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Long before he entered politics, when he was just in his early 20s, South Dakotan George McGovern flew 35 bomber missions over Nazi-occupied Europe, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery under fire. Stephen Ambrose, the industrious historian, focuses on McGovern and the young crew of his B-24 bomber, volunteers all, in this vivid study of the air war in Europe.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Brought to life by best-selling historian Ambrose (author of more than 20 books), here is one of America's forgotten workhorse weapons of WWII the B-24 bomber. Carrying a heavier payload than the glamorous B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24, nicknamed the Liberator, also filled the skies over Germany, bombing troops, oil refineries, factories and other strategic targets. South Dakota-born George S. McGovern was 22 when he became a B-24 pilot in the 741st Bomb Squadron, based in Cerignola, Italy. Though basing the book largely on McGovern's 35 missions, for which he won the Distinguished Flying Cross, Ambrose includes many other stories about the men who flew over Germany and eastern Europe. As Ambrose makes abundantly clear, the planes were not fun to fly. The crew faced inside temperatures of 50 below zero, sat in cramped seats and suffered high casualty rates. Ambrose follows pilots and crews from start to finish where they were from, their backgrounds, training, bravery and heroism as they did their part to help win the war. Today there are only four B-24s left of the 18,300 that once made up the force. While this book leans largely toward hagiography of the everymen it depicts, it also clearly refutes lies spread about McGovern's service during the 1972 presidential campaign. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)Forecast: Any book with the Ambrose name should do a short stint on bestseller lists; this one should pick up some (largely unrelated) momentum from the Pearl Harbor anniversary and film. The book's release coincides with the airing of a 10-part Dreamworks/ HBO series based on Ambrose's Band of Brothers.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Editorial Reviews
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 1 month ago by Rob R.
I wished I had voted for George for President. His service life is chronicled here. A decent man. Richard Nixon spent his service life in the Navy, playing Poker--he financed... Read morePublished 1 month ago by zewponx
Out if all the Ambrise books I have read, which is most, this was the book I liked the leastPublished 1 month ago by ejm
It was an ok book but repetitive. According to the author, so it seemed, WWII couldn't have been won with out McGovern. It was a disappointment read for me. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Herbie
So well written a book, so descriptive of the risks and terror these bomber pilots and crew flew under, it is impossible to put it down for long. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great personal account from Senator McGovern. It really helped paint the picture of the day to day grind of an American pilot and crew.Published 3 months ago by Joshua Vander Velden
There are many people profiled and a little disjointed in keeping up with all of them. Had to go back to recall some of the names. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. Hawthorn
Good author. Also, if you are interested in WWII stories - especially those who flew the B-24, as my brother did, this is a good book.Published 4 months ago by Zoe