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Big Week: Six Days that Changed the Course of World War II Hardcover – December 31, 2012


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Big Week: Six Days that Changed the Course of World War II + A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; First Edition edition (December 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425255751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425255759
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Well-written and fast-paced, this will be compelling to specialists and general readers alike.”—Kirkus Reviews
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Bill Yenne is the author of many works of military fiction and nonfiction, as well as histories of America’s great aviation companies. He is a contributor to encyclopedias of both World Wars, and has appeared on the History Channel. 

Customer Reviews

Great read and historically well done.
David G. Kaczmarek
The book is also riddled with typographical, syntactical and spelling errors.
Jerry Saperstein
This the story of the Eighth Army Air Force in the European Theater WWII.
Robert E. Jastrow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Big Week was indeed an historic event: the United States and Britain set out to destroy Germany's fighter aircraft manufacturing base through aerial bombardment - while forcing the Luftwaffe into battle to defend its irreplaceable aircraft manufacturing capacity. Between February 20-25, 1944, the USAAF and RAF bombers flew 3,500 sorties and dropped 10,000 tons of bombs. Fighter escorts claimed more than 500 German Luftwaffe fighters shot down, an overstatement.

Big Week contributed mightily to the destruction of the Luftwaffe as a fighting force. By the time of D-Day in June, 1944, Allied invasion forces encountered virtually no opposition from the German air forces and enjoyed air supremacy as American and British tactical air forces pummeled the German ground forces.

Exciting stuff, indeed, with all the makings of a great story.

But not when author Bill Yenne is telling it.

Yenne is a poor author with a grand affection for adjectives, superlatives and hyperbole. He is also repetitious. And once he grows fond of a word, such as "penultimate", he uses it, again and again, even when inappropriate. How many times have you seen an author describe someone as being born in the "penultimate" year of WWI?

Yenne is also no historian. Any knowledgeable student of WWII will be appalled at Yenne's errors of fact about matters large and small. While he offers up many sources, including many unpublished personal histories which could be interesting in the right hands, Yenne makes many misstatements. One example: toward the end of the book, he refers to Wilhelm Keitel, German head of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (Supreme Command of the Armed Forces), as William Keitel.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Thomas G. Matowitz Jr. on January 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is an important story, and knowledgeable readers will appreciate the care the author of this book took to get it right.From the generals down to the sergeants turning wrenches on the airplanes, the attention to detail shows. There were a number of great first person anecdotes that I encountered for the first time in this book.It is also gratifying to see that the technical aspects of the aircraft themselves were addressed carefully.The German side was not overlooked and there are many interesting incidents from their perspective as well.
The book raises a number of issues that I was previously unaware of. I found the follow up covering the major participants after the war interesting too.
Reading this book has certainly piqued my interest in other works by Mr. Yenne.
Highly recommended.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey T. Munson on January 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
During the week of February 20, 1944, the American Eighth Air Force began a week-long strategic bombing campaign against the German aircraft industry. Targets included aircraft factories and engine suppliers, among others. Capitalizing on an unusual pattern of good weather over Germany, the Americans and British rained death and destruction on the Germans.

Although the losses suffered by the Eighth were high, they had the ability to recover. The Germans, however, did not. As a result of these sustained attacks, German aircraft production began to fall. Also lost were many experienced German pilots, who were now replaced by pilots with much less training and experience. While the Luftwaffe remained a threat after "Big Week", it was never able to seriously challenge the Allies again.

I found "Big Week" to be a very interesting book. Author Bill Yenne begins by discussing the Eighth Air Force build-up in 1942 and then proceeds to discuss the early missions flown by the Eighth. I enjoyed reading about the personnel involved in the campaign, as well as the first-hand accounts provided by the crew members themselves.

I highly recommend this great work of aviation history. Bill Yenne has written a fine book about an important week in World War II and how it ultimately led to the defeat of Germany.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John E. Greifenkamp on February 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not as good as some of the other books but worth reading. This book actually cites the other books. It leaves out the real importance of the mustangs (P51) on this part of the air war
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Groen VINE VOICE on March 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a good review of the bombing campaign over Germany during World War II.

Big Week occurred during the last week of February, 1944. It was the first time that the 8th Air Force put up over 500 planes for a number of days in a row for a week - in fact, six days and the the seventh didn't occur due to weather. The 8th Air Force was here to stay and during this campaign it wrenched air superiority from Germany in preparation for the D-Day landings.

The book covers more than Big Week though. It provides a lead up to this campaign, the success of this campaign and the lack of German airplanes over D-Day. The Allies had total control of the air over D-Day and from then until the end of the war. Big Week was the reason why this occurred.

What I liked about this book is how the author laid down his case and the results. He shared the facts - the destruction of German industry from the German perspective and impact on D-Day and following. I also liked the couple of human interest stories that he provided. However, I don't think that he provided enough which is why I didn't give it the highest rating.

Since there really are no maps of interest in this book, I recommend the Kindle for reading this book.

And, I recommend this book for any individual who is interested in the air war over Germany. This book provides a good strategic perspective of the war and the details around the tactics and the events. More interest stories would have made the book better but it is still a book worth the read.
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