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The Wrong Stuff Audiobook

The Wrong Stuff: The Adventures and Misadventures of an 8th Air Force Aviator

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Publisher's Summary

Between April and July 1944, Truman Smith flew 35 bombing missions over France and Germany. He was only 20 years old. Although barely adults, Smith and his peers worried about cramming a lifetime's worth of experience into every free night, each knowing he probably would not survive the next bombing mission. Written with blunt honesty, wry humor, and insight, The Wrong Stuff is Smith's gripping memoir of that time. In a new preface, the author comments with equal honesty and humor on the impact this book has had on his life.

©1996 Truman and Margot Smith Trust (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"...the book proves that the nation's greatest resources are its young people, ready and willing to serve their country." (St. Joseph (MO.) News-Press)

"If you thought gallantry and valor were the only stuff war is made of, think again. He makes one statement which is not understood by anyone who has not served in combat: 'In order to out-bad the bad guys, you've got to be badder than they are.'" (Tulsa World)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (736 )
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4.3 (665 )
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3.6 (660 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Allan 03-17-15
    Allan 03-17-15
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    "Action, suspense, and history"

    I was surprised that the book is such a recent work. The descriptions were so vivid that it seemed like a report that must have been penned during the action.

    58 of 58 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lady Pamela New Mexico 03-29-15
    Lady Pamela New Mexico 03-29-15

    And Buffalo George

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    "The Greatest Generation on Display"

    One of the books written about the individual aviator warrior of WWII. Humor, pathos, irreverence, deep introspection--it's all there and I'm happy to see that it survived to my days as an air force crew dog. Smith includes several details about which others may have wondered, but have become air force legend, like just how one handles "nature's call" in a B-17 at thirty-thousand feet. The book emphasizes the idea that warriors/soldiers fight for their buddies, and not necessarily out of patriotism or other high ideals. Once I got to know Smitty and the crew I didn't want it to end. Loved the history lesson--the war fought in the skies of Europe was never a glamorous affair, rather composed of misery and even humor. It would have been a boring book if not for the interludes between sorties--he reveals inexperience with alcohol and women--you’re reminded he’s still just a kid. I find it equally amazing how vivid Smith’s memory was in recounting his wartime service, some 50 years later.

    42 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert A. 03-30-15
    Robert A. 03-30-15
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    "War and Human Nature"

    This was a true story I won't forget. The sad facts are that war is bad and it kills people. Truman Smith wrote this book towards the end of his life after he'd had a chance to reflect on the time he spent flying the B-17's during WWII. He was only 20 when he did this with near impossible odds of surviving. He dealt with a lot of death and sadness with stories of the comradery and friendship that were built during this time. I would highly recommend this book.

    40 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rainiac 03-29-15
    Rainiac 03-29-15 Member Since 2015

    rainwallace

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    "I love this book fantastic 1st person account."

    Recalling knowing at 20 years old his survival percentages were 2% every word from this bomber pilot had me right there.
    I highly recommend this one. I may listen to it twice.

    36 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Micah Edwards 03-30-15 Member Since 2015
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    "De-romanticizing WWII"

    Truman's story shows that there is no such thing as a good war or a good guy in a war. To win the war you have to be the best bad guy. Fortunately for us, and the rest of the world, global domination was not on our mind as it was with the Germans, Italians, and the Japanese. During this time period, men had unique adventures that will never be had again and Truman Smith's story is a prime example of that. Great story, thank you for your service.

    35 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LawmanDoug 03-28-15
    LawmanDoug 03-28-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Old retiring atty born 2 yrs after Pearl attack :"

    Maybe my best WWII story ever. I was irritated by the narrator (who was great) but it sounded like some dweeb had electronically altered the recording giving the reading voice a synthetic sound. However I loved the book and would recommend it and would buy it again. I really enjoyed the pilot tech talk by one who knew about his business. As a non-pilot I was fascinated by all the challenges. The crap in the hat was hilarious and Rose in the Lorry brought back similar experiences to this old VN vet.

    35 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William 04-19-15
    William 04-19-15 Member Since 2015
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    "No American Wossification here!"
    What did you love best about The Wrong Stuff?

    Wow, what we asked these young men to do is unthinkable today. If the bomber portions of Unbreakable or Memphis Belle remotely interest you, you’ll love this listen. It’s a great first person account of some of the bravest young men our country has ever known.


    Which character – as performed by James Killavey – was your favorite?

    Initially, I wasn’t enamored with the narrator’s style, but it shortly grew on me and I ended up loving the way he told the story.


    31 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry Morelock Knoxville, TN United States 03-17-15
    Jerry Morelock Knoxville, TN United States 03-17-15 Member Since 2015

    I've been a member a lot longer than one year--that is all.

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    "Enthralling--A Unique WW2 Military Memoir"

    I've never read a WW2 memoir quite like this, at least by a pilot. Humor, pathos, irreverence, deep introspection--it's all here and often in the same paragraph, and sometimes almost in the same sentence. Smith includes several details we've often wondered about but other authors neglect, like just how one handles "nature's call" in a B-17 at thirty-thousand feet.

    62 of 63 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick 12-23-14
    Patrick 12-23-14 Member Since 2014

    I'm a man of constant sorrow, I've seen trouble all my days. I said goodbye to Cudjoe Island, Where I was content and partly raised...

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    "Do yourself a great favor. Rich, captivating entertainment"
    What did you love best about The Wrong Stuff?

    Eyewitness history from the different world of 70 years ago, which reads like a modern engrossing novel. Hilarious, absolutely real, grim, satirical, poignant; you can feel the pervasive fear and fatigue and bewilderment experienceid by the flyers in their narrow cramped and frozen spaces. You are reminded of "Catch 22" and yet it's so much better for being real.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Having a ringside seat to one of the most massive and significant endeavors of human history, from the perspective of a boy from Oklahoma who was amazed by what he was living through.


    What about James Killavey’s performance did you like?

    The narrators delivery style is perfect for the author's dry wit. We are truly fortunate that the author has created this book, I believe it would take a special person to read this and do it justice; Killavey has done just that. The author described the blacksmith's forge which was the air war above Germany in 1944, the narrator was the blacksmith's hammer.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I am truly concerned that I might have missed this book or that it might not have been created in the first place. Fortunately, it went from the authentic hero's mind to the printed page, but with so many to choose from I might have missed this nugget. But in particular, the author pointed out that the individual who receives a physical wound gets a medal, and yet he wondered about wounds to the mind and the scars you cannot see.


    Any additional comments?

    There are airplanes and bombs and targets in this book, there are great events and great tragedy, however, the value and the richness of the book is the description of what went on in True's mind and the behaviour of his comrades, it is a very personal account and is timeless.

    93 of 95 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Manti 03-23-15
    Manti 03-23-15
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    "A wonderful book!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Wrong Stuff the most enjoyable?

    This was a wonderful book about the European air war during WW II. It is, in turns, funny, tragic and terrifying. It is written from the perspective of a young twenty years old pilot and others like him. We should always be thankful for their courage and resolve. There will never be another generation like theirs.....God bless them every one.


    What other book might you compare The Wrong Stuff to and why?

    Unbroken only thing that comes close. Bravery under extreme adversity.


    Have you listened to any of James Killavey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes I have. I thought the reading was quite good, and while the majority of reviewers so far seem to agree with me, there are a few surprisingly nasty comments about him. I don’t know why. ..Haters? Personal taste? Ya got me. In any case, the way to find out if you will like the narration is simple…listen to the sample. The book is great and the reader, in my opinion does it justice. Don't let me or the few disgruntled ones decide for you..Listen to the sample and judge for yourself. That's what it's there for.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, too long. Took me a few days.


    Any additional comments?

    I've been listening to audiobooks for many years. This is one of the best.

    59 of 60 people found this review helpful
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  • The BoatBuilder
    4/27/15
    Overall
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    Story
    "What an amazing guy"

    Clearly Truman Smith was a very good pilot as must have been 'Moon'. You couldn't survive a 35 mission tour on luck alone. When Truman takes over the plane for his last few missions it's apparent how much more than pilot ability is required to survive.
    What a great read (listen). A very easy style of narrative perfectly suited to describing a life of
    continual stress. You are with him all the way.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • M. WILLIAMS
    Birmingham
    2/8/16
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    "a great piece of WW2 aviation history"

    Both funny and informative, with many stores that disagree with the usual books and histories on this subject. Highly recommended, the performance is a little stilted and place names etc can jar a little on English ears.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M
    11/6/15
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    "no doubt a good story but cannot abide the voice"

    I normally love these types of book and have several downloaded, but sadly the narrators voice on this was too much like an artificial life form that it detracted from the story itself
    so much so I have actually deleted it from my device and got a credit from amazon which is excellent

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gogscot
    7/21/15
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    "Great Story"

    Great story and amazingly written, only down side is the reader is not the best and is sometimes distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • J. A. Hill
    London
    7/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a wonderful account of young 8th AF Pilots"
    What other book might you compare The Wrong Stuff to, and why?

    This is a great personal account and has a lot of very funny moments, in this way it's more light hearted than other combat books such as 'A Higher Call'


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Great tales from some of the antics during flying, such as sleeping on route to a bomb run


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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