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Publisher's Summary

As a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber pilot, John Muirhead led missions into northern Italy, Germany, and Bulgaria during World War II. Ultimately, he was shot down and taken prisoner.

John Muirhead's re-creation of those years is a breathtaking mingling of ravaging horrors and silent, surreal images; of raw, tumultuous memory and elegantly paced narrative; of lightening humor and measured reflection.

Seldom has a listener been made to feel terror so viscerally. Rarely has a listener ascended the skies so thrillingly. And never has one felt so close to the numbing fear, the boredom, the eerie beauty, and the dislocated sensibilities of war in the air as in Those Who Fall.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 01-29-18

Only R. Dean Mars Sheer Perfection

Those Who Fall is an elegantly written memoir of fear, determination, friendship, courage, and the will to live. At its best, it's pure poetry.
Alas, I have to admit it: I'm not a big fan of Robertson Dean, and it's tragic that he's the narrator of so many fine books, all of which he fails to elevate or to deliver on in the manner which they deserve. Here, while he does a good job of dialogue (even tho' he's no master of accents), the narrative itself is delivered without much cadence, nearing a monotone most of the time.
Which is tragic because John Muirhead writes of the beauty of a child's voice, the desperation of a widow's loneliness, the unwillingness to get attached to the fate of the man beside you because that would make their ultimate and oh so likely death unbearable. He writes of the fear to run that next mission, the one that could be your last. He recounts riveting action of bombing runs on oil facilities, of airbursts of fire and shrapnel. He tells of trying to take care of the utterly shell shocked, of trying to find food and life within the confines of POW camps.
He writes of the misery of torture.
Those Who Fall has it all, and while Dean is less than sublime, he still can't turn this into a just-okay book.
It's brilliant! Not since Guy Sajer's The Forgotten Soldier have I truly felt war, boredom, horror, hope, so much.
By the way. It does seem to end too soon, but that's only because you'll want to know more of Muirhead's story. You will indeed care that much...

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Incomplete ending

The story ended with the Russians at some distance from the camp - no idea what happened next. I'm sure their arrival and the prisoners trip after could have been interesting. No luck.
Seemed odd to stop there.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, but too flowery prose

This was great story of one man’s experience flying B17’s with the 15th Air Force. It gave a good view of daily life, the mundane existence between missions and the terror experienced during those missions. It also describes life in a Bulgarian POW camp. The story was engaging and I looked forward to listening to it.

The only negative comment, I’d offer is that at times the author would lapse into very flowery descriptions and imagery—like he was trying to emulate the classic authors he quotes throw out the work. It just seems odd given the subject matter.

The performance was good and unobtrusive. Overall, I would recommend the “listen” to anyone trying to understand what life was like for WWII heavy bombers crew. My father served as the top turret gunnery on a B24 flying out of England, was shot down and was interned in a German POW camp until the end of the war. Listening to this book, helped me recall stories he told me as a kid.

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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best accounts of a WW2 bomber crewmen

Loved this ebook! The narrator was awesome and the story portrayed of a B17 pilot in Italy was excellent. Not just a pilot but a great author! Fantastic and highly recommend this one!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very real. An amazing first person account .

What is it like to fight, fly, fall and then be captured? All here, this book was amazing!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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the best war story I ever heard!

It was a war story like all the others, full of drama, pathos, Terror,l and courage . but it was told with a Polish which made it marvelously poetic. furthermore, it was read in an incomparable manner . I recommend this most highly.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book

This is an amazing story of life as a bomber pilot in world war 2! I am disappointed that this book is over, I want more! One of if not the best audiobook I've purchased!!!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best-Written WWII Air War Memoir

What did you love best about Those Who Fall?

Excellent writing and descriptive ability. Memorable characters. Phenomenal accounts of bombing raids over Germany in WWII, the best I have read. Insight into life behind the scenes on the ground at air bases. Interactions with local Italian population. Have remembered this powerful and moving narrative since the first time I read it 25+ years ago, astonished and delighted to see that anyone made the effort to present an audiobook version.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Narrator and perhaps his commanding officer.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was pedestrian, but the content is very strong.

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

The first account of a bombing raid over Germany was much more than war porn. The superb descriptions are evocative and tense.

Any additional comments?

Thrilled to see this available! No-brainer!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mukiwa
  • 12-28-17

Moving war story

A beautifully written story. A very honest and authentic account of dealing with the incomprehensible reality of being in the midst of war and frequently facing death.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful