Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Monday, Nov. 7, 2016
CONTACT: Roy L. Williams                                
Director of Public Relations             
Birmingham Public Library                          
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067                        
Central Library hosting Veteran’s Day talk, book signing about Birmingham WWII pilot
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama-As a young child, William “Billy” McDonald III heard his father share fascinating tales of his adventures as a World War II fighter pilot for the United States. Now thanks to determination – and some luck – McDonald is sharing the story with the world through the publishing of a book that his father first started 52 years ago.
McDonald recently co-authored “The Shadow Tiger: Billy McDonald, Wingman to Chennault,” along with Barbara L. Evenson. In honor of Veteran’s Day, he will hold a talk about his dad, a World War II aviation hero from metro Birmingham, this Thursday, Nov. 10, from 1-2 p.m. at the Central Library, 2100 Park Place. He will also sign copies of his book at the event, which will be held in the Arrington Auditorium, 4th Floor, Linn-Henley Research Building.
Read more about the book, tapped as BPL Book of the Month in October, at the link below:

All 19 locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be closed on Friday, Nov. 11 in honor of Veteran’s Day and to celebrate the life and sacrifices of military heroes like Billy McDonald.
“The Shadow Tiger” covers a fascinating period in aviation and world history through the eyes of the young flyer, Billy “Mac” McDonald. The book has over 500 images, including photos, letters, documents and maps. Through these, McDonald tells his own story, detailing the ordinary and extraordinary adventures of his life, says his son, William C. McDonald III.
The book also reflects a personal journey for McDonald’s son and his family. McDonald’s son spent five years organizing and selecting items from the family archives, talking to those who remembered his father or the era, and researching in books, articles, online and in archives. He then drafted a 600-page manuscript.
Billy McDonald III, the author, in an interview said his father originally wanted to write a book about his flying adventures in 1964. After his father suffered a medical ailment that left him unable to talk in 1977, it looked like the book would never come to fruition. But in 2010, McDonald’s sister discovered in her basement a box containing thousands of his father’s personal letters and journals. Many were wet, and McDonald painstakingly dried out the letters, and over the course of five years put them together in a book which eventually became “The Shadow Tiger,” released in September 2016.
 “The Shadow Tigerbegan when the family found 30,000 pages, thousands of photos and hundreds of letters at home which his father collected and saved from his flying career in the United States and China, Billy McDonald III said. McDonald jumped from U.S. Army cadet to wingman in Chennault’s famed aerobatic flying group Three Men on a Flying Trapeze.

 In China, he moved from instructor for the Chinese Air Force to combat pilot flying Chennault’s legendary Hawk 75 Special against the Japanese over Nanking in 1937. He began by ferrying world-famous passengers like Hemingway and high-value cargo like gold for the China National Aviation Corporation and then flew gasoline and gunpowder over The Hump (Himalayas) for Chennault’s Flying Tigers and the Chinese Army. Through it all, controversial and legendary aviator Claire Lee Chennault remained his mentor, often his boss and always his friend, indelibly shaping his life, explains the author.
Co-author Barbara L. Evenson spent over a year helping edit, organize and produce the book, which she believes is “the most complex and fascinating narrative I’ve worked with in 40 years of publications experience.”
“‘The Shadow Tiger’ is the story of a remarkable career, and a man who bore witness to some of the twentieth century’s historic events and pivotal characters,” Evenson said. “McDonald tells us the tale in his own words through newly-discovered photos, correspondence and manuscripts, making this book both a primary source for researchers and a thrilling tale of adventure for readers.”
Visitors to the book website,, will find additional resources, including links to order the book, sign up for a newsletter, and find information about booking speaking engagements or book signings. Published by Shadow Tiger Press of Birmingham, “The Shadow Tiger” is $24.95 for paperbacks and $34.95 for hardback versions. Paperback and Kindle versions are available from, and a hardcover version is available from Ingram.
For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for 129 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.
Page Last Modified: 6/15/2021 9:51 AM