Lost for 70 years, Steinbeck’s “With Your Wings” finally published


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John Steinbeck’s story titled “With Your Wings” is an inspirational story about a black pilot that the American writer wrote for a radio program and which seemed to have disappeared almost as soon as it was aired.

There are no records of “With Your Wings” appearing in book or magazine form so far. The story was read out by Orson Welles on his radio show in 1944 but has been missing since.

According to combined reports, transcript was recently found in the University of Texas archives in Austin by Andrew F. Gulli, managing editor of The Strand Magazine, who reportedly stumbled across the transcript of Welles’ broadcast during a trawl through the archives at University of Texas at Austin.

The piece itself is very much of its time, a wartime story that dwells on the challenges of a black American pilot’s return home.

“Steinbeck was an idealist. 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,” Gulli told the AP in an email. “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.”

The story was published for the first time last Friday, November 7, in The Strand magazine.

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