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Flying Fortress Hardcover – June, 1968

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Hardcover, June, 1968
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About the Author

Edward Jablonski is the author of Alan Jay Lerner: A Biography, The Gershwin Years: George and Ira, Irving Berlin: A Biography, and many other books. His articles on music and musicians have appeared in American Record Guide, Saturday Review, Stereo Review, and the New York Times. He lives in New York City. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (June 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385038550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385038553
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's been almost 50 years since I bought a copy of the 1965 edition of Jablonski's "Flying Fortress". It was the first book I read about WWII and holds an honored spot on my book shelf. Browsing Amazon recently I came across this "Corrected" edition with a headline that screamed "*Don’t get the wrong edition: Get the corrected edition! This 2014 edition includes corrected material based on Edward Jablonski’s handwritten notes in his file copy of the original publication (ISBN: Paperback 978-1-62654-904-3 and Hardback 978-1-62654-867-1) Knowing full well the shortcomings of Jablonski's original edition I thought it was worth a shot. This book is seriously disappointing, I am returning it and would suggest that anyone who is interested get the original edition instead.

I could find nothing in this book that mentions the supposed corrections or who made them. There is no intro, no forward, no explanation, just the original preface word for word from the original. To my eye this appears to be just a facsimile of the original done on print on demand. This edition has the exact same number of pages as the original. It says Copyright 2014 Edward Jablonski which I find interesting since Mr Jablonski died in 2004. I've spent several days doing side by side readings of random pages and thus far have not found a single word that was different. Even more disappointing is the number of factual errors in the original text that still appear in this "corrected edition". Numerous copies of the original edition available here on Amazon for as little as $8.
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By A Customer on February 27, 2003
Anyone interested in a complete book on the B-17 Flying Fortress must have this one. It is a classic. I have been refering to this book for some 25 years. I used to check this book out at the library every chance I could as a kid. Now I own my own copy. It has copies of manuals from the planes. Complete documentation of the evolution of this magnificent bomber. Most men that flew this plane, loved it. Though this book was written many years ago, I don't think our history revisionists can add much of anything to it.
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By A Customer on June 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There's a lot to like about this book. To me, it is written the way a popular history ought to be written. It is well-researched, but is very readable, telling the history of the B-17 through stories of the men who built and flew it.

The first time I encountered Flying Fortress was as a child -- it was my Dad's book -- and I was fascinated by the pictures and learned a bit by reading the captions. As an adult, I bought my own copy and started in with the text itself. What I like best about it is that by telling the stories of the pivotal role played by the many men involved with the manufacture and operation of the B-17's, it demonstrates quite clearly how history is made by the actions of individuals. The stories themselves are harrowing, blood-chilling dramas -- none-the-less for the fact that they are true. It helps give an appreciation, like so few World War II history books do, for the excitement and horror of warfare.

Something else I like about Flying Fortress -- still -- are the pictures and supplemental information (including a reduced-size copy of a flight manual). Edward Jablonski collected these photographs and other information from official sources, as well as individuals. I expect you will not see them anywhere else. For years now, most cable channel history programs have recycled the same photographs and videos and simply put them to new music and voice-overs. Very economical for their business model, I expect. Jablonski, on the other hand -- writing back in the early 1960's -- was very particular in his selections. Each photo tells its own story, and most of the photos depict the stories told in the text.

This book, both long ago and now, have kindled in me a love and appreciation for aviation, history, ingenuity, and human daring. And the best part is that it's all true.
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