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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.

Critic Reviews

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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  • Story
  • Gorman
  • Frostburg, Moldova, Republic of
  • 02-20-13

A wonderful perspective on our "Greatest Generatio

What did you love best about Masters of the Air?

We have all read or heard of the wonders of Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation". We now have that translated into the European air war of World War II. The format and detail of the story line was well developed and consistent as you proceed through the war.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Masters of the Air?

The use of detailed history of events, coupled with the "human" factor of individual stories, made the entire book a pleasure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • Falmouth, ME, United States
  • 02-19-13

Amazing . . .

What did you love best about Masters of the Air?

Despite enjoying WWII history, I never took much time to think about or learn about the bomber campaign and what it entailed . . . the lives it cost or it's broader impact on the war effort. My exposure to that campaign was numerous watchings of Twelve O'Clock high, thinking this sufficient to cover that part of the war. I had no idea of how this part of the war evolved, it's history with the bomber barons, and it's ultimate impact on victory over Europe. The author is unflinching in looking at all the angles - good and bad - of the campaign including the impact of terror bombing toward the end of the war and the impact on civilians.

This is a fantastic, compelling and important story and I highly recommend it for everyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Vance
  • imperial, CA, United States
  • 01-06-13

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

  • Overall

Masters of the Air

Awesomely rehearsed. The author has excellent command of his material and a style that is appropriate to his subject and comfortable to the reader.

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Outstanding History

Let me start by saying this book is only for history fans. This is an outstanding history of the 8th Air Force's operations in Europe during WWII. The author does a very good job creating an exciting and thorough narrative. The narrator does a very good job too. This is excellent for anyone interested in the role of air power in WWII.

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Very nicely bone

Very nicely done, there is alot of facts that I was not aware. to finally see the destruction through the eyes of the common citizens expropriation

  • Overall

Great audio book

Great look back at history. So we remember what can happen again and not let history repeat it's self

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  • Story

Stunning, Definitive Historic Epic

What did you love best about Masters of the Air?

Its absorbing historic sweep, brilliant historical detail, a reverent tribute to the 8th Air Force, memorializing the air men who won the final victory of the WW II in Europe. Both sides, US - German, are covered in revelatory depth. Uncovered long forgotten of a historic time. In my years of Audible Books Listening, this Audible Book stands outas the best ever.

What did you like best about this story?

The prose, clear tempo of the superb writing, the brilliant narration, the depth of its revealing historic sweep, its startling, hidden history of WWII air war. Covers the leaders, both foolish and brilliant men who strategically stumbled through the European Air War. It gives a history of US air power, it gives views of both the US and German sides, the to and fro tempo of their battles, their strategies, the pace of war. Especially giv, the focus of the men on a close personal level, details of their live and survivals. It vividly captures WII, both home and in depth at the battle fronts. The writer perceptive insights give unique insight into each of the major players, covering the individual, unique personalities engaged in the great battles.

What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

First, if an authentic WWII bomber pilot were to read this book, the narrator sounded like on the hat hard bitten, war confident bomber pilots. Roberson Dear/s voice enhanced the narrative, he sounded like a WWII bomber pilot. This brought to book uplifted to the time and place of WW II: in the air and on the ground. In the UK. The narrator sounds like he has been there. Is perfect, enhances the splendid writing. Never tiring, respectful, always giving a moving tribute with his voice. He is perfect.

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

No. One sitting is not enough. It is something to listen to in time segments because it is so moving, so rich in content, so powerful, at times stunning. To rush through it would not properly respect the work. Nor get full ability to uncover its richness. I lived with this book for several weeks, intimately reading it in the US and then Europe. Transported to the book's time and place. And I wanted to savor the words, the narration. I rationed the book out over time, to keep its intimacy, its absorbing world, to ration out its value. It is so packed with history, personalities, drama from both the sides of the Allies and the Axis, it is on my list as one of the best Audible Books ever.

Any additional comments?

This book fully captures and gives tribute to the almost forgotten men who waged the air war against the evil of the Axis in so many other areas, in a way I still can not fully articulate but can only hold within my private memory.

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A powerful and moving story.

This book is an excellent, well written and detailed account of what the heroes of the US Air Forces in Europe went through in World War II and the terrible impact of "all out" air war upon both the victors and the vanquished.

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the best war History since citizen soldier

Donald it till Miller is a genius who weaves individual in Aptos and stories through a work of medium and high level decision-making historically and presently that led to the triumph and losses of bombing command. His brilliant non judgemental enlightenment of how we ended up in several situations cannot help but make you miss accurate and intelligent reporting