Full Leather Jacket: New Book Tells the Stories Behind the Apparel
“Bomber Boys: World War II Flight Jacket Art” is truly a labor of love. “I’m not sure anyone ever consciously decides to write a book about leather jackets,” says author and photographer John Slemp. “Yet, that’s precisely what happened after I began photographing A-2 flight jackets in 2014 for the book I published in 2022.”
The 398-page volume includes images of more than 150 jackets that Slemp photographed at museums and in the collections of various individuals. It also includes portraits of some of the owners today, artifacts they collected during their service, photos taken during the war years, maps, aircraft illustrations and other items of interest.
In an excerpt from the book published in World War II ’s Spring 2023 issue, Slemp wrote, “As the number of jackets I shot grew, the stories of their owners began to weigh more heavily on my mind. I began to realize that the jackets were mobile signposts reflecting the distinct and potentially mortal challenges every flier faced.” In this interview with Tom Huntington, editor of World War II and Aviation History magazines, Slemp talks about the book and the work behind it.