Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 10, 2006 - History - 688 pages
5 Reviews
The riveting history of the American Eighth Air Force in World War Two, the story of the young men who flew the bombers that helped bring Nazi Germany to its knees, brilliantly told by historian Donald Miller and soon to be a major HBO series.

Masters of the Air is the deeply personal story of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. With the narrative power of fiction, Donald Miller takes you on a harrowing ride through the fire-filled skies over Berlin, Hanover, and Dresden and describes the terrible cost of bombing for the German people.

Fighting at 25,000 feet in thin, freezing air that no warriors had ever encountered before, bomber crews battled new kinds of assaults on body and mind. Air combat was deadly but intermittent: periods of inactivity and anxiety were followed by short bursts of fire and fear. Unlike infantrymen, bomber boys slept on clean sheets, drank beer in local pubs, and danced to the swing music of Glenn Miller’s Air Force band, which toured US air bases in England. But they had a much greater chance of dying than ground soldiers.

The bomber crews were an elite group of warriors who were a microcosm of America—white America, anyway. The actor Jimmy Stewart was a bomber boy, and so was the “King of Hollywood,” Clark Gable. And the air war was filmed by Oscar-winning director William Wyler and covered by reporters like Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite, all of whom flew combat missions with the men. The Anglo-American bombing campaign against Nazi Germany was the longest military campaign of World War II, a war within a war. Until Allied soldiers crossed into Germany in the final months of the war, it was the only battle fought inside the German homeland.

Masters of the Air is a story of life in wartime England and in the German prison camps, where tens of thousands of airmen spent part of the war. It ends with a vivid description of the grisly hunger marches captured airmen were forced to make near the end of the war through the country their bombs destroyed.

Drawn from recent interviews, oral histories, and American, British, German, and other archives, Masters of the Air is an authoritative, deeply moving account of the world’s first and only bomber war.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MasseyLibrary - LibraryThing

Masters of the Air is the deeply personal story of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler's doorstep. With the narrative power of FICTION, Donald Miller takes readers ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mburdette - LibraryThing

I read the subtitle of this book and assumed it was a collection of war stories from 8th Air Force crewmen. I'm not a huge fan of oral history but decided to give it a shot anyway. Wow was I ... Read full review

Contents

I
1
II
25
III
47
IV
64
V
97
VI
111
VII
152
VIII
175
XI
258
XII
295
XIII
331
XIV
348
XV
380
XVI
410
XVII
447
XVIII
487

IX
206
X
233
XIX
518
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About the author (2006)

Donald L. Miller is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History Emeritus at Lafayette College and author of ten books, including Vicksburg, and Masters of the Air, currently being made into a television series by Tom Hanks. He has hosted, coproduced, or served as historical consultant for more than thirty television documentaries and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications. Visit sites.lafayette.edu/millerd.

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