Today's recommended book is 100th Bomb Group pilot and POW Herbert Alf's Petals of Fire. Herb conceived and wrote this book over a fifty-year span. He began it as a prisoner of war in Germany, writing on BOTH sides of sheets of toilet paper, which he stored in a 'secret compartment' in a dime store wallet. The Germans never found it. In 1999, Petals of Fire was published in a limited quantity of 2,000 books. It is almost impossible to find a copy anymore, but anyone wishing to read it, get in touch with me about possibly borrowing mine. It is a historical novel in which Herb tried to cover all aspects of strategic aerial bombing.
I had the good fortune to get to know Herb quite well while writing my own book. We had several very enjoyable days together at his home in Roseberg, Oregon with Herb and his wife Sylvia.
Herb passed away a few years ago and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was an artist, a sculptor, an educator and one of the finest men I've ever met. His book is must reading for any air war historian or 100th Bomb Group member, especially anyone interested in the POW experience.
One of the only known photos of Herb as a pilot, taken when he was in flight training Stateside. Enlarged and edited for clarity and color by R. Morris