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Bomber Boys

This 398 page, archival quality hard cover book features contemporary research, veteran portraits, and content from audio interviews. With over 100 A-2 style leather jackets depicted in stunning resolution and restored color, it offers a unique glimpse into this seldom seen genre of military folk art.

Bomber boys table of contents
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To this day, the art depicted on WWII bomber jackets continues to fascinate, educate, and entertain. Painted on the back of leather A-2 work jackets, these artifacts depict the attitudes of young airmen subjected to the vagaries of warfare in the sky. With this in mind, we set out to create a best-in-class collection of A-2 jacket artwork, presenting the jackets, artwork, and the stories of the men and women who wore them in extreme detail.

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With over eight years of research, content, and original photography by John Slemp, a large portion of our effort included sorting through hundreds of original photographs, artifacts, and personal accounts from a variety of sources. Keeping things organized, we began by assimilating the content into a format suitable for the audience, focusing on thematic elements that told the most comprehensive story.

Bomber boys 475th
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In addition to jackets from actor Jimmy Stewart, readers will find portraits of pilots, radio operators, Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), and even a member of the original unit who dropped supplies behind enemy lines. All of their stories inspired the art. Given their highly collectible nature, information on care for the jackets is included by professional conservator Rachel Waters, while information for collectors on how to find them and what to avoid is provided by Jeff Shrader of Antique Roadshow. The influence of the A-2 jacket on fashion over the years has been provided by subject matter expert Laura McLaws Helms.

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The finished piece is the most comprehensive visual record of A-2 flight jackets ever produced. John Slemp has captured the tactile beauty of the leather and artwork that adorns the jacket in archival quality and extreme detail. For the first time, this work is collected into a volume that introduces the artwork alongside the individual stories of the men and women who wore them, and is made complete with a full index for easy reference. It is also currently available for sale in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, and many other air and flight museums in the United States.

The book was privately published and is now available for purchase online.

Bomber boys appendix
Bomber boys lili marlene
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Bomber boys medals
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  • Creative Direction
  • Art Direction
  • Print Design
  • Copywriting
  • Editing
  • Information Design
  • Production Art


  • Fournir, Agency
  • John Slemp, Author, Photographer
  • Daren Guillory, Designer
  • John Mollison, Illustrator
  • Jeff Shrader, Antique Roadshow, Contributor
  • Laura McLaws Helms, Fashion Historian, Contributor
  • Rachel Waters, Conservator, Contributor
  • Lee Anne Patterson, Marketing Strategist
  • RR Donnelley, Printing
  • Kennon Evett, Finished Product Photography


This work is copyright protected and may not be reproduced, modified, or distributed without express written permission. All photographic works depicted herein are copyright John Slemp Photography and have been used with permission. All illustrations of aircraft depicted herein are copyright John Mollison and have been used with permission. For media inquiries, more information, or where to obtain copies of the book please contact us.