Tags: john steinbeck | with your wings | found | republished

John Steinbeck's 'With Your Wings,' Lost 70 Years, Reprinted

By    |   Monday, 10 Nov 2014 06:38 AM

John Steinbeck's "With Your Wings," an inspirational story written by the author during World War II about an African-American pilot and his father – but lost for 70 years – has been reprinted after surfacing again.

Orson Welles read the wartime piece from the award-winning writer on one of his radio broadcasts in July 1944,  but the transcipt disappeared, according to The Associated Press. Even Steinbeck experts knew little of the emotional tale until Andrew F. Gulli, managing editor of The Strand Magazine, a quarterly publication in Michigan, told The AP he came across the transcript while looking through archives at the University of Texas at Austin.

He said he will print "With Your Wings" in The Strand's holiday issue, which was released Friday.

In the piece, Steinbeck focuses on the pride a black father takes in his son who has earned his wings during the war.

"He took off his cap with the gold eagle on it and held it in his hand. He saw his tall father lick his lips. And then his father said softly, 'Son, every black man in the world is going to fly with your wings,'" Steinbeck wrote, noted the AP.

A California native, Steinbeck was one of America's most celebrated writers of his time before his death in 1968, according to Biography.com. He won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1939 for "The Grapes of Wrath," the story about the migration of a family from the Oklahoma dust bowl California.

After World War II, in which he served as a war correspondent, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

"Steinbeck was an idealist," Gulli told the AP. "He saw America as this wonderful land with so much to offer but on the flip side, he could see inequality, he could see greed and excess destroying the working classes. This story strikes me as an effort to show middle America that African-Americans were carrying on a huge burden in defending the United States and the allies during the war."

Steinbeck's novella "Of Mice and Men," which told the story of migrant workers struggle to survive during the Great Depression, won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award in 1938, according to Shmoop.com.


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John Steinbeck's "With Your Wings," an inspirational story written by the author during World War II about an African-American pilot and his father – but lost for 70 years – has been reprinted after surfacing again.
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