Sketches of a Black Cat

Story of a night flying WWII pilot and artist

Non-Fiction - Military
145 Pages
Reviewed on 08/01/2017
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Author Biography

I graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1972 with a BA in English and immediately put it to good use…as a landscape contractor. Yes, jobs were scarce, and landscape design came pretty naturally for me, so it seemed for a while my writing career amounted to letters to the editor or, if hackles rose enough, to politicians.

When my father passed away in 2011, the family made some discoveries. The short version: we uncovered a magical trove of artwork, writing, photos, and memorabilia of all shapes and sizes. I realized an outstanding, poignant WWII tale about a largely unknown group of fliers was practically handed to me, rekindling my passion for writing and presenting me with an opportunity to pay tribute to this special cast of characters. Sketches of a Black Cat has now been republished as an expanded Full Color or B&W edition and I am working enthusiastically on behalf of Black Cats and WWII veterans everywhere. Writing for blogs and magazines, giving presentations, and developing a new documentary for museums are a big part of the equation. I am also actively seeking another “Greatest Generation” story crying out to be told.

My wife, Heidi, and I live in the Oregon countryside with our dogs and enjoy hiking, gardening, and photography. She is a retired teacher, and I am still a landscape designer…just barely.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sefina Hawke for Readers' Favorite

Sketches of a Black Cat by Ron Miner is a non-fiction military book that would appeal most to a mixed audience of young adults and adults who enjoy learning more about World War II and the Navy Black Cats. The book is a first person account of what it was truly like to be an enlisted Navy pilot during World War II. Howard Miner was an Indiana college student who became a Navy Black Cat during World War II and this book was written using his writings and sketches from his time at war. Are you ready to truly understand what it meant to be a young man caught up in World War II?

Sketches of a Black Cat by Ron Miner has a beautifully done cover that served to give me a small peek into the contents of the book and what Howard Miner really looked like. The last time I really thought about World War II was during my history class in high school where I was bored to tears by the dry textbooks; this novel gave me an entirely new perspective and take on World War II. Ron Miner took me into the war alongside Navy Black Cat Howard Miner, which allowed me to gain a new understanding of the war from a person who actually lived and fought during it. After reading this book, I personally feel that it should be a required book for all high school history classes that cover World War II as it taught me so much more than any history textbook ever did!


Over the past sixty plus years, I have been a US Naval History buff and have read countless well written books that varied in their quality of information. Sketches of a Black Cat by Ron Miner has become a new favorite due to the manner Mr. Miner has been able to breath life into the drawings and journals of his father and crew mates come alive on the pages. This author has crafted an amazing glimpse into what the life of young men at war in the harsh environment of the tropical jungles of the South Pacific islands were like and how these young men served with honor, courage and dedication in each rescue at sea or even their supply runs to out of the way places. I wish this book had been available when I was studying history in high school!