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The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 Hardcover – August 14, 2001
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Manufactured by a consortium of companies that included Ford Motor and Douglas Aircraft, the B-24 bomber, dubbed the Liberator, was designed to drop high explosives on enemy positions well behind the front lines--and especially on the German capital, Berlin. Unheated, drafty, and only lightly armored, the planes were dangerous places to be, and indeed, only 50 percent of their crews survived to the war's end. Dangerous or not, they did their job, delivering thousand- pound bombs to targets deep within Germany and Austria.
In his fast-paced narrative, Ambrose follows many other flyers (including the Tuskegee Airmen, the African American pilots who gave the B-24s essential fighter support on some of their most dangerous missions) as they brave the long odds against them, facing moments of glory and terror alike. "It would be an exaggeration to say that the B-24 won the war for the Allies," Ambrose writes. "But don't ask how they could have won the war without it." --Gregory McNamee
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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The book is mostly a story of former Senator George McGovern, as he trained and flew a B-24 on bombing missions at the end of the war against Germany. He apparently didn't have to face German fighters coming at him, but he flew many times through the awful box barrages of antiaircraft fire above German cities. I still don't know how any of us survived those.
The book has errors, but what book doesn't? Thus, I'll point out the first one, on the first page of Chapter One and let it go at that. He says, "They were all volunteers. The U.S. Army Air Corps - after 1942 the Army Air Forces - did not force anyone to fly." That is nonsense. Four members of my crew were draftees, and many other combat crews contained draftees. I was headed for a nice, safe job as a ground-based officer, when the Air Force sneakily gave me a flight physical.
Still, it's an enjoyable book.Read more ›
The Liberator comes by it's neglected treatment in history, and it's earned reputation as an ugly duckling quite fairly, as the following description of conditions in the plane attests. "Steering the four-engined airplane was difficult and exhausting, as there was no power except the pilot's muscles. It had no windshield wipers, so the pilot had to stick his head out the side window to see during a rain...there was no heat, despite temperatures that at 20,000 feet and higher got as low as 40 or 50 degrees below zero...the seats were not padded, could not be reclined, and were cramped into so small a space that a man had almost no chance to stretch and none whatsoever to relax. Absolutely nothing was done to make it comfortable for the pilot, co-pilot, or the other eight men in the crew..." Yet, as with all ugly ducklings, it had it's day and earned it's admirers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Came away with a good sense of what these brave young flyers endured and accomplished.Published 7 hours ago by Robert S.
I didn't realize that the book was about McGovern's exploits. Not that interesting. My father was a B-24 pilot, and I was hoping to learn more about the larger picture.Published 1 month ago by jack heard
Like many of Mr Ambrose's books, it offers and informative look into the personal experiences of rank and file participants in the War.Published 3 months ago by DWLColo
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was glad to learn more about B-24 and B-17 operations in WWII.
Shortly after I read it, I mentioned it to our chaplain in Civil Air... Read more
Great read by a great author about our greatest generation. Great perspective and insight into the pilots and crews who--by working together--helped contribute to winning the war.Published 6 months ago by Rob R.