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Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany | [Donald L. Miller]

Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany

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 twenty-five thousand 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (410 )
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4.4 (357 )
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  •  
    funneymee 05-28-15
    funneymee 05-28-15
    ratings
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    "Hell of a chronicle"

    This could be found to be one of the most wealthy sources of knowledge about the 8th Air Force and the bomber war in general but it is by no means a great story. Although highly entertaining in its own right, unless you're highly enthused by WWII and the Mighty Eighth, maybe try something else more heartfelt like A Higher Call.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MJC 05-14-15
    MJC 05-14-15

    Appealsman

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    "Excellent!"

    Great narration, comprehensive and engaging. This book presents not only the chronology of the 8th Air Force but also an intricate explanation of the collateral effects that bombing had on everyone concerned. One comes away feeling like they've thoroughly learned the subject and in a most agreeable fashion. This is a book that merits a second reading at some point in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 05-13-15
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 05-13-15
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    "Very in depth history"
    What did you love best about Masters of the Air?

    I liked the individual stories of those involved in the air war over Germany. This book puts a face on the airman that fought that war. If you want to learn about the European war this is a great book


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The description of the prison camps and the trials of the prisoners. I liked that the taught each other collage classes and that they stayed busy educating themselves.


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

    too long


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to his other book about world war II and loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William James 02-05-15

    Dare to dream...

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    "Darn Good Book..."

    I got this book at audible.com and listened to the entire 26 hours and 16 minutes. I did not want to stop! Had to force myself to pause the book. If you are a World War II history buff you will love this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Jones 02-01-15
    Chris Jones 02-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Overall excellent"

    I'm an avid consumer of WW1 and WW2 audiobooks, with at least 50 listened to in the last year. This is one of my favorites; I just finished my second listen of it. There are two audiobooks I recommend to people just getting into them: this one, and "A World Undone." Robertson Dean is one of the best narrators there is.

    This is being made into the next WW2 miniseries for HBO by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Have a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Extensive, but jumps around a lot"

    This is a long history of the US 8th Air Force in WWII. It covers a lot of different people and events, but jumps around quite a bit, so it can be challenging to follow all the history. The horrors of the war on the airmen who fought it and the other side are clearly described, showing just how terrible this war was. Worth listening to if you want to get a broad background on the European air war, and you have the stamina to get through all 25 hours. I listened to this immediately following Unbroken (which was certainly a better story), and the two books certainly increased my knowledge of WWII. If I were studying the war seriously, I would definitely want to read rather than listen to this book, but I would definitely recommend it for a student of history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Manchester, CT USA 10-30-14
    David Manchester, CT USA 10-30-14 Member Since 2014

    prog_dave

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    "Too Hard"
    Any additional comments?

    I had a hard time with this book. I found some of the stories very interesting, but they never really lasted very long before Mr. Miller was on to something else, often only tangentially related to the previous story. Personally, that kind of writing is always a struggle for me when listening to audiobooks - I get caught up in a story line and have no trouble concentrating, but authors who flit from place to place frequently are hard for me to follow.

    I also struggled keeping track of the names and dates, especially since the book is only loosely in chronological order. If I had to do it over again, I would buy the written book - I don't think audio is the right format. My "overall" rating is lower than either my story or performance ratings for this reason.

    The narrator was pleasing to listen to, but I cringed at his occasional attempts to mimic an English accent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily 09-05-14
    Emily 09-05-14 Member Since 2014
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    "SO comprehensive but..."
    If you could sum up Masters of the Air in three words, what would they be?

    comprehensive, interesting, slow


    Would you be willing to try another one of Robertson Dean’s performances?

    Absolutely not. He is the reason I can't rate this book higher. I think I would prefer listening to Siri narrate a book. Oh wait, his narration is akin to that.


    Any additional comments?

    This is by far the most comprehensive book about the 8th air force (or any other branch of the military) that I've ever read/heard. Not one detail is skimmed over or lost. That makes the book rather slow moving but not uninteresting. Perhaps a different narrator could have breathed some life into the book. I don't want to make it seem like I didn't enjoy it, I only wish to convey the fact that this doesn't "read" like a novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill54494 Wisconsin Rapids, WI USA 08-16-14
    Bill54494 Wisconsin Rapids, WI USA 08-16-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Much more than I thought it would be!"
    Any additional comments?

    What struck me most about this book was the way it depicted the true horrors and heroics of war. This book is not just about skilled and courageous aviators. It is about men on both sides who flew even when they knew that they were more likely to die than not. It is about mistakes that cost thousands of lives. It is about an insane war hatched in the mind of a megalomaniac that nearly destroyed a continent. It is probably the best book about World War II in Europe that I have ever read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Burkhead East Peoria, IL USA 01-30-13
    Ed Burkhead East Peoria, IL USA 01-30-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Masters of the Air"
    What did you like best about Masters of the Air? What did you like least?

    This book follow the formula - tales of daring-do at first followed by actual history then tales of the prison camps. I wish he'd put section one last (but, I guess, how many would stay to hear it if the history came first')

    I had high expectations for this book but it did not live up to them. However, I think it is worth listening to because it does tell the story and the story is worth the time spent reading/listening.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Donald L. Miller again?

    Maybe


    What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

    The performance was good enough that it "disappeared" from my attention.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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