Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
A distinguished author whose recent works include Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers, which also focus on World War II, Ambrose prefers to tell history from the average soldier's point of view. This book follows that formula. Ironically, the main character in this war book is George McGovern, who flew 35 combat missions and won the Distinguished Flying Cross but would later become a dovish Democratic candidate for president in 1972. The book follows the training of the 22-year-old McGovern and his friends through their deployment into Italy in 1944-45. Those who made it through the demanding and often dangerous training courses would have to face the even more perilous routine of flying a B24 bomber into the heavily defended skies over Germany. Many B24 flight crews never returned. The mental fatigue of flying so many stressful missions was almost as bad as the physical danger. With books like this, Ambrose has certainly struck a popular chord. The World War II generation is thinning daily, and everyone's story should be told including McGovern's. Ambrose's narrative flows smoothly, even as he manages to cover each man's story. Recommended for public and academic libraries and subject specialists. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/01.] Mark Ellis, Albany State Univ., GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The latest from the pen of prolific and popular military historian Ambrose (D-Day, June 6, 1944, 1994, and Citizen Soldiers, 1997) tells the story of the ordinary men who became US airmen and flew Liberator bombers against Germany/Austria from Italy in WW II. The book, smaller in size than the usual Ambrose tome, recounts the cramped and often freezing high-level aerial work; the danger, stress, and fatigue of missions; the aircraft; and the prerequisite training from the viewpoint of one B-24 crew led by former US senator and presidential candidate George McGovern, then just 22 years old. The future politician and his men were among the lucky 50 percent of the Liberator crews who survived their operations from the improvised fields of Italy into the flak and fighter filled skies to, from, and over such targets as Polesti and Berlin. Loaded with anecdote, illustrated with mostly unpublished photos, and based on interviews and primary and secondary works, this book might best be read as the airborne equivalent of the television series Band of Brothers. Recommended for all levels. M. J. Smith Jr. Tusculum College
Author notes provided by Syndetics
Historian Stephen E. Ambrose grew up in Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Louisiana. <p> Ambrose is considered to be one of the foremost historical scholars of recent times and has been a professor for over three decades. He is also the founder and president of the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. <p> His works include D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army from Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945, Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest and Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West. Abrose served historical consultant on the motion picture Saving Private Ryan. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)