Our Aviation Book of the Month

Looking for a new book to read this month? Each month we select one of our favorite aviation books to be our book of the month.

Here you will find an in depth look at our selection along with what makes it such a great read. Learn the backstory, read reviews, and find out how the story is included in our museum. These are the books that inspire us and help us learn more about the wonderful world of Aviation.

Soaring to Glory:
A Tuskegee Airman’s Firsthand Account of World War II

by Philip Handleman with Lt. Col. Harry T. Stewart Jr.

Photo of Soaring to Glory: A Tuskegee Airman’s Firsthand Account of World War II


This is the remarkable true story of Lt. Col. Harry Stewart Jr., one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen pilots who experienced air combat during World War II. Award-winning aviation writer Philip Handleman recreates the harrowing action and heart-pounding drama of Stewart's combat missions, including the legendary mission in which Stewart downed three enemy fighters.

He had to sit in a segregated rail car on the journey to Army basic training in Mississippi in 1943. But two years later, the twenty-year-old African American from New York was at the controls of a P-51, prowling for Luftwaffe aircraft at five thousand feet over the Austrian countryside. By the end of World War II, he had done something that nobody could take away from him:

He had become an American hero.

Soaring to Glory also reveals the cruel injustices Stewart and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen faced during their wartime service and upon return home after the war. Stewart's heroism was not celebrated as it should have been in postwar America--but now, his boundless courage and determination will never be forgotten.

Photo of Lt. Col. Harry T. Stewart Jr. and other Tuskegee Airmen

Connection To The Museum of Flight

Untold Stories
Here at The Museum of Flight we strive to tell stories that have been overlooked. Stories of the Tuskegee Airmen can be found in our Untold Stories revamped WWII exhibit.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African Americans to fly fighter aircraft in the Army Air Force during World War II. They were all part of the 332 Fighter Group which was comprised of the 99th, 100th 301st and 302nd Fighter Squadrons.

Though the Tuskegee Airmen are primarily associated with the North American P-51 Mustang, like the one in the Personal Courage Wing at the Museum, they also flew other fighter planes. Two of those fighters are also displayed in the PCW, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

The 99th Fighter Squadron was originally equipped with the Curtiss P-40 when it deployed to North Africa in 1943 and later from bases in Sicily and Italy. The other squadrons deployed in 1944, briefly with Bell P-39 Airacobras and P-47 Thunderbolts before transitioning to the P-51 Mustang in July 1944.

About Lt. Col. Harry T. Stewart Jr.

"AT 95, HARRY STEWART is sharp-minded, amiable, and talkative. There is a kindness in his voice that belies his achievements: 75 years earlier, Stewart was flying P-51 Mustangs over Europe with the fabled “Red Tails,” the 332nd Fighter Group made up of African American pilots in the then-segregated U.S. military. He flew 43 combat missions—scoring three kills, all in one day—while escorting and protecting heavy bombers to their targets. While Stewart encountered racism throughout his flying career, he has maintained a positive attitude that helped propel him to top positions as an engineer and company executive." —Interview with HistoryNet. Read more here.

Photo Lt. Col. Harry T. Stewart Jr. at 95

About the Author

Philip Handleman
Philip Handleman is the author of twenty-three aviation books and recipient of awards for his contributions to aviation, including the Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award from the Tuskegee Airmen National Museum. Mr. Handleman is a longtime pilot who flies antique aircraft out of his private airport. He belongs to more than 30 aviation organizations.


4.17 Stars on Goodreads      4.7 Stars on Amazon

  • "This book is a masterpiece. It captures the essence of the Tuskegee Airmen's experience from the perspective of one who lived it. The action sequences make me feel I'm back in the cockpit of my P-51C 'Kitten'! If you want to know what it was like fighting German interceptors in European skies while winning equal opportunity at home, be sure to read this book!" —Colonel Charles E. McGee, USAF (ret.) former president, Tuskegee Airmen Inc.
  • “All Americans owe Harry Stewart Jr. and his fellow airmen a huge debt for defending our country during World War II. In addition, they have inspired generations of African American youth to follow their dreams.”—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
  • “Starting in the early 1940s, Tuskegee Institute was at the forefront of helping prepare young African-American pilots to fight for freedom in the skies. Harry Stewart is one of those aspiring aviators who came to our campus as a first step in earning their wings, and then went on to become proudly identified as a Tuskegee Airman. His story of serving our country and overcoming obstacles—not to mention the legacy the Tuskegee Airmen leave us with—is an inspiration for us all.” —Lily D. McNair / president of Tuskegee University
  • “It is marvelous when a fascinating, well-written book turns out to be socially important as well. Soaring to Glory is exactly that, and arrives at a time when its message is badly needed by the nation. This is a book that can be recommended for a wide variety of reasons, the most important of which is the standard it sets for aviation literature.” —Walter J. Boyne / former director, Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and best-selling author

Pick Up Your Copy Here!

Soaring to Glory: A Tuskegee Airman’s Firsthand Account of World War II

See June's Book of the Month Here  

See May's Book of the Month Here