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U-2 Books
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last modified February 28, 2016

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"American Spyplanes" (Mike Spick)

Fans of the U-2 will love this book, as two-thirds of it covers the Dragonlady. The book is another good introduction to the world of the blackbird and the U-2, and scale modelers will appreciate the photos and details on the different airframes.

ISBN: 085045719X (out of print)
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: CIA and the U-2 Program

"The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974" (published by the Center for the Study of Intelligence)

Like "The Oxcart Story" only this time with pictures, the CIA has declassified and released their history on the first 20 years of the U-2 program.  Keep in mind that "declassified" can mean the same as "censored the hell out of," and the number of names, dates, photos, and even entire pages that have been completed blacked out is sometimes laughable. However, what's here is well worth reading. Bound and printed copies are available thru the government printing office, but you can download the .pdf file and print your own copy by going to http://www.odci.gov/csi/books/U2/index.htm (link courtesy of John Stone, www.blackbirds.net).

cover: Dragon Lady Today

"Dragon Lady Today: The Continuing Story of the U-2 Spyplane" (Chris Pocock)

Written as a follow-on to 50 Years of the U-2, this 100-page book brings the reader up to date on what has been happening with the U-2 since 2005.  This book still stands on its own, and if you knew nothing about the U-2 prior to picking up this volume, you'd still have a good idea of how the first 50 years led to the most recent 10.  Visually, the book is loaded with hundreds of color photos, a large percentage of which were taken by the author.  Many of these have not been seen before, and if the one on the lower left corner of page 6 doesn't make you want to buy this book, then there's something wrong with you.

You can order the book directly from Pocock's web site: www.dragonladytoday.com

ISBN: 978-1500965464

cover: 50 Years of the U-2

"50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of the Dragon Lady " (Chris Pocock)

review pending

ISBN: 978-0764323461

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

cover: Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady

"Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady" (Dennis Jenkins)

Another great book from Jenkins.  As usual, his coverage is thorough, accurate, and not a re-hashing of the same stories you keep hearing over and over.  Scale modelers will appreciate the photos showing details of the planes from various time periods throughtout the U-2's long and distinguished career, which is still far from over.

ISBN: 1580070094

cover: MayDay

"May Day" (Michael R. Beschloss)

review pending

ISBN: 0060155655 (out of print)

"Me and U-2: My Affair With Dragon Lady (Glenn Chapman)

This book is a must-have for any self-respecting U-2 enthusiast. The author is not a pilot but a retired Tech Sergeant responsible for the cameras carried by the U-2. His book is a true memoir, written in his speaking voice and recalling stories and events from his own firsthand experience. The book is divided into 3 sections; the first starts with the history of reconnaisance and ends with the downing of Gary Powers on May 1, 1960. Part 2 is where the author's first hand account begins; Chapman was in the first group of men selected to crew the U-2 when the U.S. Air Force first got their own birds, and was working on the Dragon Lady during the Cuban Missile Crisis. If you're not old enough to remember those days, you owe it to yourself to read it; the details are chilling. Part 3 relates various war stories and anecdotes, again from Chapman's first-hand telling.
For more information on this title, including how to get autographed copy directly from the author, click here.

ISBN: 0967020204
cover: Operation Overflight

"Operation Overflight" (Francis Gary Powers with Curt Gentry)

review pending

ISBN: 030830451 (out of print)

"Spyplane" (David Donald)
If it's flown since 1910, and has been used for aerial reconnaissance, you can bet it's in here.  One of the better pre-1990 recce bird books, Donald covers just about every version of every plane used as an eye in the sky, including German and Soviet planes.  While not the fattest book on the subject, it is still a great general reference on "the secret world of aerial intelligence-gathering."

ISBN: 0879382589 (out of print)

"Trial of American U-2 Spy Pilot

Published by the American Communist Party in September 1960, this 106-page booklet contains the entire transcript in English of Gary Powers' trial by the Soviet Union.  Considered a rare find by U-2 enthusiasts, this booklet is unique in the way it offers the reader a glimpse of the Soviet view of the whole incident, with very little in the way of editorials. For more background on the event, visit Gary Powers Jr.'s web site at http://www.coldwar.org.

ISBN: none

"The U-2 Affair" (David Wise and Thomas B. Ross)

review pending

(out of print)

"U-2 Flight Manual"

Not to worry, this isn't the manual for the U-2S model being flown by the Air Force today. This manual covers the declassifed systems of the U-2C and F models.

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

ISBN: 193164165X

"U-2 Spyplane In Action (Larry Davis, with Don Green and Perry Manley)

Just like all the other books in the Squadron/Signal series of ... In Action and ...Walkaround titles, U-2 In Action is a great introduction to what has been the highest-flying single-engine aircraft since it was first introduced almost 50 years ago.  While the target audience for these books are scale modelers, other Dragonlady fans will appreciate this book, and its low cover price.

ISBN: 0897472020

"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)

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