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Publisher's Summary

Europe has fallen. Pearl Harbor is in flames. Enter: the Eighth.

In 1941 the RAF fought a desperate battle of survival against the Luftwaffe over Britain. Then, from across the Atlantic, came a new generation of American pilots, gunners, and bombardiers, a new generation of flying machines called the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator, the P-47 Thunderbolt, and the P-51 Mustang fighter. Soon these brave young men were hurtling themselves and their unproven planes across the Channel and into the teeth of enemy firepower, raining down bombs on the German military machine, and going up against Hitler's best fliers in the sky.

This is the dramatic oral history of the Army Air Corps and the newly created Eighth Air Force stationed in Britain, an army of hard-fighting, hard-playing flying men who suffered more fatalities than the entire US Marine Corps in the Pacific campaign of World War II. Here, in their own words, are tales of survival and soul-numbing loss, of soldiers who came together to fight a kind of war that had never been fought before - and win it with their courage and their blood.

But the road to victory was paved with sacrifice. From its inaugural mission on July 4, 1942, until V-E Day, the Eighth Air Force lost more men than did the entire United States Marine Corps in all its campaigns in the Pacific. The Mighty Eighth chronicles the testimony of the pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and gunners who daily put their lives on the line. Their harrowing accounts recall the excitement and terror of dogfights against Nazi aces, maneuvering explosive-laden aircraft through deadly flak barrages, and fending off waves of enemy fighters while coping with subzero temperatures.

Beginning with the opening salvos from a mere dozen planes, crewmen describe the raids on Berlin and Dresden, the fiasco at Ploesti, Romania, and Black Thursday over Schweinfurt. They fell to the terror of seeing aircraft destroyed - helplessly watching as comrades crash and burn, or parachute over enemy territory, where they will attempt to evade enemy capture through the underground. Others tell of mourning downed airmen murdered by vengeful citizens and soldiers, and of those who endured captivity in POW camps.

©2015 Gerald Astor (P)2015 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Great reading." (Stephen Ambrose)
"Bold, brawny, epic in scope...Astor captures the fire and passion of these tens of thousands of US airmen who flew through the inferno that was the bomber war over Europe." (Stephen Coonts)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Mighty Eighth

Good read for both those familiar and non- familiar with WWII action. Written the the Stephen Ambrose style.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Gets Repetitive Perhaps Because That’s How The Men Lived And Died

This is not a continuous following of a group of airmen. This is a reasonably well organized and somewhat linear arrangement of journal entries and interviews from a wide variety of the amazing airman who flew in the ETO. Their repetitively death threatening mission based lives are reflected in the this telling. It is repetitive and it is beyond all courage and it is very real. Excellent amalgamation of first hand accounts that must depict so vividly the repetitive lives these men lived from base to mission and, with God’s Grace, to base and back to mission.

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well written and read.

as an old sailor I had my reservations about the topic but I enjoyed the story's and continue to be amazed at how brave the generation was

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  • John
  • Chamblee, GA, United States
  • 10-30-18

Very Interesting; Could Use Editing

This is an interesting book for those with an interest in World War II history. It essentially collects stories as told by veterans of the "Mighty Eighth" air corps. Most of the persons profiled are not well-known, so the book truly provides an insider's perspective on the air war. They gave a lot, lost a lot of friends, and ultimately prevailed.

I have a few problems, however, with the book. First, it is somewhat loosely organized, although generally chronological. There seems to be a lot of bouncing around and some repetition. Putting the stories in a broader context might have been helpful. Second, the book is really long. Although the stories are interesting, the book drags in places. As is often the case with a wealth of source material, it was clearly difficult for the author to pick and choose. A good editor would have helped.

This is well worth the investment of time for those with a keen interest in the subject matter. For others, maybe not.

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Great crew narrative

A very compelling story, and I wish more chapters remained.
As time passes so does the story....

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Great Read!

I really liked hearing the various first person account of what happened. My father served in the eighth Air Force but never told me anything about that service. It was humbling to hear the stories of these good men...

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Great History Lesson

All Americans young and old should read this book. Especially the young who aren't being taught this in school.

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  • Barry
  • 04-16-18

A Factually Incorrect And Poorly Executed Narrative

I had high hopes for this book in giving me a new insight into the 8th Air Force’s war over Europe, but just 4 hours in and I’ve had enough! The narrative is dull and clunky as it wanders with little direction, purpose or cohesion, failing to to even attempt to follow a basic time line. The facts and theories presented also range from just plain incorrect and fantastical to woolly and poorly researched.

Save your money or your credits, avoid this book at all costs, it’s tripe!