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B-17 Memphis Belle (Images of War) Paperback – July 19, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Images of War
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate Publishers; 1St Edition edition (July 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848846916
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848846913
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 7.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #901,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Colorado513 on February 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent and concise history of the legendary WWII B-17F "Memphis Belle" with an extensive collection of photos of the plane, her flight and ground crews during her combat service, the attendant PR hype, the War Bonds tour, the Wm. Wyler WWII film,, and what happened to the "Belle" post war. This book is a must for 8th Air Force aficionados. The reason the book did not get 5 stars is the absence of any color photos within the book. The only color images are on the back cover. The lack of an index is also a negative..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
The MEMPHIS BELLE is the most famous B-17 ever produced. Allegedly the first 8th Air Force Flying Fort to complete 25 missions, it assumed almost mythic status, inspired a classic William Wyler documentary and subsequent wide-screen remake in 1990. Graham Simons examines the bomber's true record in B-17 MEMPHIS BELLE, one of the Pen & Sword IMAGES OF WARS series.

As many aviation enthusiasts now know, some of that record was false or misleading. The BELLE was not the first 8th AF B-17 to survive 25 missions, HELL'S ANGELS from the 303rd BG took that honor. THUNDERBIRD, also from the 303rd, was the second runner-up followed by the BELLE. Air Force brass selected the BELLE to take the honors; William Wyler and 8th AF PR staffers creating the BELLE myth. Likewise, the men who flew the BELLE on her 25th mission had not flown all 25 missions in that bird; they were a make-up crew of 91st BG crewmen who had completed 25 missions. For example, Jim Verinis, Bob Morgan's 'co-pilot,' had flown 20 missions as first pilot in another B-17! Smoke and mirrors! Or, as a character in a John Ford movie once said: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

Simons does a fair job of relating the BELLE story. I was disappointed in the chapter detailing the Belle's combat career; it was disjointed and incomplete. He does a better job describing the subsequent war bond tour stateside and Wyler's efforts in creating his BELLE documentary. Although Simons updates the aircraft's later wanderings to 2011, I wish he had included details on, at least, Morgan and Margaret Polk.

The best thing Simons' book has going for it is the wonderful collection of b&w photographs showing the BELLE throughout the years. Many rare candids can be found in the book. If the text is uneven, it's obvious a lot of research went into its production. So, four stars for this photo tribute to a legendary 8th AF warbird. Recommended.
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More About the Author

Graham is a past Engineering Director of the East Anglian Aviation Society - one of the trio of organisations that created the world-famous aeronautical collection at Duxford who also maintained the Tower Museum at Bassingbourn. He has been a professional aviation writer and publisher since 1987. He is a life-member of the Memphis Belle Memorial Association and at one time was the official historian and is still the custodian of history for the UK airline Dan Air Services.

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