- Series: Cassell Military Paperbacks
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Cassell (February 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0304366242
- ISBN-13: 978-0304366248
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 1 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Big Show: The Greatest Pilot's Story of World War II (Cassell Military Paperbacks) Paperback – February 1, 2007
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About the Author
Pierre Clostermann earned his pilot's license in 1937 at the age of 16. When war broke out in 1939 he was studying engineering in the USA. He volunteered for the Free French forces and joined No. 341 'Alsace' Squadron of the RAF. He ended the war commanding a flight of Tempests and with nearly 30 'kills'. He won the DSO, DFC and Bar. After the war, Clostermann went into politics and worked for Dassault and Cessna and founded his own aviation company. He returned to action for 18 months during the Algerian war. Today, he is France's most highly decorated officer.
Top customer reviews
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It's high point is the battle for Europe, after D-Day, when the Luftwaffe was on the back foot and fighting for it's very existence, whilst experiencing the measure for measure situation of constantly changing aircraft technology and the attrition of it's dwindling number of experienced pilots, who unlike allied aircrew, were not rested periodically and were active until they fell, or were badly injured. . From a pilots point of view The big show is a fantastic read. Many books do not offer the nuts and bolts of the cockpit and aerial warfare that pilots and aviation enthusiasts demand, unlike this and the other books I mentioned above. Some books can be read and read and kept for a lifetime, this is certainly one of them.
While the writing is in a simple language, it nevertheless conveys correctly the feelings of the author, and succeeds in putting the reader in the cockpit and amidst the dogfights with the many Luftwaffe fighters. The writing seems a little distant and detached at times, but overall the reader can clearly see the transformation from a young, innocent and enthusiastic man to a war-weary veteran, after almost 4 years flying combat missions.
The title sounds over-the -top and too sensationalist these days, but again has to be seen in context of the time it was originally published.
Overall, the book succeeds in bringing to life long gone years of sacrifice in fighting a long and bloody war, and still deserves to be seen as one of the classic pilot memories - recommended.
Simply a great read for the fan of WW2 pilots story.
The book was originally written shortly after the war and as a result there is an immediacy about it that is, at times, electrifying. It was an international best seller and deservedly so, highlighting the career of a fighter pilot who started flying combat on Spitfires and ended up in Tempests. For many years it was the only book that dealt with combat action in the Tempest, a beautiful and powerful warplane introduced late in the war to combat the V1 and the new German jets. The original edition has some minor errors in it, but the descriptions of the missions were just outstanding! The swirl of the dogfights, the dives into flak, dealing with zero visibility weather, the victories recounted in detail, the losses of friends recalled with a warrior's stoicism, this fine book set a standard that has only been approached by other works.
As V. M. Yeates WINGED VICTORY was the finest First World War fighter pilot book, THE BIG SHOW is the second war's. Yeates told his story as a novel based on his experiences as a Sopwith Camel pilot on the Western Front, but the latter book, while reading like a novel, has the extra advantage of being true.
Pierre Clostermann wrote two other books, but his first book was his finest and cannot be recommended highly enough. To read it is to find in its pages what it was like for young men to fly and fight in the hostile skies of Europe in what has come to be known as "the good war."