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Masters of the Air Audiobook

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

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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

4.5 (812 )
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4.6 (724 )
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4.5 (722 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Vance imperial, CA, United States 01-06-13
    Vance imperial, CA, United States 01-06-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    18
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    "Direct Hit!"

    It was all I hoped for. You can't go wrong with this one. Ghaphic and realistic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott C Larson 09-22-16 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
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    "indepth look at WWII European bombing campaign. "

    if you enjoy WWII history this will be enjoyable. indepth look at the air campaign of Germany, how the Allied sir campaign came to be, the behind the scenes discussions between England and American planners and generals. Attempts at times to offer moralizing occassion, but mostly a straight forward history of the hell that is war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 09-19-16
    Daniel 09-19-16 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    1
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    Story
    "Cannot be praised enough"
    If you could sum up Masters of the Air in three words, what would they be?

    Read it now


    What did you like best about this story?

    The details and analysis along with pure entertainment value. It is a great balance of history and narrative.


    What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

    Robertson Dean nails this.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There is a story about a ball turret gunner when landing gear fails....


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Lofstedt 09-14-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb"

    A uniquely profound account of the war, centered around but not exclusive to, the bomber groups. This is a massive and superbly researched series of interconnecting stories about most aspect of the air war. It recounts the egos, terror, despair, barbarism, lust and despondency of humanity involved in desperate conflict. I learned a great deal and “enjoyed” this book (of one can enjoy such a book) immensely. Robertson Dean does a superb job of narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 08-18-16
    Jim 08-18-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    "great books on facts and quotes."

    I'm studying the air war over Europe. the book was an asset. narrator fit the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vaughn 07-19-16
    Vaughn 07-19-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
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    "Fantastic"

    Arguably the best book I've heard or read about WWII. Rarely have I heard from all sides of the war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BILLB 07-02-16
    BILLB 07-02-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    17
    5
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    "Excellent WWII Narrative"

    Well researched and written history of the 8th Air Force and the largest bomber war of all time. Excellent biographical material and analysis of a much misunderstood air war in Europe. The narrator is excellent and the presentation first class.
    Worth a second listen it is so good!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul-Andre 06-25-16
    Paul-Andre 06-25-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
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    "Presenter"

    Presenter had no grasp of accents and adjustment for gender. Very annoying for a story where Europeans-particularly The English- woven through full story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Yelm, WA United States 06-21-16
    Amazon Customer Yelm, WA United States 06-21-16
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    13
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    "greatest generation"

    Great story , history as you never knew it . We owe a lot to these heros of the sky

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Bullard 06-16-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    19
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    "Every WWII Course I Ever Wanted To Hear!"
    What made the experience of listening to Masters of the Air the most enjoyable?

    Combining Rich Detailed Research With Stunning Narrative Donald Miller through Robertson Dean Delivers A Tour De Force Tale Of The Mighty Eighth Air Force.


    What did you like best about this story?

    He put you everywhere, bombers flying high, in the freezing cold, the corridors of power, with the average person in the street of bombed cities, or a POW camp, literally everything.


    What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

    He kept it real, never fell into cliché, just pure goodness


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

    I tend to walk and listen, but sometimes I had to stop to digest the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth multiple listens, and if you are of an age, resist the urge to build a B-17 model while listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Allan
    Plymouth, United Kingdom
    2/1/12
    Overall
    "Masters of The Air"

    You have just got to listen to this audio book. It demonstartes just what was involved with the USAAF and their bombing missions over the Third Reich. The battles that were going daily, during day time, with the American bomber crews against the Luftwaffe and the numerous flak batteries. Is described in authentic detail. It beggers belief that these men were destined to do their bombing missions in daylight. Especially when the RAF got slaughtered when they tried it. However, keeping those USAAF bombers doing their missions created other battles on the ground for their High Command. As the pressure from the USA on the horrendous losses caused their own problems in justifying a continuation of the bombing. Achieving that aim in itself is eye opening, and sometimes surprising. All the problems that the bomber crews of the USAAF suffered at heavy cost of life and aircraft are mentioned in full. So to support the bombing missions the USAAF High Command had to fight a war on two fronts. One on the ETO and the other on The Home Front where the dollars, bombers and aircrew come from. The stories told of these men during their bombing missions leaves not much to the imagination. Their bravery is unquestionable and undeniable. Listen to the events as they unfold. Some of them will surprise you with what was actually involved with the wheeling and dealings that went on behind the closed doors in High Command. Leaving the bomber crews to carry out those decisions made without any say in the matter. That was war. That was the bombers war. Though which is the more difficult?. Bombing during daylight where you can see and be seen. Or bombing at night. Where one can not see but can still be seen? Especially over the lit target area. Either way. This audio puts to rights what actually went on with what the men of the USAAF bomber crews had to endure and live with on a daily basis. Yet somehow.....try and come to terms with what their lost innocense had witnessed and experienced.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Barry Martin Cooke
    UK
    6/5/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding account"

    Incredible detail covering a very wide aspect of this little known story of great courage and endurance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • D. Williams
    Kent
    8/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Looking fwd to the Hanks/Spielberg production"

    So good I had to buy the Hardback. This is a weighty subject - there's really too much to fully absorb on the commute to work and back, but it's very good and well read too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swapcat
    Bradford, United Kingdom
    1/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Epic account of life and death above the 3rd Reich"
    If you could sum up Masters of the Air in three words, what would they be?

    Truth, blood, and bravery.


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

    If only that were possible... a big book.


    Any additional comments?

    The most concise account of the US bomber campaign in WW2 europe I have ever encountered. Simply epic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • K. P. Clark
    UK
    11/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Informative and Better than Expected"
    If you could sum up Masters of the Air in three words, what would they be?

    Informative, Compelling, Touching


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was well structured and packed with information.


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    An American accent


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

    Its too big for a single sitting. Its not a story and best listened too in chunks so that you can reflect on the content.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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