Focusing on the crucial period from 1942 to 1945, Fire and Fury tells the story of the American and British bombing campaign through the eyes of those involved: the military and civilian command in America, Britain, and Germany, the aircrews in the skies who carried out their orders, and civilians on the ground who felt the fury of the Allied attacks. Here, for the first time, the story of the American and British air campaigns is told-and the cost accounted for...
In order to defeat Germany in World War II, the Allies needed to destroy the Third Reich's industry and invade its territory, but before they could effectively do either, they had to defeat the Luftwaffe, whose state-of-the-art aircraft and experienced pilots protected German industry and would batter any attempted invasion. This difficult task fell largely to the U.S., which, at the outset, lacked the necessary men, materiel, and training. Over the ensuing years, thanks to visionary leadership and diligent effort, the U.S. Army Air Force developed strategies and tactics and assembled a well-trained force that convincingly defeated the Luftwaffe.
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin had ordered a blockade of the city, isolating the people of West Berlin, using hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers to close off all land and water access to the city. He was gambling that he could drive out the small detachments of American, British, and French occupation troops, because their only option was to stay and watch Berliners starve—or retaliate by starting World War III. The situation was impossible, Truman was told by his national security advisers, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His answer: "We stay in Berlin. Period." That was when the phones started ringing and local police began banging on doors to deliver telegrams to the vets.
Drawing on service records and hundreds of interviews in the United States, Germany, and Great Britain, Reeves tells the stories of these civilian airmen, the successors to Stephen Ambrose’s "Citizen Soldiers," ordinary Americans again called to extraordinary tasks. They did the impossible, living in barns and muddy tents, flying over Soviet-occupied territory day and night, trying to stay awake, making it up as they went along and ignoring Russian fighters and occasional anti-aircraft fire trying to drive them to hostile ground.
The Berlin Airlift changed the world. It ended when Stalin backed down and lifted the blockade, but only after the bravery and sense of duty of those young heroes had bought the Allies enough time to create a new West Germany and sign the mutual defense agreement that created NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
And then they went home again. Some of them forgot where they had parked their cars after they got the call.
Flying bombers during World War II was a harrowing ordeal. Unlike the fighter jocks, who pit their skill and wits against each other in agile aerial combat, the bomber boys had to endure the fear and savagery of the air war with grim acceptance—their only option to sit and take it. Manning lumbering machines that could not maneuver or defend themselves effectively, the aircrews had to rely on tight aircraft formations and their own bravery to survive the onslaught of enemy fighters and anti-aircraft artillery. Within these great planes, they developed bonds like no other; young men thrust together in a shared fate, risking their lives in slow-moving yet beautiful and powerful aircraft over the skies of numerous war zones, thousands of feet above the battlegrounds but no further away from the horrors.
Fully illustrated with hundreds of color and black-and-white photographs, as well as dozens of interviews, Philip Kaplan’s The Bomber Aircrew Experience offers an intimate glimpse into the life and times of these wartime airmen. The bomber boys recount their harrowing missions over Germany’s industrial heartland, paving the way for Allied victory in the Second World War’s European Theatre. Discover what it was like to man such planes as the great Flying Fortress and the Liberator, and what it was like for the British and Commonwealth boys flying night missions in the Lancasters, Halifaxes, and Stirlings. And then finally, learn about the development of the modern stealth bombers: the F-117 Nighthawk and the B-2 Spirit.
Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.