This book is a "must have" for any collector of air combat books. The best of the best. Excellent collections of factual stories. Completely entertaining. If you can't buy it look for it in a good public library and enjoy. Then try to buy it for your private library. BOB STANE President B-17 Combat Crewmen & Wingmen Pasadena, California
Edward Jablonski's FLYING FORTRESS is a classic of aviation literature and is unique as the earliest, best-written "biography" of any aircraft. Sometimes imitated but never duplicated, FLYING FORTRESS is a wonderful read, less military history than memoir, and anyone who does read it comes away with love in their heart for the Boeing B-17, one of the most lethal, effective, rugged, and beautiful (if such a word applies to warplanes) flying machines ever built.
Jablonski takes us through the step-by-step evolution of this airplane, from its earliest wooden strut-and-wire precursors to its ultimate development into the B-29 "atomic" bomber of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The general design of the B-17 proceeded from Boeing's Model 299 to the wartime B-17G, of which almost 9000 were built. Although the "E," "F," and "G" variants were the most common of the more than 12,000 B-17s constructed, the Flying Fortress underwent literally hundreds of modifications and served variously as a heavy bomber, a command plane, a radar platform, an antisubmarine hunter, and even a kind of long-range superfighter during its decade-long career.
The B-17 was as widely distributed as it was modified. Although the Flying Fortress is most commonly associated with the Eighth Air Force based in England, Fortresses served in Italy, Africa and the Pacific theatre as well. The B-17 (along with the B-24) was the backbone of America's Strategic Bombardment program against Germany during World War II. Although the price was steep (about 25% of Fortresses never came home) Strategic Bombardment demonstrably shortened the war by destroying Germany's industrial plant.Read more ›
If want a clear concise history of the B-17, from the planes that inspired it, through the development of Project 299, through WWII, this is perhaps the best book on the subject. Written over 30 years ago, it includes information that is rarely heard of today.
This is an accurate account of a vital era of American air power which helped preserve the freedom of the world. The validation of air power as a vital offensive and defensive necessity in war was made by the author's objective presentation of just one of America's battle aircraft. My brother-in-law's B-17 is pictured upside down over Naples, Italy, although not identified, on the full-page picture. I can supply information if author or anyone is interested.
I first read this book when I was a seventh grader, growing up in Virginia. Over the years, I checked it out of our small high school library so many times that in the early 1970s I probably could have recited entire passages about The Bloody 100th or Rosie's adventures with the Russians. Jablonski was an incredible story teller, and his work easily is one of the reasons I fell in love with history.
I would consider this book the best introduction to the history of the B-17. I appreciated the addition of diagrams, pilot manuals, training aids and other technical data that was included. This should be the first book you read if you are interested in the history of the B-17.
I don't know how I came to own this book, but I must have looked over this book hundreds of times, growing up as a kid in the 70s. As time has gone on, I'm only more impressed with the detail, depth of this book. It's amazing to me that there isn't a similar book on the B-17. Thankfully, it appears that one can still pick up a copy and I would highly recommend to all interesting in WWII and in the B-17 in particular. FYI: they also have a section on the B-29.