Thursday, September 22, 2011

From the smallest daily details...

Renowned for decades as the world’s foremost railroad artist, Howard Fogg’s career spanned half a century and some 1,200 paintings. However, while his art has been welcomed for decades, few of his enthusiasts have been aware of his prior career, as a fighter pilot in the U.S. 8th Air Force during World War II. Fortunately Fogg left behind a detailed diary of his experiences, proving himself as adept with a pen as with a brush, and his day-to-day comments illuminate this brief but exciting aspect of his life, as he engaged in direct combat with the Luftwaffe at the controls of P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs.

Based in England with the 359th Fighter Group, Captain Fogg flew 76 missions in bomber escort and ground attack roles. From his backstage encounter in a London theater with Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Leigh, to the pre-dawn chaplain’s benediction on June 6, 1944, to a mission escorting B-17s as they flew below the snow-capped Alps dropping supplies to French freedom fighters, his diary offers a firsthand look at his fascinating and often unexpected wartime career.

Fogg in the Cockpit offers a frank and fascinating glimpse into the life of a fighter pilot, both in the sky and in wartime England. Through 1943–44 it offers a confidential perspective of life as a “flyboy,” during which Howard was awarded the Air Medal with three clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross with one cluster.

The diary is supplemented with material by Richard and Janet Fogg as well as excerpts from the Chaplain’s Informal Monthly Reports of Morale, and the Monthly Reports of the 359th Group Historian. It also incorporates period photographs and examples of Howard’s artwork, including previously unpublished political cartoons and preliminary drawings.

From the smallest daily details of the airmen’s life to the strategic and tactical decisions that affected their fates, Fogg in the Cockpit presents a hidden side of one of the 20th century’s great artistic geniuses, with a vivid look at the life of a fighter pilot in World War II.

(Text from inside front book jacket.)

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