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Wednesday, June 24 2015

The Hump, as the WWII airlift over the Himalayas was called, was a peril-fraught yet vital mission for which many pilots lost their lives.  In Hump Pilot, Nedda R. Thomas gives an authentic first-hand account of a brave man's war story, and provides a piece of history not often portrayed in books.

Lethal and capricious weather conditions, radio silence and the uncharted terrain of the "roof of the world” meant the pilots put their lives at risk every time they took off. In a high-flying narrative flashing between the life of American pilot Ned Thomas, the authors father, and events of World War II, Nedda Thomas recreates her father's most dangerous missions.

Pilots of the Hump, as they called this critical air-supply route over the Himalayas, faced the most hazardous flying and highest fatality rates of any air-war mission in World War II. The airlift was the largest the world has ever known, setting the bar for all others to come, including Berlin and Korea. Hump Pilot pays homage to the pilots who made it possible for the U.S. to reach victory in the Pacific, interweaving the story of the dashing young pilot who also won the heart of the woman destined to become his wife.

Hump pilots suffered horrifying mortality rates, and though little remembered today, their sacrifices still speak volumes.  Thomas adds, "Their mission over the tallest mountains on earth is largely forgotten even by military readers. Yet the Hump is the missing link to the entire pursuit of World War II in Asia.  These pilots were critical to Nationalist China and to every Allied ground and flying unit there, and they put their lives on the line with every takeoff.”

Theodore White in Life Magazine, September 11, 1944: "The Hump is a line drawn across the eastern Himalayas and the forest of Burma by American blood and courage.” 

Calm, genuine, young and courageous, Ned brings a human dimension to the story of the Hump. The forbidding Himalayas, Sanscrit for House of Snow, tell their own tale of beauty, danger, and military significance. American climber Clayton Kuhles' recent expeditions into the Himalayas to recover the remains of downed Hump aircraft have helped gain for these lost pilots a new and passionate public.

"The Hump is a larger-than-life epic that deserves to be told,” Thomas says. "And how better than through the eyes of a man who experienced it, my father Ned Thomas, who brought me up to speed on aircraft and flying in the Pacific Theater.” It is a story of courage and historical significance, told through the life of a brave man who takes our hearts into the sky.

True heroes have a way of remaining anonymous. But a new chapter in the history of WWII is coming to light. Through his daughter, Nedda R. Thomas, the reader meets Ned Thomas, just one of many courageous men who kept the war effort alive by daring to fly over the Himalayas.   "My father was a modest man and rarely spoke of his wartime service,” says the author. "When I persuaded him to share his experiences, I was able to see a different dimension of him, not as a father but as an American hero.” Editors Note:  Hump Pilot provides insight into a battleground often unknown to the casual historian. The book is memorable, not only for the military information, but also for the sharing of a human element we sometimes forget while reading history books. Thumbs up for a great summer read!

In a well-researched, well-paced, compelling account, Ned Thomas' character emerges – that of a true gentleman.  As a young pilot he had dashing good looks, good humor, and a humbling quality.  His story is one of courage and fortitude.  Along with other men in the Hump, his mission saved lives and honored his country.  Through his daughter's writing, readers climb on-board a historical roller coaster, as a piece of nearly-lost history comes back to life.

About the Author
Nedda Thomas has published numerous articles about creative and significant figures.  She also writes poetry, and has worked as a magazine editor. Growing up in a military/diplomatic family, she lived in the U.S., France, and the Far East. She holds a master's degree in human development, and attended seminary.  Family memories help nurture her passion for history; she speaks French and English, and lectures on several different topics.

What others are saying about Hump Pilot . . .

Robert F. Dorr, author of Mission to Tokyo, Fighting Hitler's Jets, Hell Hawks: "This is the war nobody told you about….Far from home, in an alien and hostile setting, these men risked it all. Ned Thomas knows. Not an armchair historian, Thomas is a veteran who lived the dangers of the Himalaya and survived. Thomas' story will grab you and keep you riveted page after page.”      

Naomi Sokel Zeavin, author of Carmen's Secret Diary: Aboard the USS Hornet in 1944: "At the heart of this war story lives a love story.  Briefly told, enduring, strong, sweetly remembered.”

Walter J. Boyne, author/historian, Former Director of the United States Air and Space Museum: "Books on flying the Hump are rare…this is an important addition because the author combines hands-on-throttle insight to explain the complex and confusing events of the day. Highly recommended for buff, scholar, and new beginner in the field!”

For more information, please visit

Hump Pilot:  Defying Death Flying the Himalayas During World War II
Nedda R. Thomas
The History Publishing Company
ISBN 978-1940773094
Available in fine bookstores and online at

Information for this book review provided by Ascot Media Group, providing extraordinary service, commitment, creativity and results for authors. [Website]

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