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Masters of the Air Audiobook

Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany

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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

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Joe Falmouth, ME, United States 02-19-13
    Joe Falmouth, ME, United States 02-19-13 Member Since 2012
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    "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
  •  
    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim apalachin, NY, United States 05-08-17
    Tim apalachin, NY, United States 05-08-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Little long but great history book"

    I didn't think of get thru this book. But the author made each chapter enticing enough to move thru.

    This was a real eye opener for me with regard to why the death toll was so high for the bomber personnel.

    It is enraging for me to hear the way the "Bomber Mafia" threw away the lives of the best of a generation due to arrogance and their need to justify a theory and the creation of a separate Air Force.

    Yet again politics took precedence over the value of the lives of our service men.

    Interesting details on the death of Joe Kennedy. I knew he died in a plane crash but never heard it was a result of a secret experimental flight gone wrong.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john s clark 04-24-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Book"

    This is a great book If you enjoy long books. It is more for older people I tried listening to it at twelve I got bored. When I was older I liked a lot. If world war 2 is your thing you will like this book! :):):)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mjm9536 04-18-17
    mjm9536 04-18-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Narrator drags"

    I loved the book, it is full of information I never knew and in great detail but the narrator to be completely honest drags. By that I mean he speaks slowly. Listening to this book at 1.25x speed saved it for me!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 03-31-17
    Jim 03-31-17
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    "Like the bombers, the pages fly by!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would highly recommend this book to a friend and in fact bought a hard copy for a friend. The history is fascinating and the details exceedingly revealing of both errors in calculation and thought as well as great successes often made through great sacrifices. Just as importantly we learn about the roles of several European countries including Switzerland and their treatment of the allies.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There wasn't a favorite character -- there were too many to enumerate all playing significant roles in the war effort -- from Doolittle to Jimmy Stewart to Chuck Yeager and more!


    Have you listened to any of Robertson Dean’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No but I look forward to hearing more of his work!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were actually several moments threaded together by one theme -- the enormity of decision making. It said a lot about that generation and in particular the leaders.


    Any additional comments?

    I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Morris Talley 03-29-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Hard to follow"

    The timeline is often jumbled by often switching from event and/or location. The person or group being told of can also be hard to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alejandro Lopez Miami FL 03-28-17
    Alejandro Lopez Miami FL 03-28-17 Member Since 2017

    LexLow

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    "Most complete Docu-Book about our Bomber Boys"
    What did you love best about Masters of the Air?

    Accurate and full of details


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

    How it took me through the struggles and triumphs of the whole war


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All of it


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

    Cant. its way 2 long. But so worth it


    Any additional comments?

    If you are a 8th, B-17 or just a WWII buff you will love this book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Damian 03-25-17
    Damian 03-25-17 Member Since 2013

    Criminal Defense Attorney and Combat Deployed Green Beret/AB Ranger (Iraq/Afghanistan/Other Places). Santa Fe, New Mexico

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    ""The flak was so thick you could've gotten out and walked on it…""

    Not a passage from this excellent history, but the last letter my mother received from her first fiancé, Lieutenant Charles Barnes of 8th Air Force...last seen bailing out over the North Sea. A close to home passage from history that gave me high expectations for "Masters of the Air". And the author met them on every mission. A precise and heart wrenching discussion of aerial warfare over Europe that not only painted the broad picture but nicely provided individual vignettes on famous figures - Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart Tom Landry - as well as a host of unknowns, that made the book come alive in a way that Lieutenant Barnes letter to my mother still haunts readers 75 years after it was written. Excellent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    A dad 03-23-17
    A dad 03-23-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Love the bomber boys"
    What did you love best about Masters of the Air?

    The teamwork. These young men worked in teams of mostly ten members each, and those teams were parts of much larger teams. That dynamic proved irresistible in certain ways and was always necessary for survival but not sufficient since some variables were a matter of luck or chance.


    Have you listened to any of Robertson Dean’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King
    In that book as in this one, I was completely captured from the first minute and felt the narration was flawless.

    I wish I could narrate like Robertson Dean. I'd like to be talented like that.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    See all 10 installments of Amazon Original Series 'Masters of the Air' plus a 'making of' special, 'Making Masters of the Air' featurette and 'Bomber Boys' featuring profiles of twenty-six Air Force heroes.


    Any additional comments?

    There are many dimensions to this story and countless heroes. The amount of research behind this is staggering. I think the author delivered what will prove to be one of the most enduring books about the U.S. involvement in World War II.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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