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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

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  •  
    Ed Burkhead East Peoria, IL USA 01-30-13
    Ed Burkhead East Peoria, IL USA 01-30-13 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 01-25-13
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 01-25-13 Member Since 2006

    Tell us about yourself!

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    "Thorough covering of the air war over Europe."

    This is a thorough look at the American bomber campaign against the Nazis. Fascinating information and stories from and about the men themselves moves this book along nicely. These men gave all over and over again to fight and finish a war that they didnt start. I really enjoyed the stories about the men themselves and the lives in and outside of the planes. Stories of valor, sacrifice, horror and misery and more fill this book. It really is amazing what these men did and what they went through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vance imperial, CA, United States 01-06-13
    Vance imperial, CA, United States 01-06-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Direct Hit!"

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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 03-26-13
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 03-26-13 Member Since 2008

    Non Fiction Reader

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    "Unheralded bravery"

    This is an exhaustive history focused entirely on the 8th Air Force during World War II. At times it is exhausting reading. The airmen's stories become intensely personal and many, too many, were consigned to early deaths. Miller goes beyond the statistics in attempting to answer why/how does someone who knows the odds are against him (and his crewmates) from returning home climb into an airplane to bomb Germany and fight off the Luftwaffe. The answer lies in thier willingness to do their duty in the most prosaic way. They simply did their jobs without glory-seeking and lived from day to day. There is no attempt to burnish anyone's image. Miller treats straigtforwardly the lack of a long-range fighter escort and the resulting deaths caused by set minds on outmoded doctirnes and the inability for the top brass to have their minds' changed by the reality on the ground and in the air.
    I think the book will be more attractive to those interested in World War II. The author makes some basic assumptions: The reader knows something about European geography, war planes nomenclature and the general progress of the war as it moved from west to east. I recommend it highly. One of the better reads so far (March) this year.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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