Duty, Chivalry and Courage
Soldat by Siegfried Knappe because of the in-depth recollection and storytelling of the wartime service of a German soldier.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand because you get the same sense of dread every time a bomber crew took off on a mission.
This is a must read (listen to) for any WWII history buff. This is an excellent source of information into the lives of a German fighter pilot and an American B-17 pilot. While the story focuses primarily on Franz Stigler, you still get an good story for Charlie Brown and his crew as well. I was pleasantly surprised at the detailed recollections of Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown and how their stories interwove. Both stories were captivating. Really, though, the "escort" part of the book (as depicted on the cover) was only a minor part of the story...probably the most interesting part, but that was not the climax of the book. The writing was such that you got a real sense of the stress these men faced on a daily basis. Descriptions made it feel as if you were in the heat of the desert or freezing at 30,000 ft. You felt the tension of having to go up on another bomb run over German, or diving in the Bf-109 towards the enemy bomber formation. Adam Makos' research really pays off in his writing. This book is definitely worth your time and money. A MUST READ!!!!
I read Unbreakable by Laura Hillenbrand and thought it was a great book. I was looking for something else that might be similar and I stumbled upon this and was not disappointed. This book is incredible and I use that word because had it been a novel, it would not have been believable. The story's focal point is the encounter between a German fighter ace and a young B-17 pilot on his first bombing mission over Germany. The author does eight years of research on the pilots involved and weaves a tale that is not only informative, but exciting and inspiring as well. In order for the reader to appreciate the full story of the one time encounter, ten minutes long, the author creates a context that gives the pilots' background and aviation experience. I loved the story and am very appreciative of the author keeping this event alive. In a world of violence and criminal evil, it is nice to read of decent men with ethics and morality that transcend their own time and place. I gave the performance only four stars. The narrator did a good job with the material and interpreted the voices of the characters nicely. There were times that his breathing was distracting. This surprised me as most of the narrators Audible or the publishers use somehow take out that distracting inhaling. It's not there the entire time, which is why I was even more surprised as to how the director let this slip through. But don't let that keep you from purchasing this book, the story more than makes up for a careless narrator.
Robertson Dean was very talented and added realism of narrative voice to Franz with a believable German accent.
The moving meeting under the B17 42 years later.
His performance couldn't have been improved - Flawless execution.
Great story. Great read. Great reader.
I didn't read the print version.
The in-depth background given most of the characters and the timeline of the air battles related to the ground war and political feeling in each country.
The German jet fighter.
Yes, I drove around town and took the long way to finish a chapter. I listened with earbuds while I was hand sewing.
Everyone would enjoy this story but especially relatives of B-17 pilots and crew.
Makos starts out by admitting he never knew there could be anything such as a “good German.” But once he heard this story of chivalry in the skies, he couldn’t ignore it.The main incident occurs halfway through the book so it could be argued that the rest is just “filler,” which would only be partially true. Although much of the background information was stretched out to prolong the narrative, the reader learns a lot of fascinating details about the German Luftwaffe. To tell the truth, the German soldier's story (2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler) is more interesting than the American’s (2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown). Another intriguing fact brought out in the book was that the Catholic Church initially took a strong stand against Nazism. (According to the movie, Amen., they waffled on that later.) Although the writing was average, the narration was well done and the conclusion inspiring.
This book took such a unique view of World War II; showing the perspective of a German soldier was extremely fascinating and helped me understand how the German citizens may have felt during Hitler's reign.
Definitely a fascinating and eye-opening read.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
I have rarely encountered a book with sections so disparate in quality. At first the book is dispassionate; a mere assemblage of biographical anecdotes with all the insight and passion of a High School research paper. Then something happens. The people to whom we have been introduced—and who seem like so many stick figures for all the humanity that had been associated with their early exploits—come vibrantly to life. When the air war heats up for these pilots, the writers suddenly gain empathy for them and the scenes in the air take of the feeling of grand drama. The book continues in this fashion, flip-flopping between lackluster factual accounts and gripping high drama; sometimes it is brilliant and engaging then it degenerates into a description of the sad state of Germany under the Nazi regime. Later it again will become immediate, personal and exciting, and even rises into moments of insight and poignancy. One constant theme of the book is the sense of honor that inhabits the pilots on both sides of the conflict embodied in the statement, “A man must only answer to God and our comrades.”
Robertson Dean is wonderful in this non-fiction account. When the account requires drama Dean pulls out his repertoire of character voices and can hold the tension during the battle scenes masterfully.
If this were fiction, I'd have to say it was a little implausible. Being a true story, It's amazing. I think it's amazing that the incident occurred in the first place, and secondly that they were able to resolve it so many years later as they did.
It was interesting to see two opposing sides but not necessarily two opposing conclusions.
I think the story of these men shows there are good, noble people all over the world and that there are more than two sides to every story.
A worthwhile listen.
Yes, and I am not normally a war stories fan- that would be my husband. But this story, or both stories, put a human face on so many aspects of this war that I got all caught up in the story- and it's a true story on top of everything else, too!
Not to spoil it, but when he walked past the Nazis at the end of the war and everyone pretended to be blind to each other. Or maybe when you listened to him go through what we'd now call PTSD episodes and just have to live with it. Or maybe the absolute joy he found in flying....
All of them.
Not a war story fan? Get it anyways, it's a terrific story.