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The Wrong Stuff : The Adventures and Misadventures of an 8th Air Force Aviator Paperback – December 1, 2001


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The Wrong Stuff : The Adventures and Misadventures of an 8th Air Force Aviator + The Fight in the Clouds: The Extraordinary Combat Experience of P-51 Mustang Pilots During World War II + Dumb but Lucky!: Confessions of a P-51 Fighter Pilot in World War II
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; F First Edition Used edition (December 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806134224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806134222
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Shelves in bookstores are filled with memoirs from the Second World War. Even so, few capture as vividly the danger, excitement, and stress of air combat as does Truman Smith s The Wrong Stuff. --Mark K. Wells, USAF Academy

If you thought gallantry and valor were the only stuff war is made of, think again. Truman Smiths The Wrong Stuff will let you know right away that the Hollywood version of war is just that: the stuff of good movies. He makes one statement which is not understood by anyone who has not served in combat: 'In order to out-bad the bad guys, you ve got to be badder than they are.' --Tulsa World

Writing bluntly and sometime profanely, Smith, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, talks honestly about his experiences, ventures that happened also to thousands of other Air Force veterans...If nothing else, the book proves that the nation s greatest resources are its young people, ready and willing to serve their country. --St. Joseph (MO.) News-Press

About the Author

Truman J. Smith (19242011) was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force and a member of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society. In 1958 he founded the Air Force Radio-TV network, which reached Europe, North Africa, and the Near East.


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Customer Reviews

Very well written.
D. Andrews
A recommended read for someone with WWII aviation interests!
Mr. Raymond D. Hill
Once he started to read this book he could not put it down.
nancy schoenberger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Bob Barney on August 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
LtCol USAF, Retired. Flew combat as Commander of B-17 Aircraft in World War II.
An Air Force friend sent me a copy of the WRONG STUFF. From the opening page, this book took me back to those war years, and kept me totally absorbed. It hit me like "a ton of bricks" when I discovered that Truman, and I, flew with the same 8th Air Force Group in England.
Upon reading Truman's Chapter 5, aptly titled "THE WORST," I discovered for the first time how I lost my plane and crew, while participating on a bombing mission to Berlin, Germany, on April 29, 1944. His vivid description of that raid kept me mesmerized, and it would take a great deal of writing for me to express the large number of superlatives this book deserves.
Chapter 5 is a book within a book. Only 6 ships of 30 in our group returned to home base, while the entire 8th AF lost 63 bombers on that raid alone. I thank God that my friend placed THE WRONG STUFF in my hands, for it enabled me to learn the details of the largest air battle in history. I was unable, for the most part, to view the battle, since I was fully engaged in formation flight. Truman was flying copilot in the highest of our 30 ship formation, and had an unobstructed view of all enemy aircraft, and the raging air battles. It is difficult to imagine such a frightening experience for Truman, a 20 year old copilot, as he peered out the right window of his aircraft, and spotted some 200 enemy aircraft, like a hive of bees, ready to swarm on our hapless group of 30 bombers, which had been carelessly led from the bomber stream. Somehow True survived, complete his tour of 35 missions, and luckily for us, remembered, in detail, the ingredients of this great book.
Truman describes aerial combat with excellence.
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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Rob Morris on January 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Wrong Stuff" by Truman Smith is a memoir by a former copilot on a B-17 in the US 8th Air Force. Mr. Smith blazes his own trails in this book. He doesn't pull any punches about some of the screw-ups made during the war that cost lives, or about his own thoughts about the fact that every man involved in the war is killing other human beings. The only way to beat a bad enemy is to be worse. Smith's tale is at times hilarious, at times tragic, but always entertaining. He tells it in a breezy, easy-to-read style with plenty of wry comments thrown in. Not only are the air battle scenes well-written, but accounts of his experiences at the air base in England, of his trips to London where his youth and inexperience hamper his attempts at finding girls, and of his visit to the 'Flak Farm' where he is sent to recuperate from the stress of wondering whether or not he'll survive the next mission. I thouroughly enjoyed this book. As a historian and author who is researching two books on the 8th AF in WWII, I found this book really went a long ways toward explaining not only the horrors of war in the air but how the war affected the young men who fought that air war. I recommend it highly.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Dr. David Arelette on May 10, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title was a worry when I ordered it but on the strength of the readers' comments, I pressed on. I am glad I did.
This is a great book - the author is not a great wordsmith but you can feel his fear (and the fun) in every page even in his simple prose.
The reality of the days comes through in every mission - random death was ever present on every mission - yet they went out without demanding anything other than the gratitude of their country.
The author is not sufficiently honoured by the title, but he is well honoured by his deeds and his breezy recall of their context.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By tws1@sprintmail.com on December 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed "The Wrong Stuff" immensely! I rank it among the best I have ever read, and I read a lot. My criteria for a really good book are these: (1) Is it hard to put down? (2) Am I anxious to get back to it? (3) Am I sorry when I'm finished reading it because the story is now over? The answer with regard to "The Wrong Stuff" is yes, in spades! It is every bit as spellbinding as a Tom Clancy novel ( my standard measure for the best action stories), and this one is true. The factual information about the war and how the air war was fought over Europe is excellent. The description of what it was like to be involved in that type of air combat is terrifying, and the antics and misadventures of the young men involved make it seem real and human in a delightfully humorous way. Additionally, the writer's ability to vividly describe the mental and emotional stress endured by those men enables the reader to get a feel of what it must have actually been like to survive such an ordeal. The men who made it through the conflict must have acquired 20 years of maturity in those few months. The book is very skillfully written, and I honestly believe that it has the potential to become a best seller! It also reminds the reader that those of us who followed owe an enduring debt of gratitude to those who fought that war.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Larry Sutton, LCDR, USN(ret.) on September 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of the few things more exciting than reading Truman's book is meeting Truman himself. Yes there is a Ponca City and yes he does live there. As a veteran of our "conflict" in Viet Nam I had experienced many of the same emotions found in the book. I especially appreciated his discussions on the guilt of surving and of not doing enough. If you get a chance read the book, you won't be sorry. If you have been to war or thought about war you owe it to yourself to read this book. Thanks Mike, for introducing me to Truman, and thanks Truman, for writing the book.
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