On September 6, 1943, 338 B-17 "Flying Fortresses" of the American Eighth Air Force took off from England, bound for Stuttgart, Germany, to bomb Nazi weapons factories. Dense clouds obscured the targets, and one commander's critical decision to circle three times over the city---and its deadly flak---would prove disastrous. Forty-five planes went down that day, and hundreds of men were lost or missing. Focusing on first-person accounts of six of the B-17 airmen, award-winning author Robert J. Mrazek vividly re-creates the fierce air battle and reveals the astonishing valor of the airmen who survived being shot down---and the tragic fate of those who did not.
©2011 Robert J. Mrazek (P)2011 Tantor
I've lived in Austin, Texas, for over 10 years, not Houston. World War II is my lifelong interest since my father was a combat veteran in the 8th Air Force. I grew up with pilots, bombardiers, and navigators. They told me many stories of their experiences and I cannot get enough of books and documentaries.
The battle descriptions.
The weaving of many lives into one mission.
The narrator will drive you nuts at first, but stick with it. His style really works in the combat sequences.
The combat sequences had a profound affect on me.
The book takes some time to get going. Like the squadrons of Boeings forming over England, the characters are gathered in a large intro to the fateful mission. Keep with it. What these men went through deserves patience.
Iranians keep their nukes, Americans lose their insurance.
This story is so well told. It is personal and touching, while still being historically accurate. I LOVED and cherished the "rest of the story" at the end, giving us a glimpse of what the boys went through after the war.
As the last veterans of World War II pass away, their stories are disappearing. This is a sad thing, because it is in the personal stories of important events that we can truly learn history that affects us. Robert Mrazek's book conveys this history in a compelling fashion that makes it possible for 21st century Americans to relive the experiences of the young men of the Eighth Air Force during their time of trial in Europe.
The personal touch Mrazek brings to each story manages to convey it at all scales from grand strategy to the happenings in individual planes. It's difficult to span this wide a scale, but Mrazek does it skillfully.
In the interests of full disclosure, Ray Theodore Wilken, one of the men Mrazek follows through the raid was my biological grandfather, so I had a reason to read this book. Doing so has taught me more about my own family history and the histories of the men linked to Ted by their joint service, and the German fighter ace who killed him.
The narrator killed this book, but the writer got the assist. The sentence structure of every passage was rigid and repetetive. The narrator used this crazy repetitve cadence for the sentences.
Skip this one, it was like paying to listen to finger nails on a chalk board.
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