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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Wild Blue : The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 » User review

Heroes in the sky

  • Sep 2, 2001
Stephen Ambrose is one of my favorite writers of history, and my definite favorite when it comes to World War II. In addition, I have a personal interest in this book, because my father-in-law was a navigator on a B-24, and was stationed in Cerignola at the same time as George McGovern and his crew. I asked my father-in-law if he knew McGovern, but he said that he didn't, even though they (sort of) shared a nickname: McGovern's was "Mac", and my father-in-law's was "Lucky Mack", since his last name was Makowski, and he always was able to bring his plane home safely. Like the other men who fought in that most terrible of wars, including my own father, he doesn't talk much about it, but he is intensely proud of his contribution to the war effort. After reading this book, and the description of the B-24 itself, I have a much more heightened sense of pride at what he, and those many others, were able to do. This is another book by Ambrose about the contributions of the "little men", the fighters in the lower officer ranks and the enlisted men, not the bigwigs and the headquarters types. These folks were the ones who took the awful risks, and whose courage and will to win ended the fascist tyrannies. We have much to thank them for, and these books go a long way to address that thanks. I'm happy these boks are coming out now, when we are losing these heroes at a fast rate. They are in their late 70s and older now, and there will come a day when they all will be gone. Thank them now for what they did for all of us, for a world in which we, and our children, are free of the long shadow of dictatorship and horror. Mere words are sometimes inadequate, but Ambrose finds them, and puts them between pages for all of us. Read the book, and admire, as I did, the courage of these boys (for boys they were) who made us all a better future.

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More The Wild Blue : The Men and Bo... reviews
review by . April 29, 2008
Not up to par with the classic Ambrose WWII books.     Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany  Band of Brothers : E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest    Ambrose seemed to mail this one in. It reads like a first draft that needs polish and upgrades.    The interesting part of the book is when it centers on George McGovern, …
review by . September 21, 2001
Having read all of Ambrose's previous books, I began to read this one with certain expectations: That the nature and extent of his coverage of the subject, for example, would be comparable with his coverage of the Lewis and Clark expeditions and the construction of the Intercontinental Railroad. In fact it is not. What we seem to have is more of a briefing on rather than a definitive analysis of "the men and boys who flew the B-24s over Germany." It is a great read, combining a lucid and lively …
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Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #89
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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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

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ISBN-10: 0743203399
ISBN-13: 978-0743203395
Author: Stephen E. Ambrose
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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