An intimate, often affecting look back at a group of young men who established an American air superiority that persists to...

BLOOD AND FEARS

HOW AMERICA'S BOMBER BOYS OF THE 8TH AIR FORCE SAVED WORLD WAR II

In his first book, a British journalist tells the story of the airmen who reduced the Third Reich to ashes.

On the 8th Air Force’s dangerous missions, which consisted of persistent daytime bombing of the European continent, 26,000 flyers would die. Targeting airfields, transportation centers, industrial sites, and refineries, the 8th alone dropped 714,000 tons of bombs on Europe between April 1942 and 1945 and, together with the Royal Air Force, killed 593,000 civilians in the bomber offensive. Relying heavily on diaries, letters, journals, and interviews, Wilson tracks the air campaign from the months before D-Day to the fall of Berlin. Chronicling numerous significant raids, his account abounds with arresting detail—the widespread heavy use of Benzedrine to fight tiredness, the frustrating performance of the electric suits designed to keep flyers warm at 28,000 feet—and features broader discussions about air combat—e.g., the role of sheer luck in determining who lived or died and the shockingly high risk of collision. Famous names pop up: European commander Carl Spaatz and, of course, the 8th’s fabled Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. Wilson also touches on the midair explosion that killed young Joe Kennedy, the heroics of Hollywood star Jimmy Stewart, the first “kill” of future legend Chuck Yeager, and the mysterious, deadly plane crash of band leader Maj. Glenn Miller. Mostly, though, Wilson focuses on the everyday pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and gunners, their exploits in the air, and their lives in Britain, a nation whose social life their presence transformed. The American flyboys—“over paid, oversexed, and over here”—married 41,000 British girls, fathering 14,000 babies. Even as their planes regularly fell out of the sky, scarring the countryside and cities, the airmen busied themselves with small cultural revolutions—e.g., introducing swing music to teenagers and peanut butter to schoolboys.

An intimate, often affecting look back at a group of young men who established an American air superiority that persists to this day.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68177-319-3

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more