Masters of the Air

Masters of the Air

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

eBook - 2007 | First Simon & Schuster trade paperback edition
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Chronicle of the U. S. 8th Air Force's daylight bombing campaign over Europe during World War II, from its genesis to the end of the war.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, [2007, 2006]
Edition: First Simon & Schuster trade paperback edition
Copyright Date: ©2006
ISBN: 9780743298322 (electronic bk.)
0743298322 (electronic bk.)
Branch Call Number: eBOOK 940.544973 MIL
Characteristics: 1 online resource (671 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates) : illustrations, maps


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Apr 13, 2017

Definitive treatment of the mighty eighth

Jun 24, 2015

An excellent general history of the Eighth Air Force from its first mission to last. Not a mission by mission summary or a hymn to the B-17, but a good explanation of the abilities and goals, the achievements and failures of the Eighth as it developed.

Mar 06, 2015

As a WWII history buff, the highlight of my one and only trip to Europe was crossing the Dutch coast and asking myelf how could the boys - and that's what they really were - of the Eighth Air Force have done this raid after raid, knowing that they were likely flying toward their own death. Until late 1944, the odds were against an 8th Air Force crew member surviving their tour.

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. The distinction became extremely thin and possibly non-existent in the final few months of the war.

Arguments still rage as to whether or not the bombing campaigns truly contributed to war against Germany. Miller is, fortunately, not judgmental. What he does stress is the incredible courage shown by American airmen in their campaign against Germany. While Miller does not recount the episode in this book, Herman Goering is reported to have told his interrogators that he could not believe that German fighters were unable to turn a single American bomber force from its intended target.

Miller's reach is essentially encyclopedic in this book. No aspect of the American air war over Europe is left untouched. The scholarship is simply staggering. Miller's alternation between stories of individual "bomber boys" and their selection, training, fighting, deaths, injuries, imprisonment when captured, rescues and finally the end of war interspersed with examination of the history of air warfare, the development of machines and weapons, strategy and tactics is exceptionally well done.

"Masters Of The Air" never becomes dry or pedantic. It is always intense and one cannot help but marvel at the courage, tenacity and genius of "America's bomber boys who fought the air war against Nazi Germany." A wonderful addition to the library of anyone with an interest in history.


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