The Unlikely, Unusual, Unbreakable Friendship Between John Glenn and Ted Williams
The untold story of the unique fifty-year friendship between two American icons: John Glenn, the unassailable pioneer of space exploration and Ted Williams, indisputably the greatest hitter in baseball history.
It was 1953, the Korean War in full throttle, when two men—already experts in their fields—crossed the fabled 38th Parallel into Communist airspace aboard matching Panther jets. John Glenn was an ambitious operations officer with fifty-nine World War II combat missions under his belt. His wingman was Ted Williams, the two-time American League Triple Crown winner who, at the pinnacle of his career, had been inexplicably recalled to active service in the United States Marine Corps. Together, the affable flier and the notoriously tempestuous left fielder soared into North Korea, creating a death-defying bond. Although, over the next half century, their contrasting lives were challenged by exhilarating highs and devastating lows, that bond would endure.
Through unpublished letters, unit diaries, declassified military records, manuscripts, and new and illuminating interviews, The Wingmen
reveals an epic and intimate portrait of two heroes—larger-than-life and yet ineffably human, ordinary men who accomplished the extraordinary. At its heart, this was a conflicted friendship that found commonality in mutual respect—throughout the perils of war, sports dominance, scientific innovation, cutthroat national politics, the burden of celebrity, and the meaning of bravery. Now, author Adam Lazarus sheds light on a largely forgotten chapter in these legends' lives—as singular individuals, inspiring patriots, and eventually, however improbable, profoundly close friends.
"Lazarus does a wonderful job of explaining the particulars of this relationship and the reciprocal esteem in which these two authentic American heroes held each other. A gripping, well-told "Only-in-America" tale." —Spitball, the Literary Baseball Magazine
"This book uncovers the intricate friendship between two remarkable individuals. It captures the essence of Glenn and Williams, highlighting their shared experiences and the human aspects of their bond. The Wingmen is an enjoyable read for those interested in the lives of these iconic figures. Aviation and baseball enthusiasts alike will enjoy turning these pages." —DOD Reads"Historian Lazarus (Best of Rivals) provides an affable account of the war-forged friendship between Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams and astronaut-turned-politician John Glenn. As a marine fighter pilot, Williams became acquainted with veteran flying ace Glenn during the Korean War. Cheerful Glenn was initially wary of the quarrelsome, brooding Williams, but the pair developed a tight bond built around a near-death experience.... For the rest of their lives, the pair maintained a strong bond. Drawing on interviews and archival research, Lazarus narrates his story in an easy and accessible style. It adds up to a touching and highly readable story of male friendship." —Publishers Weekly