• Damn Lucky

  • One Man's Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History
  • By: Kevin Maurer
  • Narrated by: Holter Graham, John Luckadoo
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (236 ratings)
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Damn Lucky  By  cover art

Damn Lucky

By: Kevin Maurer
Narrated by: Holter Graham,John Luckadoo
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Publisher's summary

From Kevin Maurer—the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning coauthor of No Easy Day—comes the true story of a World War II bomber pilot who survived twenty-five missions in Damn Lucky, “an epic, thrillingly written, utterly immersive account of a very lucky, incredible survivor of the war in the skies to defeat Hitler” (New York Times bestselling author Alex Kershaw).

“We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naive and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives. We were all afraid, but it was beyond our power to quit. We volunteered for the service and, once trained and overseas, felt we had no choice but to fulfill the mission assigned. My hope is that this book honors the men with whom I served by telling the truth about what it took to climb into the cold blue and fight for our lives over and over again.”—John “Lucky” Luckadoo, Major, USAF (Ret.) 100th Bomb Group (H)

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was a world away from John Luckadoo’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. But when the Japanese attacked the American naval base on December 7, 1941, he didn’t hesitate to join the military. Trained as a pilot with the United States Air Force, Second Lieutenant Luckadoo was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group stationed in Thorpe Abbotts, England. Between June and October 1943, he flew B-17 Flying Fortresses over France and Germany on bombing runs devised to destroy the Nazi war machine.

With a shrapnel torn Bible in his flight jacket pocket and his girlfriend’s silk stocking around his neck like a scarf as talismans, Luckadoo piloted through Luftwaffe machine-gun fire and antiaircraft flak while enduring subzero temperatures to complete twenty-five missions and his combat service. The average bomber crew rarely survived after eight to twelve missions. Knowing far too many airmen who wouldn’t be returning home, Luckadoo closed off his emotions and focused on his tasks to finish his tour of duty one moment at a time, realizing his success was more about being lucky than being skilled.

Drawn from Luckadoo’s firsthand accounts, acclaimed war correspondent Kevin Maurer shares his extraordinary tale from war to peacetime, uncovering astonishing feats of bravery during the bloodiest military campaign in aviation history, and presenting an incredible portrait of a young man’s coming-of-age during the world’s most devastating war. 

This program includes a bonus conversation between John "Lucky" Luckadoo and the author.

©2022 Kevin Maurer (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Damn Lucky

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must read

i’ve read many accounts of the WWII allied bombing effort and this is one of the most comprehensive books on the subject that I have had the pleasure to read-A must read for anyone not only from a historical perspective but there are some valuable life lessons to be taken heed of as well. buy this now

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4 people found this helpful

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stay on target, gets good half way through

At the end of the book are two extra features, the acatual guy making a statement and then the author and Lucky discussing points. The actual guy, Lucky himself, has a deep voice, but the narrator is Leave It to Beaver little squeakly voice. That's what's you have to get past in the first half of the book. Plus the writing is not that great. But the story is incredible. This is a new book, Lucky is 99 years old speaking at the end, and they worked through the pandemic. To the author, read "Conversations with Major Winters" to see how books like this are done. To Mr. Luckadoo, thank you. I do understand going over the memories of the war is not what you want to do. My father was a B17 pilot in the 8th Air Force, and I've read hundreds of books, mostly biographies and autobiographies. Nothing new in this one, but certainly described what my father experience involving the missions and base. I have no idea what his experiences were off duty and in London.

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3 people found this helpful

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Probably the best I’ve read

Like you, I’ve read plenty of biographical war stories. This one really got me. Maybe the brute honesty of Lucky which had a ton of emotional ups and downs. Great storytelling, great accomplishments and some very real confrontations with the Air Force.

The piece that puts it over the top is the 30 minutes of interview the author does with Lucky, who dug deep for these recollections in his early 90’s, much of which was recounted for the first time.

First rate book.

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The humanity of the air war above WWII Europe Europe.

You've seen the movies and read the books, now read the real story about the air war over WWII Europe. Lucky's story is riveting and keeps you interested, wanting to know more. Bringing you deep inside the 'Flying Fortress' and the minds of the 10 brave men inside them. Thank you John, for telling it like it was.

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Outstanding book and story…be sure and listen to ALL of it

This is a terrific account of a horrible time in history for our country.

Damn Lucky is more than just a well written, captivating and detailed account of Capt. Luckadoo’s life, but it is a sobering wake up call to the generations that came after the “Greatest Generation.”

I highly recommend this book, especially to anyone born after 1952 (the birth year of the last Vietnam draftees), in order to understand what truly qualifies as adversity. Damn Lucky, and Capt. Luckadoo’s interviews, are both reminders of how easy we have it currently.

Most importantly, Damn Lucky serves as a reminder of the sacrifices of the men and women that fought bravely in WWII, and an example of how Americans can put aside their petty differences to come together for a greater purpose.

Thank you for your service Capt. Luckadoo, and thank you for sharing your personal story with Kevin Maurer so that he could share it with the world.

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The riveting description of what they endured in their missions.

Wonderful story of how Lucky Luckadoo survived his 25 missions of the European Air War.

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Lucky’s interview and parting message

These gentlemen are national treasures. His parting message at the end of the book will stay with me

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Inspiring story on the sacrifice lucky made for his country.

War is a difficult story to repeat for many who participate. This story is a very inspiring recollection of a man’s ability to overcome many challenges that were fortunately rewarded by a long fulfilling life. Those of us whom are fortunate to live in this country need to understand and appreciate what our fellow citizens did to protect our freedoms. Most of today’s citizens are lacking the heroism of those who served before us and we all need to reflect. As lucky says we need to remain United and this book inspires me to promote that to the best of my ability!

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A great story

I wonder if Sully’s body was ever returned to USA.
I liked the candor and humor.

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Great Read

Am Incredible story of the bravery of the men of the 100th Bombardment Group! God Bless our Veterans!

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