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John Magee was born in 1922 in Shanghai, China, of an American father and an English mother, who were working as missionaries. John’s parents were determined that his early education should be in the best English traditions of private schooling and he came to England in 1931. Firstly he was educated at St. Clare’s school near Walmer in Kent from where he transferred to Rugby School in 1935.
In 1939, anticipating the outbreak of war, John moved again, this time to Connecticut, America. He attended the Avon Old Farms School in preparation for entry to Yale University, for which he won a scolarship in July 1940, with the highest recorded marks in the Classics entry exam.
The war in Europe horrified him and he determined to play his part against the Germans. He gave up his Yale scholarship for a training place in the Royal Canadian Air Force with the expectation of transfer to England.
Fighter pilots were in great demand to help stem the nightly attacks of German bombers on England and John was quickly transferred to the front line. The daily losses of fighter pilots meant that promotion and opportunity to engage the enemy was all too quick. On 7th August, John Magee, now billeted and flying from Wellingore airfield in Lincolnshire, was promoted to fly the Spitfire – the swiftest and most manoeuverable plane in the sky at that time. It was the shear thrill and exhilaration of his experiences in that aircraft that led him to write “High Flight”, one of the most recited poems in the world.
The story of John Magee will be told in the fully illustrated book “Chase the shouting wind” which will document in detail his extraordinary yet short life. Drawn from an archive of thousands of previously unpublished papers in the possession of the author, this book will provide a unique insight into the outstanding development and achievements of this brilliant young man.
The title of the book ‘Chase the shouting wind’ (taken from one of the lines in John’s poem), was determined as a result of meetings, before her recent death, between the author and Elinor Lyon who was one of his closest friends during his time in England. It was with her help that the many aspects of John’s life were drawn together in recorded interviews with the author.
The book will be published in the Spring of 2010 and pre-publication orders are now being taken. Publication price will be £30.00 including p&p in the UK.
A must have for anybody who wants to know about John Magee’s life and poetry. Fully illustrated. Pre publication special orders. Read More
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This collection of poems has not been printed together before which, in its unusual concertina layout, make it truly unique. Read More
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