When Heroes Flew

Narrated by: Steve Rausch
Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An American bomber crew. A German fighter pilot. And a deadly WWII showdown with a stunning conclusion.

For B-24 bomber pilot Al Lycombing, the mission was history in the making. Dispatched to Benghazi on mysterious orders, he finds nearly 200 other B-24 bombers being assembled and a top secret assignment that will catapult them all into seemingly impenetrable Nazi defenses.

Their mission: a daring low-level attack on Hitler’s extensive oil refineries. But when his co-pilot falls ill, Albert is forced to secretly find help from an unlikely source -a female pilot who ferried a bomber from America. Together, the two launch on the most daring bombing raid of WWII and into the pages of history.

When Heroes Flew is a novel of extraordinary bravery, based on the true story of one of the most historic air raids ever flown. With perspectives from American and German pilots alike, this gripping thriller will keep you listening until the fateful ending.

Praise for the book:

"Buzz Bernard's evocative prose places you right into the cockpit of a World War II bomber. You can feel the vibration, smell the exhaust, and sense the fear." (Tom Young, author of Silver Wings, Iron Cross, The Mullah's Storm, and other novels)

©2020 Severn River Publishing (P)2020 Severn River Publishing

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Parts were great and parts were kinda stupid

OK, I know a lot of effort went into this book and the author details his sources at the end but I was really torn by this one. Parts of it are really compelling and I couldn't stop listening. Other parts, frankly, were so far fetched as to be historically inaccurate and distracting to anyone with some grasp of the history. Because of this, I really disliked the parts of the book leading up to the Ploesti raid. Then, suddenly, it became really interesting. Things to like... 1) The book actually provides a pretty understandable description of the first Ploesti raid from which it's easy to see how things got so screwed up. I think the Ploesti part (the core) of this book would provide a great introduction to people who are interested in the raid but know nothing about it. 2) The 'relationship' between opposing pilots was actually pretty touching. I have to admit that I teared up a few times near the end. Things to, perhaps, not like... 1) The narrator was good but his vocal range wasn't up to covering the range of characters with which he was tasked. In hindsight, he would have been better off reading the female characters with his normal voice. His attempt to sound female felt almost like caricature. 2) Elements of the plot were, frankly, ludicrous. I can't go into them without giving away the story but, you should be able to get it when you listen to it. 3) The author was quite heavy handed in providing historical context by putting words into characters' mouths. For example, when German fighter pilots describe how they feel about the Nazi regime. Sometimes ideas like this are better just described or inferred over the arc of the story, rather than being put into the mouths of characters. While I love reading aviation history nonfiction, historical nonfiction, with its ability to describe emotions and feelings can fill a role that nonfiction sometimes can't. For example, a piece of excellent historical fiction about a WW2 bomber mission is BOMBER by Len Deighton. Part of what it does well is get more technical about the aircraft involved and this gives it a higher level of realism. For what it's worth, I couldn't help but feel that WHEN HEROES FLEW has the bones of a a classic. I know that it's a rewrite of an earlier short story but, if the author were interested, I'd recommend that he read BOMBER, and a few similar books, and then give this one a third shot, removing some of the more outlandish plot points.

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captivating

This is a well written novel filled with history and military honor. Even though it is a work of fiction, the feel of truth resonates within its historical foundation. The narrator did a fabulous job drawing out the characters.