Gregory Fremont-Barnes examines the lives of the American Bomber Crewmen of the Eighth Air Force, "The Mighty Eighth," who crewed, maintained and repaired the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses and the B-24 Liberators that flew from the airfields of Norfolk and Suffolk and other counties of England during World War II (1939-1945). He highlights the physical and psychological strain placed on these brave men. Long bombing missions called for brute strength to control the aircraft and extraordinary endurance to fly for hours at 20,000 feet at temperatures below freezing in unheated, unpressurized cabins. Then there were Luftwaffe fighters and anti-aircraft fire to contend with and it required incredible skill and some luck to return from a mission unscathed. This book is a fitting tribute to these often uncelebrated heroes who took the war deep into the Third Reich, as well as a fascinating historical account of the experiences they went through.
About the Author
GREGORY FREMONT-BARNES holds a doctorate in Modern History from the University of Oxford, where he studied under the distinguished military historians Sir Michael Howard, Regius Professor of Modern History, and Robert O'Neill, Chichele Professor of the History of War. After leaving Oxford, he moved to Japan, where he spent eight years as a university lecturer in European and American history. He is the author of numerous books, including The French Revolutionary Wars; The Peninsular War, 1807-1814; The Fall of the French Empire, 1813-1815; The Boer War, 1899-1902; Trafalgar 1805: Nelson's Crowning Victory; Nelson's Sailors; and The Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli, the Rise of the U.S. Navy and Marines. He is also editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, as well as co-editor of the five-volume Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War.
"Experiences of battle covers a goodly section of the book. Here we hear from pilots, bombardiers, gunners and radio operators as to how they coped with the stresses of missions and in some cases, their capture and imprisonment after their planes have been shot down. All of this is superbly illustrated using period photos and the artwork of Sean O'Brogain."- Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (May 2008)
"Gregory Freemont-Barnes' American Bomber Crewman 1941-45 [covers] the lives and achievements of the American Bomber Crewman of the USAF and the physical and psychological requirements for their duty." -California Bookwatch (May 2008)
"US bomber crews flew a wide variety of aircraft in every theatre. Here is a good account of their experiences, from recruitment and training to combat missions. It contains quite a few quotations from the men themselves as well as contemporary photographs, some in colour... a good book for anyone interested in the bomber war over Europe." -John Prigent, Internet Modeler (April 2008)