This is the dramatic story of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. With the narrative power of fiction, this is a harrowing ride through the fire-filled skies over Berlin, Hanover, and Dresden.
Fighting at 25,000 feet in thin, freezing air no warriors had encountered before, bomber crews battled new kinds of assaults on body and mind. Air combat was deadly but intermittent: periods of inactivity and anxiety were followed by short bursts of fire and fear. Unlike infantrymen, bomber boys slept on clean sheets, drank beer in local pubs, and danced to the music of Glenn Miller’s Air Force Band. But they had a much greater chance of dying than ground soldiers. In 1943 an American bomber crewman stood only a one-in-five chance of surviving his tour of duty. The Eighth Air Force lost more men in the war than the US Marine Corps.
The bomber crews were an elite group of warriors. Actor Jimmy Stewart was a bomber boy, as was “King of Hollywood” Clark Gable. The air war was filmed by Oscar-winning director William Wyler and covered by reporters like Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite, all of whom flew combat missions with the men. The Anglo-American bombing campaign against Nazi Germany was the longest military campaign of World War II, a war within a war. Until Allied soldiers crossed into Germany in the final months of the war, it was the only battle fought inside the German homeland.
Strategic bombing did not win the war, but the war could not have been won without it. American airpower destroyed the rail facilities and oil refineries that supplied the German war machine. The bombing campaign was a shared enterprise: The British bombed at night while American bombers attacked by day - a technique that British commanders thought was suicidal.
Drawn from interviews, oral histories, and American, British, German, and other archives, this is an authoritative, deeply moving account of the world’s first and only bomber war.
©2006 Donald L. Miller (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Masters of the Air is a stunning achievement. The compound effect of the book’s narrative vitality and attention to human detail is terrific in all the meanings of the word - terrifying, extraordinary, highly admirable. What a story it is!” (David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author)
This is a fantastic look at the battle in the air Germany during World War II. Dealing with a subject fraught with debate and controversy, Miller skillfully navigates through a unique chapter in human history, one never seen before and one we will never see again. Never glamorizing their fight nor demonizing the men for the actions they took Miller tells a story full struggle, triumph, and death. This is a must listen for any one interested in the history of the Second World War.
You hear the voices of the "bomber boys" and those on the receiving end of the raids
The witness accounts of fire storms. Very chilling.
This book has accounts of the heroism of ordinary people
As the years pass, WW2 has receded in to folklore. It has become almost unreal. This book reminds us of what the golden generation gave up for us and what we owe them
Book describes just what the title says...from training to bombing missions to POW status and everything in between. It's well researched and well written with personal vignettes that are illuminating and illustrative. It's mostly about 8AF and 15AF (the other European numbered air force) gets short shrift in the deal. Probably, the book would have been too long. I enjoyed learning more about that time in history.
Intense, educational, revealing
The flights of heavy bombers into, what appeared and was for most, certain death
A "You Are There" quality
Many moments..Heavies going down, RAF and American fighters going down and winningOne incident does stand out and without giving a total reveal the story Andy Rooney relates about a certain "belly gunner" he saw
An intense book...Educational...scary...mind bending. I've listened twice. Will listen again. Picking up this and that I missed the first 2 times around
The leaders, from Carl Spatz and Ira Eaker, to the Wing and Squadron Commanders and pilots in the planes.
Jimmy Dolittle. While most familiar with his name will recall his Tokyo Raid, this book covers his involvement in the European Air War.
The discussions of the POW camps in Germany, and the "holding" camps for those who ended up in Switzerland. This was an aspect of the book that was unexpected, that made this a more complete history.
This book is a great one-stop source for anyone interested in the History of Daylight Strategic Bombing in Europe.
Retired accountant and Certified Financial Planner.
The flow; the poignant narrative kept me fully engaged.
Indeed, the sad moment when the belly gunner was crushed to death.
Dean does an excellent job in reading the story.
I really enjoyed this book because the author humanized much of this conflict for me and helped me appreciate just how harrowing air combat was in the 1940s. He offers many specific stories about what individuals went through preparing for and executing very dangerous missions. Beyond that, he also tells in detail what the German civilians endured as a result of Hilter's determination to continue even when it was clear the war was lost. This is much more than just a dry historical recounting of the war as a whole. It is very personal and engaging. I highly recommend this book.
The story provides great insights into the development of bomber warfare. Many recognized names (Dolittle, Yeager, Vonnegut, Gable, Rooney) in common knowledge are placed in the story with the background and their role in the war. The story also portrays the tragedy of leaders with strong wills and poor insight. These stories always make me appreciate the sacrifices those before me made in this war.
The story becomes more muddled towards the end with repeats of events to tell from a different perspective or to make a different point. There was also some confusion (in my mind at least) as to the effectiveness and role bombing played in WWII. As such, I wasn't sorry to get to the end of the book. Otherwise, it was a quick and interesting read.
The narrator did a very good job with a voice and style that was easy to listen to but carried the gravitas expected for this subject.
We have all read or heard of the wonders of Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation". We now have that translated into the European air war of World War II. The format and detail of the story line was well developed and consistent as you proceed through the war.
The use of detailed history of events, coupled with the "human" factor of individual stories, made the entire book a pleasure.
Despite enjoying WWII history, I never took much time to think about or learn about the bomber campaign and what it entailed . . . the lives it cost or it's broader impact on the war effort. My exposure to that campaign was numerous watchings of Twelve O'Clock high, thinking this sufficient to cover that part of the war. I had no idea of how this part of the war evolved, it's history with the bomber barons, and it's ultimate impact on victory over Europe. The author is unflinching in looking at all the angles - good and bad - of the campaign including the impact of terror bombing toward the end of the war and the impact on civilians.
This is a fantastic, compelling and important story and I highly recommend it for everyone.
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