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Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany Paperback – September 25, 2007
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Although remembered by few alive today, their exploits were captured for the home front by gritty young reporters such as Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney. Unlike many of the talking heads who populate our TV news, these men flew combat missions with the Bomber Boys risking their lives, not for ratings, but because they wanted to remind all the mothers and fathers wives and children back home why our cause was just.
But the most interesting thing that struck me while reading this book is that while it tells the tales of celebrities such as Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, William Wyler and the like, it also reminds us that these brave men, these truly heroic men, who flew harrowing missions, were our fathers and grandfathers. They were young men, some of them just out of high school, who were just like us or our children. It's a book filled with almost mythical heroes, men bigger than life yet real enough to be your neighbor. In an era saturated with pretend celebrities and steroid saturated athletes, this is a book that you should read to your children.
It is awesome because of its balanced and thorough analysis of the air war that pulverized Germany, a war now sentimentally known as "the good war" when Americans pulverized their enemies with the ease of comic book heroes.
"'Tain't so, Magee." Comic book heroes never had such courage.
Instead, think of the 80 percent casualty rate of the US Eighth Air Force in its early years as book theory met killing reality in conditions that stagger modern imaginations. I've flown in a B-17; it is huge on the outside, inside it is a tiny tube filled with equipment, supplies and hundreds of sharp objects that hurt when you are bumped, slip or are thrown about. Think of riding inside your computer on a truck bouncing down a bumpy mountain road and having to write an A-plus story en route.
So much for creature comfort. Put it all in air colder than Antarctica. Paint a big star on the side as a target, then send it into the sky for hours at a time. Soldiers on the ground sheltered in foxholes and bunkers; the skin of a B-17 was beer-can-thin aluminum. The plane is like a vast Tinkertoy riveted into an amazingly strong and yet frightfully vulnerable structure. It is a mighty aircraft, yet thin enough that a pigeon could penetrate it and injure crewmen.
This is the reality of the bomber offensive. Miller presents it in awesome, chilling detail. Unlike most histories, it isn't a lone portrait of some brave men; instead, it includes chilling accounts from all. One account is of an American pilot flying with his elbows because his hands were blown off, another is of German children who roasted to death in their flaming cities.Read more ›
Donald L. Miller answers that question and many others in his absolutely superlative history of the American air war over Germany. (Not taking anything away from Miller's work is that suggestion that you also read Max Hasting's "Bomber Command" for a view of the very different English air war.)
Miller alternates between first person accounts of crew members and their missions, the leaders, the campaign objectives, assessments of the impact of the various phases of the air war and the enemy reaction. It may sound confusing, but because of Miller's extraordinary writing and the seamless organization of his meticulously researched material, it is not.
In fact, Miller does an exceptional job of conveying the fear of the crew, the blind faith of the leaders in the doctrine of aerial bombing, the grim realities that had to be faced all down the line as men realized that the unsupported bomber was not an impregnable "Flying Fortress". Miller weaves each part of the incredibly complex air war and its combatants together. From gunners to pilots to generals to the men who selected the targets and argued over strategy, Miller allows the multiple stories to develop and blossum and then moves on to another.
Miller is careful to distinguish the American campaign of "precision" bombing from the more candidly terror oriented British campaign of "area" bombing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved all the individual stories of all those there. I had heard of the impact the air force early in the war, but the attrition rate was amazing.Published 1 day ago by Jerry
Well written. Fabulous history story. We forget how people lived and survived.Published 23 days ago by Michael Simmons
This is a wonderful book, it shows all the sides and emotions the crew faced. My grandfather was a b-17 pilot and he never talked about it, after reading this book I can understand... Read morePublished 23 days ago by Brian
Very interesting and informative... so much history I will need to read it twice I am sure.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The book really gives the reader a look into how the War would have changed if it did not for the sacrifice of all the brave men.Published 1 month ago by Robert White
Miller has written the definitive history of the 8th Air Force and the war over Europe in WWII. His narrative expertly weaves together all aspects of the air war including the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Keith C.
Terrific historical accounting. Knowing the facts of the bomber air war during WWII gives an unprecedented accounting of that part of our history.Published 2 months ago by cherokee161
I have read several books about he air war in Europe, but this one was clearly the best.Published 2 months ago by james hutton
Intrigued with facts. Was not aware how many casuaties. Also the controversy of strategy and perceived success. Any war historian will love this book. A good read and text.Published 3 months ago by FRANCIS M LAGUZZA