeling. One gets that "something's missing" feeling, because what you're experiencing when you read My True Course, is Dietz's "new found" understanding of aviation history. If you've purchased it, your seeing first hand that this book wasn't written by an author who has the experience and knowledge of being from within (or having had any interest in) the field of aviation, aviation history, or her association with any well known aviators. Her knowledge and understanding of any type of aviation information, no matter how it would relate to what or to whom (war, aviators, aircraft, etc.), comes only from what Dietz found in other books, or in archives. Unlike other well known and respected aviation authors, Dietz doesn't come from a background of having any interest in aviation in any way, shape or form, which is why an aviation "flavor" (for lack of a better term) from this book is missing. Those three books I mention at the beginning (concerning the 509th), are what I'd hoped My True Course was going to have been able to stand along side of. Instead, it falls far short from anything every written on the 509th, the 20th Air Force, or anything ever written on the US involvement in the air war in the Pacific during WW2.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

    If you liked "Unbroken" - you'll love "My True Co

    If you liked "Unbroken" - you'll love "My True Course" - another great story of an American hero and the family who waited for him.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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