Saturday, November 5, 2011

59. The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany

I am rating this book 5 Stars. Although it did not turn out to be exactly what I thought I was getting when I started it.  But hooray for me it turned out to be even better and far more of a biography of George McGovern but limited to his service with the USAAF during WW2. I am ashamed to say that I knew very little about George McGovern other than that he was a one time Presidential candidate. I need to read an actual biography about him as based on his wartime service he was truly a remarkable man. In the book McGovern also praises Tuskegee Fliers who flew escort missions with his squadron. This group of fliers is something else I am unfamiliar about and I need to go hunting through the library catalogue to find out what they have about them. Heaven help that I should be unfamiliar with something after my interest is piqued. :)

Publisher's Summary

The very young men who flew the B24s over Germany in World War II against terrible odds were an exemplary band of brothers. In The Wild Blue, Stephen Ambrose recounts their extraordinary brand of heroism, skill, daring, and comradeship.

Ambrose describes how the Army Air Forces recruited, trained, and chose those few who would undertake the most demanding and dangerous jobs in the war. These are the boys - turned pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and gunners of the B24s - who suffered over 50 percent casualties.

Ambrose carries us along in the crowded, uncomfortable, and dangerous B24s as their crews fought to the death through thick, black, deadly flak to reach their targets and destroy the German war machine or else went down in flames. Twenty-two-year-old George McGovern, who was to become a United States senator and a presidential candidate, flew 35 combat missions (all the Army would allow) and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. We meet him and his mates, his co-pilot killed in action, and crews of other planes - many of whom did not come back.

As Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers portrayed the bravery and ultimate victory of the American soldier from Normandy on to Germany, The Wild Blue makes clear the contribution these young men of the Army Air Forces stationed in Italy made to the Allied victory.