- Escape from Archangel: An American Merchant Seaman at War (2007)
- Forgotten Heroes of WWII: Personal Accounts of Ordinary Soldiers (2002)
- The Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African-American Fighter Pilot (1988)
- By Accident of Birth
- The Last Quinn Standing
Thomas E. Simmons was born and grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi. He became a pilot at the age of sixteen and participated in air shows in open-cockpit biplanes. He attended Marion Military Institute, the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Southern Mississippi, and the University of Alabama. In the late 1950’s he served as an artillery officer in Korea.
Simmons has written five books: The Man Called Brown Condor, Forgotten Heroes of WWII, Escape from Archangel, By Accident of Birth, and The Last Quinn Standing. In addition, he has written numerous magazine articles, including Growing Up With Mr. Faulkner, which was published in The Oxford American.
Simmons’s best known work is a biography called The Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African-American Fighter Pilot. It is the story of John Charles Robinson (1903 to 1954), who was known in the 1930’s as “The Brown Condor of Ethiopia.” Simmons spent thirty years researching the story and traveled to Ethiopia to talk about the book. In 2014 Simmons received an all-expense paid trip to Ethiopia provided by the former president of Ethiopia, the CEO of Ethiopian Air Lines and the Pan African Technology Association. Simmons was also honored by the Mississippi State Senate for his lifelong works and his legacy.
He continues to live in Gulfport, Mississippi.
- Deborah Kalb interviews Simmons in 2015
- Simmons’s web site
- The proclamation presented by the U. S. Embassy in Ethiopia for Robinson.
- Simmons is honored by Mississippi State Senate
- Kirkus Review of The Man Called Brown Condor
- Mississippi Humanities Council lists Simmons as available for talk on Robinson.