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last modified February 18, 2019

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"Area 51 Black Jets" (Bill Yenne)

The first line of the dust jacket sums it up perfectly: "When most of us think of Area 51, we think of aliens, UFOs, and controversial government cover-ups.  It's easy to forget that Area 51 is a real place and that, since the mid-1950s, it has been the site of beyond-top-secret CIA and U.S. Air Force aircraft that have represented many of the most groundbreaking advancements in American military technology."  Yenne keeps to the facts and sheds light on the true purpose of the base at Groom Dry Lake, which is testing classified aircraft systems (including aircraft and radar systems obtained from other governments).  Lavishly illustrated with photos on every page, most in full color, and many that have not seen the light of day, this is a well-researched volume that is worth adding to your library.

ISBN: 978-0-7603-4426-2

"Beale Air Force Base During the Cold War" (James B. Quest)

Similar in format to Images of America: Lockheed, James Quest presents a complete pictorial history of the base that has always been home to the U-2 and SR-71.  Working with the Beale History Office, he presents photos showing construction of the base, as well as day-to-day operations over the base's entire history.  All aircaft based their are covered, including the B-52 and KC-135.  Some of these photos you've seen before, but most will probably be new to you, and all are well-researched and captioned with plenty of details.  Definitely worth a look.

ISBN: 978-1-4671-3081-3
cover: Blackbird Rising

"Blackbird Rising" (Donn Byrnes and Kenneth Hurley)

We have a winner. A brand new volume about the development and flight testing of the Blackbird, told by two gentlemen who were there and lived throught it. This is a true first-hand account, not an "as told to" book like some others.  The foreword begins: "The legend has been planted that the magnificent SR-71 Blackbird sprang, Zeus-like, from the brain of Kelly Johnson and directly to operational status on the ramp at Beale. Not so! How do I know? Because I spent most of the time between those events not knowing." So writes Jeanne Hurley, the wife of one of the authors.  From there on the book talks about the struggles to exceed the acheivable in aeronautics while maintaining secrecy, time tables, and budgets.  By the end of the book, the reader is acutely aware of just how much effort by how many talented and dedicated people it took to turn the challenge of a Mach 3 vehicle into a success.

Donn Byrnes and the late Ken Hurley let their words, not pictures, tell the story.  Outside of a plan-view drawing of the A-12, YF-12, SR-71A and B, and the XB-70, there is not a single photo or illustration in this 343-page volume. And to their credit, this book doesn't need them.

ISBN: 0967332702

cover: Black Magic

"Black Magic" (Michael O'Leary & Eric Schulzinger)

A beautiful coffee-table book written by two Lockheed photographers.  There's more text here than just photo captions, but to be honest the photos are so good that you might not even notice the printed word.  For those of you not familiar with his work, Eric Shulzinger was a reknowned photographer even before he went to work for Lockheed; he is also responsible for the blue photo on the habu.org banner page.  He and O'Leary present some of the best photos that they have taken for Lockheed over the years.  Although out of print, it's a great book to have if you can find a copy.

ISBN: 0879383585 (out of print)

cover: Combat Legend SR-71 Blackbird

"Combat Legend SR-71 Blackbird" (Paul Crickmore)

review pending

ISBN: 1840373822

cover: Complete Book of the SR-71 Blackbird

"The Complete Book of the SR-71 Blackbird: The Illustrated Profile of Every Aircraft, Crew, and Breakthrough of the World's Fastest Stealth Jet" (Richard Graham)

Wow.  It's hard to talk about this book without using any superlatives.  This is Col. Graham's fifth book on the blackbirds, and if you thought he covered everything in the first four you're in for a surprise.  Just like his previous book, this is a coffee-table book that you can read; and if you don't feel like reading you can just drool over it.  There are scores of photos that have never been published, and a complete visual walk-through of the SR-71 cockpit, this time with photos of every switch, panel, gauge, and readout.  No matter how many other books on the SR-71 you might already have, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up (it's also available for the Kindle here).

ISBN: 978-0760348499

cover: Flying the SR-71

"Flying the SR-71: In the Cockpit On a Secret Operational Mission" (Richard Graham)

The third volume from Richard Graham on the SR-71.  In his first book, Col. Graham gave us a "check ride" in the B-model trainer, walking us thru every knob, switch and dial in the cockpit, and when/how each one was used during a training flight.  This volume goes one step further.  This time we're not in the B-model on a training flight; we're in an A-model on an operational mission - or rather, everything that the crew would do on an operational mission.  Even if you have his other two books, don't make the mistake of overlooking this one.  There's new material that you don't want to miss.
See the publisher's synopsis here.

ISBN: 0760332398

cover: Rainbow to Gusto

"From RAINBOW to GUSTO: Stealth and the Design of the Lockheed Blackbird" (Paul A. Suhler)

This is one of the most enjoyable technical books on the blackbirds, specifically focusing on the history and development of stealth within the design.  Suhler has done a substantial amount of legwork researching this volume, interviewing as many of the original participants as possible (some of whom passed on before the book was published).  If you want an accurately documented (and footnoted) volume with a large number of first-person recollections, and nearly a hundred diagrams that have not been previously published, then look no further.

ISBN: 978-1-60086-712-5

cover: Habu and Dragonlady

"Habu and Dragonlady: Behind the Scenes" (Jerry F. Moncree)

If you're looking for a book about the blackbird itself, this isn't it.  Take another look at the title and you'll see the words "behind the scenes" -- and that's exactly what the book covers.  The blackbird's job was to reconnoiter, not to wow the enemy with its speed.  The pilot's job was to get the RSO in the back seat to the target area.  The RSO's job was to work the cameras and sensors to ensure a good take.  And it was Jerry Moncree's job to make sure that those systems had the necessary support.

Moncree's book reminds me of novels by Michael Crichton and James Mitchner, in that he has to lay down a lot of background information in order to tell his story.  The first 100 pages or so seem to take a while to get thru, but the pace really picks up after that.  All in all, another good first-hand account of the blackbird's world. 

ISBN: 0970270402

"History of the Office of Special Activities (OSA) From Inception to 1969" (Helen Kleyla)

The full title is Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Directorate of Science & Technology (DST), History of the Office of Special Activities (OSA) From Inception to 1969 released on appeal by Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) (Final Release), 2016.  It is just that, a declassified document covering the early history of the Blackbird programs up until 1969.  There is literally a ton of information here; at 851 pages, it would probably take less time to go through the SR-71 Flight Manual.  If you have the time, you can review every Black Shield mission, the flight track, the target objectives, and in some cases even samples of imagery from those missions.

Downloadable as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file (all 59MB of it) here: http://www.governmentattic.org/21docs/CIAhistOSAincep-1969Final.pdf

ISBN: n/a
cover:  Lockheed A-12

"Lockheed A-12: The CIA's Blackbird and other variants (Paul Crickmore)

review pending

ISBN: 9781472801135

cover: Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions

"Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions" (Paul F. Crickmore)

The title isn't the only thing that's been rewritten for Crickmore's third edition of Lockheed SR-71: The Secret Missions Exposed.  While the second edition added the Det-1 flight records and information about the NASA program and temporary USAF re-activation, this third edition is more of a rewrite than an update.  Not only have more photos been added, but the YF-12 has moved from the appendix up to its proper place with its own chapter in the blackbird history.  It's still one of the definitive volumes on the subject, and is a must-have for any true blackbird enthusiast.

ISBN: 1841766941

cover: Lockheed Blackbird Family

"Lockheed Blackbird Family: A-12, YF-12, D-21/M21 & SR-71 Photo Scrapbook" (Tony Landis)

There are so many books on the blackbirds that finding anything that hasn't already been covered several times over becomes more and more difficult.  Tony Landis has managed to clear that obstacle with his latest volume.  Similar to his X-15 Photo Scrapbook co-authored with Dennis Jenkins, Landis shows rather than tells the 40-year history of the blackbirds.  True, there are quite a few photos that blackbird fans will find familiar, but there are more than 100 images that have never been published until now.  Each photo is captioned with details regarding dates, locations, tail numbers, and any other pertinent information.  Well worth the cover price.

ISBN: 978-1-58007-151-2

cover: Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions - Revised Edition

"Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions (Revised Edition)" (Paul F. Crickmore)

Based on the number of times his name appears on this page, you might wonder what yet another volume from Paul Crickmore might contain that his previous works do not.  The answer is, quite a bit.  Calling this a revised edition is an understatement; this incarnation of Secret Missions adds photos that you probably haven't seen before, from a variety of sources, and almost all of them in color.  The fact that a wealth of information on the A-12 has now been declassified, and that color printing doesn't cost much more than traditional black-and-white, sets the stage for a volume that spans nearly 500 pages - in fact the only thicker volumes on the blackbirds are the flight manuals!  Don't let having the older editions hold you back, this is a major rewrite and well worth scoring a copy.

ISBN: 9781472815231

cover: Lockheed Blackbirds

"Lockheed Blackbirds" (Tony Landis and Dennis Jenkins)

This is not just a second edition of Lockheed SR-71/YF-12 Blackbirds.  Landis and Jenkins have done a major rewrite, and included a wealth of new material.  Even if you have the earlier volume from the Warbird Tech series, you owe it to yourself to check out the newer version.

ISBN: 1580070868

cover:  Lockheed SR-71 (A-12/YF-12/D-21)

"Lockheed SR-71 (A-12 / YF-12 / D-21)" (Jay Miller)

An earlier (1983) abridged version (only 20 pages) of the Aerofax-1 book listed below.

(out of print)

cover:  Lockheed SR-71 (A-12/YF-12/D-21)

"Lockheed SR-71 (A-12 / YF-12 / D-21)" (Jay Miller)

This edition's been out of print for some time, but it's listed as a source in several books and specifically in the Testors model kits, and as a result everyone wants a copy.  If you can find one, it's a good book to have, but Miller includes the same information in his Skunkworks Official History, and much more information has become available on the blackbirds since this book was published in 1985.  It's hard to justify some of the prices this 40-page book has been known to fetch at online auctions, especially while Miller's other works are still in print.

ISBN: 0942548256 (out of print)

cover:  Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

"Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird" (Paul F Crickmore)

review pending

ISBN: 0850456533

cover:  Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

"Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird" (Paul Crickmore)

At exactly 64 pages including the table of contents and index, this book doesn't seem to carry much weight.  Somehow, Crickmore has managed to cram just about everything you need to know about the blackbirds in the narrow gap between the covers.  His previous volumes are still required reading, but if you need to get brought up to speed very quickly on what the SR-71 is, what did, and why it still has no peer in the aviation world a half century after its first flight, this book is for you.

ISBN: 9781472804921

cover:  Lockheed's SR-71 'Blackbird' Family (A-12, F-12, M-21, D-21, SR-71)

"Lockheed's SR-71 'Blackbird' Family (A-12, F-12, M-21, D-21, SR-71)" (Jim Goodall and Jay Miller)

Goodall and Miller have teamed up to resurrect the two Aerofax book listed above.  If you took the best of those books, added in the chapters from Millers' Skunkworks Official History, and a large collection of photos as in Goodall's SR-71 Blackbird, you'd have something similar to this volume.  Even so, there are a number of "new" historic photos from the Tony Landis Collection that make this book worthwhile.

ISBN: 1857801385

cover: Lockheed SR-71 Operations in the Far East

"Lockheed SR-71 Operations in the Far East" (Paul F. Crickmore)

At first glance, this appears to be a scaled-down version of Crickmore's Secret Missions Exposed work. Closer inspection will reveal new facts and details that were classified when those books were written, but that can now be told. Also of particular interest to tailspotters and scale modelers are the dozen or so color plates showing early A-12 and M/D-21 markings, along with quite a few notable examples of unique tail art over the blackbird's career.

ISBN: 1846033195 (also available as an Amazon eBook)

cover: Lockheed SR-71 - The Mach 3 Blackbird

"Lockheed SR-71:  The Mach 3 Blackbird" (Paul F. Crickmore)

Primarily a photo essay, this book provides an excellent visual record of the entire Det 4 way of life.  In addition to the outstanding photos of the SR-71, the author profiles the support crews, refuelling squadrons and even the armed guards who protect this national treasure.  Most of the photos were taken at Mildenhall RAF during the late 1980s.  If you spent a few days with the Blackbird program, this book gives a very good example of everything you might see.  Very few written words, but the pictures speak volumes.

ISBN: 1855327120

"Lockheed SR-71:  The Secret Missions Exposed" (Paul F. Crickmore)

While there are many outstanding books on the blackbirds, this one ranks among the top three.  Exhaustively researched, this book probably contains more detailed information about the aircraft than most people could want to know.  Until the SENIOR CROWN and OXCART programs are completely declassified, this will probably remain the most complete single source of information on the blackbird.  Contains hundreds of historic photos, not just of hardware but of flight crews and other people involved in The Program.  If you want a listing of every flight crew and every check ride, it's here.

ISBN: 1855326817

"Lockheed SR-71/YF-12 Blackbirds" (Dennis R. Jenkins)

Jenkins does a good job of writing a book that fills in the gaps between some of the other blackbird literature out there.  It's not a definitive source on the subject but doesn't claim to be.  One thing Jenkins does better than anyone before him is to show the evolution of the Archangel from the A-1 (what Ben Rich called a "300-foot-long wide-body dog") to what we have come to know as the A-12.  Also contains interesting diagrams from the original crew manuals.

ISBN: 0933424752

"MiG Pilot: The Final Escape of Lieutenant Belenko" (John Barron)

Outside of a few passing mentions of the SR-71 in the later chapters, there is nothing about the blackbirds in this book.  That's not the point.  The point is that in order to tell the story of the blackbird, you must also tell the story of the U-2 (its predecessor and now successor) and the MiG-25 (its adversary).  Barron wrote this book based on Belenko's notes, and Belenko himself (who spoke no English when he defected) endorses this book in a 1996 interview in Full Context.

The book is not so much about how he defected, but more on the man's life and why he defected.  At times the author gets a little overzeoulous in his denouncing the Soviet communist system (perhaps unaware that his own government can be capable of similar acts of stupidity), but he does a good job of setting the record straight on what did and didn't happen on and after September 6, 1976.  Read this book and you'll understand what was probably the big inspiration behind Tom Clancey 's The Hunt for Red October.

ISBN: 0070038503 (out of print)
cover: Military Aircraft of the World

"Military Aircraft of the World Special Edition: SR-71 Blackbird"

It was the number one best seller in aviation books on amazon.co.jp the week it was published.  Without a Japanese translator, I can't tell you much more than that, other than it is lavishly illustrated with full color photos and diagrams supplied by Tony Landis.  There are some photos here which have not been published previously, including several from the 2017 Blackbird Reunion.  More information (in Japanese) here: https://tinyurl.com/sr71japan

ISBN: 9784802204637

cover: Mission to Chara

"Mission to Chara" (Lynn Boughey)

It's billed as a Tom Clancey-style book about the blackbird, and that it is.  Oddly enough, Boughey is at his best when the narrative doesn't involve the SR-71.  While some of the technical aspects of the actual "mission" (flying a NASA SR-71 into Russia to extract a deep-cover operative) are almost ludicrous, this is still a work of fiction and as such, the author should be able to use a little artistic license.  Boughey is well-travelled and the few liberties he takes with the blackbird are more than made up for by his first-hand descriptions of locations from Edwards AFB to Washington DC to Moscow and points between.  If you want a factual account of flying the blackbirds, read SR-71 Revealed by Rich Graham; if you want a fun, well-written, Clancey-esque story of suspense and intrigue, then give this book a try.

ISBN: 0942323327

cover: Oxcart Convoy

"Oxcart Convoy: How They Got To Area 51" (Frank Murray)

Written by LtCol Frank Murray (Mach 3+ checkride #33), this book outlines what it took to "secretly" move the A-12s from Burbank to The Ranch.  It's a short work, full of recently declassified photos.  Do yourself a favor and pick up this first-hand account of the blackbird's overland route, it's a treasure from a time long gone that we will never see the likes of again.

ISBN: 9781494961091

"Sky Spies: Three Decades of Airborne Reconnaissance" (Anthony Thornborough)

review pending

ISBN: 1854091476

"Sled Driver" (Brian Shul)

It looks like a coffee-table book and maybe it is, but there's some good reading between the two oversize covers.  Shul took almost every photograph himself, and they are as good as any aviation photos out there.  Without going into technical details, Shul gives a good outline of what it's like to fly the airplane; not necessarily how it handles high angles of attack or how hard it is to execute a missed approach, but more what the airplane took from him and what it gave back.  Not the cheapest book out there, but definitely worth having.

ISBN: 0929823087 (out of print)

"Sled Driver - Centennial of Flight Limited Edition" (Brian Shul)

Author and SR-71 pilot Brian Shul is taking orders for a limited edition rework of his now-out-of-print first SR-71 volume, Sled Driver.  For more details, visit his web site at sleddriver.com.

"Soaring With Destiny: A USAF Pilot's Memoirs" (Chuck Miller)

It's been said that the KC-135Q was the unsung hero of the SR-71 program.  Finally, someone who flew the airplane is singing.  LtCol Chuck Miller flew the Q-model from 1968 to 1973, and has some very interesting stories about what it was like to support the SR-71.  More than just war stories, the book covers his life from birth to present day, and outlines the choices he made and how they shaped the direction of his life and his career.  You can just read the 90 pages on his KC-135 career, but you'll miss out on three quarters of a very enjoyable read.
Miller walks a tightrope between being too technical and losing his audience, and being too broad and losing his audience.  The author manages to put it right between the uprights, keeping it interesting for everyone.  The theme of choices and consequences also keeps the stories stitched together with a common narrative thread.

ISBN: 978-0-9600237-0-7

"SR-71 Blackbird" (Paul Crickmore)

While the cover is similar to Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, they are different books.  This half-size hardcover 160-page book was deliberately produced as a pocket-size museum souvenier, yet doubles as a printed docent if you bought it when you arrived instead of when you're ready to leave.  Short and sweet, it still contains all the important history and facts about your favorite airplane.  An added bonus are the photos of all 30 surviving blackbirds as they are currently displayed.

ISBN: 9781472813152

"SR-71 Blackbird" (James Goodall)

You wouldn't believe how many photos can be fit into 82 pages.  Goodall has followed the blackbird program since the early days of OXCART, and at least half the photos were either taken by him or are from his personal collection.   Unique among all books on the blackbirds is his coverage of the M/D-21 TAGBOARD program.  His coverage is thorough enough to include photos of the launch control panels of the B-52 used to launch D-21s in SENIOR BOWL after TAGBOARD was cancelled, as well as the additional controls and instrumentation in the "Big Tail" (959) cockpits.  After being out of print for several years, the publisher has re-issued this title as of September 2000.

ISBN: 0897473388

"SR-71 Blackbird in Action" (Lou Drendel)

Don't call this a kid's book.  It's only 50 pages but it's packed with photos and information. If some of that info is sketchy, keep in mind that Drendel published this book in 1982 (and the OXCART and TAGBOARD programs didn't officially exist until 1981).  Although the Squadron "In Action" series of books are written with the modeler in mind, there is some good substance here, and for the price you can't go wrong with this book.

ISBN: 0897471369

"SR-71 Blackbird: Lockheed's Mach 3 Hot Shot" (Paul Crickmore)

review pending

ISBN: 0850457947

"SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales and Legends" (Rich Graham)

As an SR-71 author, Rich Graham's score is now 2-0.  In his first book, SR-71 Revealed, he did most of the talking; this time out he's more of a moderator, introducing 19 other "speakers" and offering background info where appropriate.  If you're tired of the same old how-high, how-fast blackbird fare, then get yourself a copy of this book and enjoy.  Sure, the blackbirds were amazing pieces of hardware, but it was people who built them, and people who made them what they were.  Here you have those same blackbird people telling their own stories in their own words --- it just doesn't get any better than this. Click here for more details.

ISBN: 0760311420

"SR-71 Inside Lockheed's Blackbird" (Michael O'Leary and Eric Schulzinger)

Published in 1991, this 128-page work by Lockheed's O'Leary and Schulzinger contains the same type of stunning photography as their previous work, Black Magic.  The tone this time is much more bitter, as the Air Force had just retired the fleet and NASA had not yet begun flying the blackbirds.  Looking back, O'Leary did a fantastic job at capturing the mood of blackbird crews and fans during the darkest days of 1990.  Not knowing what future awaited the fleet, these two did an admirable job of photographing her last days before her first retirement, and also documented how they set up the now-famous 11 blackbird group portrait, knowing that this was their last chance to see that many blackbirds together at one time.

ISBN: 0879385413 (out of print)

"SR-71 Najszybszy Samolot Swiata" (Tomasz Hypki)

Without a doubt this is the definitive work on the SR-71 - at least in the Polish language.  The quality of the print and paper is moderate at best.  In all fairness, though, the author has done his research; he includes several dozen photos, some of which have not appeared in other publications.  Also, this is the first book I've seen that has photos of all 3 crews from the speed record runs of July 1976.

ISBN: 838621709X

"SR-71 Pilot's Manual" (James Goodall)

OUT OF PRINT. Here it is, 1,058 pages straight from the SR-71A-1. Motorbooks managed to get one pressing of exactly 1500 copies out the door before all hell broke loose. Don't expect them to ever do a reprint, either. There is a story behind the publication of this book that I won't go into, but rest assured there were a few unamused faces out there when this book was released, even though Goodall went through official channels to get permission from the Air Force prior to publishing it.

The book itself is a photocopy-quality printing of the actual Dash 1.  The $100 cover price seems kind of steep, but is still cheaper than having a Dash 1 photocopied.  THIS BOOK DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY INFO ABOUT THE CAMERAS, RECON GEAR, OR ANY OTHER CLASSIFIED SYSTEM.  However, if you want to know how much fuel it takes to do a missed approach, it's in here.  Good luck finding a copy; it took me eight years to find mine.  Those of you who don't mind a 100 Mb download can get a version in Adobe PDF format by clicking here or here.

ISBN: 0879386584 (out of print)

"SR-71 Flight Manual"

You've heard about it, the rumors are true, the SR-71 Pilot's manual has finally been reprinted.

This will be the same as the one printed by Motorbooks 9 years previously, although with a different cover (the airframe in the photo is 962 if anyone's curious) and with some 40 pages that were still classified at the time of the Motorbooks pressing.

Click here for a limited-time discount offer from the publisher.

ISBN: 1931641765

"SR-71 Flight Manual: The Official Pilot's Handbook Declassified and Expanded with Commentary"

For anyone who missed the first two publications, the flight manual has been printed once again.  If you're looking for the missing pages from Chapter 4, keep looking; this edition has the same version of the manual as the Motorbooks edition.  What this version brings to the table are: 1) a 40-page full-color foreword by Rich Graham; and 2) a list price of less than half of the first edition when adjusted for inflation - and that's not taking discount prices into consideration.

If you're upset that this version still isn't "complete," just keep in mind that the missing pages are part of the reconnaissance gear (which have nothing to do with "flying" the plane), and that some of the systems are still in use by the U-2 and are still classified.

ISBN: 9780760351741

"SR-71 Revealed:  The Inside Story" (Richard H. Graham)

Buy this book.  Written by a retired blackbird pilot who went on to head the entire Program, this is THE book to get if you want to learn about the blackbird.  If you had a son who was accepted into the Program, wrote you every week and told you everything that was going on, you would have something like this book (assuming that your boy didn't land in the stockade for treason, of course).  It's all here... technical info, war stories, anecdotes, everything you were looking for.  Col. Graham donates all proceeds from his book to the J.T. Vida Memorial fund.  You can get it from your local bookstore, but you can order an autographed copy directly from the author.  Click here for more info.

ISBN: 0760301220

"SR-71 The Blackbird Q&A" (Terry Pappas)

Straight and to the point.  SR-71 pilot Terry Pappas presents 124 questions that he frequently gets asked about his association with the Blackbird Program.  Every question is referenced in the table of contents, making it easy to find the answer to your pet question.  These are good questions, too.  Could the RSO fly the SR-71 if the pilot were incapacitated? What's the most difficult experience you had while air refueling? Pappas has also included quite a few color photos of the blackbird, many of which are from his private collection and previously unpublished.

If you are a docent at a museum with a blackbird, you need to have this book in your back pocket.  You can order the book directly from the author at http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Pappas/e/B00DKK71WM.

ISBN: 9780985349806

"SR-71: The Complete Illustrated History of The Blackbird" (Richard H. Graham)

"A coffee-table book on the blackbird that you can actually read!" - David Allison, www.habu.org

BUY THIS BOOK. The fourth book from Col. Graham, and they just keep getting better.  He's thrown down a gauntlet with that title, and every page delivers on the promise.  There are books out there with lots of pretty pictures, and there are books on the blackbird full of information and interesting stories.  This one has all of the above. 
As with his previous books, Rich has solicited contributions from other members of the Blackbird program.  For those of you who have never heard his firsthand account of the loss of 952, Rich has devoted seven pages to Bill Weaver's story in his own words.

ISBN: 9780760343272

"The Untouchables" (Brian Shul with Walt Watson) 

If you already read Sled Driver, then you've seen most of the photos in this book.  Both Sled Driver and The Untouchables are oversized coffee-table books; the big difference between the two volumes is that The Untouchables includes memoirs from more than a dozen people from all parts of the blackbird program, including Lockheed and Pratt & Whitney tech reps, crew chiefs, and more. Walt Watson, who was Shul's RSO, also makes major contributions, describing a mission he and Shul flew over Lybia, adding the back-seater's impression to Shul's own narritive.

Shul's books are printed on thick glossy paper and as a result aren't cheap; if you can only afford one, buy this one.

ISBN: 0929823125

"U Oughta" (Bill Gornik)

Bill Gornik was one of the early crew chiefs in the SR-71 program. If you've never had the opportunity to have him keep you up all night telling stories of the early days of the program, this book will make up for that. An amazing firsthand account of what it was like to grow up during the Great Depression, and serve in the US Air Force during a bygone era. Gornik is the first to admit that you could never do things today the way they did them then, but here is a firsthand account of what that was like. Loaded with color photos and letters, it's like having your own copy of his scrapbook.

"U.S. Spyplanes" (Erik Simonsen)

Like the title implies, Simonsen's book covers more than just the U-2 and SR-71, but the blackbirds are definitely the focus here.  Aside from a one-page introduction, the rest of the book is all photos and captions.  Contains many outstanding photos taken by the author, as well as many vintage USAF and Lockheed photos.  Modelers will appreciate the focus on details of specific airframes and from specific points in blackbird history.

ISBN: 0853686262 (out of print)

"Velocity: Speed With Direction" (Aloysius G. Casey and Patrick A. Casey)

Casey and Casey have written the biography of Jerry O'Malley, a legend in the blackbird community who among other things flew the first operational reconnaissance mission in an SR-71.  Published by the Air University Press, you can order a copy or download the entire book in PDF format (at no charge) at this link: http://aupress.maxwell.af.mil/catalog/books/Casey_B110.htm.

ISBN: 978-1-58566-169-5

"Wings" (Mark Meyer)

If you're looking for the best coffee-table book on the blackbirds, it's a toss-up between this book and Black Magic by O'Leary and Schulzinger.  That says a lot when you consider that Wings isn't even a blackbird-specific book; Meyer includes stunning photos of every aircraft flown by the US Air Force when the book was published in 1984.  Each aircraft is covered in detail, and Meyer's photography holds its own against Eric Schulzinger's and that's saying something.  As an added bonus, there is a long preface by Gen. Chuck Yeager about the early days of the flight test program at Edwards, and Meyer has also included anonymous quotes from crews of all the aircraft featured.  Sadly out of print, it's well worth the time spent looking for a copy.

ISBN: 093473805X  (out of print)
cover: Wingspan: From J-3 to Mach 3

"Wingspan - From J-3 To Mach 3" (George André)

review pending

ISBN: 9780979311628

"YF-12 Flight Manual"

Just in case you couldn't get enough of the SR-71 Pilot's Manual, here's the manual for her older sister, the YF-12.

ISBN: 1931641633

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