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Coffin Corner Boys  By  cover art

Coffin Corner Boys

By: Carole Engle Avriett,Captain George W. Starks
Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
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Publisher's Summary

As a young band of brothers flies over German-occupied France, they come under heavy fire. Their B-17 is shot down and the airmen - stumbling through fields and villages - scatter across Europe. Some struggled to flee for safety. Others were captured immediately and imprisoned. Now, for the first time, their incredible story of grit, survival, and reunion is told.

In 1944, George Starks was just a 19-year-old kid from Florida when he and his high school buddies enlisted in the US military. They wanted to join the action of WWII. George was assigned to the 92nd Bomb Group, in which the median age was 22, and on his crew's first bombing mission together received the most vulnerable spot of a B-17 mission configuration: low squadron, low group, flying number six in the bomber-box formation. Airmen called George's position the "Coffin Corner" because here exposure was most likely to draw hostile fire. Sure enough, George's plane was shot down by a German Fw 190, and he jumped at 25,000 feet for the "first and only time", as he tells the story. He landed near Vitry-en-Perthois to begin a 300-mile trek through the dangers of war-torn France towards the freedom of neutral Switzerland. Through waist-deep snow, seering exhaustion, and close encounters with Nazis, George repeated to himself the mantra "just one more day". He battled to keep walking. His comrades were scattered all across Europe and experienced places as formidable as German POW camps and as hospitable as Spain, each crew member always wondering about the fate of the others.

After the war, George made two vows: he would never lose touch with his men again and one day would attempt to thank those who had risked their lives to save his. Despite passage of time and demands of career and family, he accomplished both. He reunited with his crew and then 25 years later, returned to France to locate as many as he could of the brave souls who had helped him evade the enemy.

Join George as he retraces his steps to freedom and discover the amazing stories of sacrifice and survival and how 10 young American boys plus their French helpers became heroes.

©2018 Carole Engle Avriett (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Coffin Corner Boys

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Not what I was expecting.

I was expecting more of an air-battle action-thriller type of book. I wouldn't even call this a "Band of Brothers" book either, as the publishers summary of the book suggests. I thought it was quite boring, for the most part. I know it is a true story, with a happy ending, but I just can't recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story, narration could be better

A great story of ww2 valor and survival. The narration was limited basically a simplistic old timey, golly gee like American voice for every character, very 1 dimensional and didnt serve the story unfortunately.

2 people found this helpful

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Awesome story , poorly read

An amazing story unfortunately the narrator sounded like a 15 year old boy. It took away from the story !

2 people found this helpful

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good story...narration not so

The story itself was good. The author had great material to work with. The performance was where it dropped off. I think had the narrator simply read the book, I would have enjoyed it more. The problem was he felt the need to add dialect to the characters. The pilot's Florida accent sounded like a bad rendition of Colonel Sanders. It didn't ruin the book, but was a definite distraction to me.

2 people found this helpful

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Skips around in time, hard to follow as audio.

I'm new to audio books. Fighter Pilot about Robin Olds read by Robinson Dean spoiled me. I'm still listening for a book better than that one. I have found that the typical WWII autobiography is great. I listen while I do other things, so I want something that is easy to follow. A linear time line works best for me. A limited number of names and dates is best. I like the stories! This book would be awesome if I could re-arrange the chapters and follow the story of each crew member as a single timeline. Instead the book chapters skip around from crew member to crew member covering a little slice of time. I suppose if I got pencil and paper and wrote down the names of the crew members and memorized them then I could follow along better; but I am just looking for some easy listening and some good stories. The book does have some excellent stories. Patrick Lawlor does a good job of narration, so good that I will look for more books narrated by him.

I am not sure how to express the time line confusion using audible's rating system.
The book was overall very good.
The Narration performance was very good. I loved it.
The story was very good, just not linear like I like them. A little hard to follow. Same voice, different crew member stories. The time line repeated for each crew member multiple times.

2 people found this helpful

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It felt too superficial…

Maybe it was the narrator going in and out of a variety of weak accents that grated on me…I dunno. Story was ok, but it was a lot of crew members to follow and I failed to connect the the characters. Seemed like it went on about 30 mins too long. They are hero’s, but this book isn’t

1 person found this helpful

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Great personal story of WWII heroism

Interesting parallel memoir of ten B-17 crewmembers surviving shootdown over France, their ensuing escapes or captures, and eventual reunions with their French saviors and each other.

Really drives home the heroism of the common Frenchman and the Resistance.

The narrator's faked accents get old QuickTime, though.

1 person found this helpful

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Riviting

The narrator seemed like an odd choice at first, but by the second chapter it was obvious the narrator does this story its justice.

Each member of this crew had a dangerous and riviting path back to freedom... each which is brilliantly recollected and retold.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful Story of a Downed Aircrew and their French Helpers

I heard of this book from a podcast and it was fantastic. It tells the stories of crew members of a B-17 that was shot down over France and the struggles each man went though to survive and escape. It also tells about the extreme risk French citizens would go to in order to help these men avoid capture from the Germans. Well worth listening to.

1 person found this helpful

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Not what I expected...

I felt is was wrote more like a Journal ...Just not what keeps me interested ... great story line wished it was more told in a intriguing style... Not to put down the author or narrator....

1 person found this helpful

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  • Craig
  • 10-01-22

Just a struggle.

Am truly sorry I just couldn't get into this story. I can't put a finger on why!

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  • Anthony D. Sutton
  • 02-15-22

A really enjoyable book.

I enjoyed this so much that I stayed up half of the night to listen to it right through to the end. It is acreate example of the couragecand perseverance of ordinary people in the face of great hardship and danger.

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  • Sam
  • 09-14-22

awesome piece of history

amazing story and well read... captivating and engaging the whole story.. I kept rewinding to ensure I hadn't missed anything.

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  • Hamish
  • 09-01-22

A heartwarming story of courage

What a great heartwarming book. Really enjoyed hearing the human aspect of this crew's WW2 experiences and about the bravery of the French people.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-17-22

loved it

absolutely loved this book great story the narrator Patrick did an amazing job highly recommended 👍