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“The riveting true story of a World War II bomber pilot and the co-pilot who received orders to kill him…After the twists and turns in Goering's many missions, Frater finishes with a stunning revelation…the author delivers an exciting read full of little-known facts about the war. A WWII thrill ride.” ―Kirkus Reviews  An unforgettable and thrilling tale of two WWII Americ“The riveting true story of a World War II bomber pilot and the co-pilot who received orders to kill him…After the twists and turns in Goering's many missions, Frater finishes with a stunning revelation…the author delivers an exciting read full of little-known facts about the war. A WWII thrill ride.” ―Kirkus Reviews An unforgettable and thrilling tale of two WWII American bomber pilots who forged an unexpected friendship in the flak-filled skies over Nazi Germany. The air battle over Nazi Germany in WWII was hell above earth. It lasted three years and cost 125,000 Allied aircrew men, including 26,000 Americans from the US Army's Eighth Air Force in England, their lives. For bomber crews, every day they flew was like D-Day, exacting tremendous amounts of emotional uncertainty and trauma. Some men, like twenty-year-old U.S. Captain Werner Goering, accepted this, even thrived on and welcomed the adrenaline rush. They knew that death could come in a variety of ways: an unlucky flak burst, Luftwaffe fighters that could appear anywhere at any time, or pilot error while flying less than twenty feet apart. Werner Goering was an exceptional pilot. He was also the nephew of Herman Goering, leading member of the Nazi party and Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe. When Werner qualified to become a bomber commander in 1942, J. Edgar Hoover issued a top secret order to ensure that if his plane was downed for any reason over Nazi-occupied Europe, someone would be there in the cockpit to shoot Captain Werner Goering dead. The FBI and the American military would not prevent Werner from serving his American homeland in war, but neither would they risk the propaganda coup that his desertion, or even his live capture, would represent for Nazi Germany. So in early 1943, FBI agents fanned out across the United States to find a man capable of and willing to shoot Werner dead in the cockpit, and one who could then get the plane back home. They found Jack Rencher, a tough, insular, B-17 instructor in Yuma, Arizona, who also happened to be one of the Army's best pistol shots. That Jack and Werner became unlikely friends is just one more twist in Hell Above Earth, one of the most incredible untold tales to come out of WWII....

Title : Hell Above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312617929
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 302 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Hell Above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him Reviews

  • Susan Paxton
    2018-12-13 11:13

    Probably one of the worst works of "nonfiction" I have read in some time. I suspect the author, a former newspaper reporter, has been bamboozled by a tale told by a now-deceased veteran and has embroidered the story into this formless mess of a book.The book centers around an Army Air Forces B-17 pilot named Werner Goering, whose father apparently claimed to be a nephew of a somewhat more famous Goring - Hermann Goring, the commander of the German Luftwaffe. Reportedly the Air Force was so horrifed at the idea that Werner might defect, or be shot down and captured, or something, that they assigned another pilot - the one who I suspect made up this story out of whole cloth - to shoot Goering if he showed any indication that he was less than loyal. Of course the problem is, there's no record of any of this. At all. Yes, the FBI did apparently look into Goering's background and may have suspected he was related to the Luftwaffe chief, but the story of a copilot with a license to kill is palpably ridiculous.And in the end it turns out, no surprise, that Werner Goering (whose lack of advancement in his later military career probably had more to do with his lack of education than his supposed relationship to Goring) is in no way related to "Uncle Hermann" that anyone can discover.The book itself is frighteningly badly edited for a book from a major press. The author's style of writing is to do a great deal of research and then throw it all into the book, whether it suits the topic or not (for example, when he tells us about J. Edgar Hoover's length of career in Federal service, he has to bring up several other people who served longer), and apparently no one edited or fact-checked the mess. Avoid at all costs - there are many fine books on the bomber campaigns over Germany, and this is certainly not one of them.

  • Paul Pessolano
    2018-11-19 14:43

    “Hell Above Earth” by Stephen Frater, published by St. Martin’s Press.Category – World War IIThis is truly one of the most unusual stories that has come out about World War II, and is a definite must for any reader interested in War stories and especially those interested in World War II. It is a story that has been hidden for years and for good reason.“Hell Above Earth” is actually two stories in one. The first concerns U.S. Captain Werner Goering, and the second concerns the dedication and fortitude of those who flew in the B-17’s and B-29’s.Reich Marshall Hermann Goring was second in command to Adolph Hitler, and was in charge of the Luftwaffe. U.S. Captain Werner Goering was a B-17 pilot stationed in England who made bombing runs over Germany. The FBI, concerned about Werner’s loyalty and his possible capture by the Nazis and being used as a propaganda tool, selected his co-pilot. Jack Rencher, his co-pilot, was selected because he was an excellent shot with a pistol, and had agreed to kill Goering if there was the possibility of their capture.The second part of the story is just as astounding as the reader is given insight in what it was like to fly in miserable conditions with the distinct possibility that you would not return from your mission. It is truly amazing that these young men went up, mission after mission, knowing that they would be facing incredible odds against their survival.This is a most extraordinary story that will keep any reader glued to the pages until Frater ends the book with a surprising ending.

  • happy
    2018-12-05 11:08

    This is the story of an 8th Air Force pilot, Werner Goering, who was the supposedly the nephew of Reich Marshall Herman Goering and his copilot, Jack Rencher, who was assigned to make sure he didn’t fall into German hands. Mr Frater traces the lives of two hard scrabble kids who enlisted in the Army hoping to become pilots. They succeed, but didn’t quite fit into the social circle of Army Aviators. Neither one had attended college, both were tea totalers in an era the military social life centered around alcohol and were both were natural loners. However, Goering was an exacting pilot and after completing his 35 mission tour volunteered for another, completing an additional 14 missions before the war ended. This is more than just the story of Goering and Rencher who is approached by the FBI to ensure Goering is not captured by the Germans (He is to kill him if that is a possibility), It is also the story of the 303rd BG(H) flying out of Molesworth in East Anglia.Mr Frater has included some good stories about combat flying over Europe and does give a feel for what those young men went through, but he plays fast and loose with military terminology. For example, He often uses Squad and Squadron interchangeably (they are not interchangeable). There are few places where he uses 8th Army for 8th Air Force. The author includes an appendix that tells of Werner’s post war career in the Air Force and his geneology.I would give this 3.5 stars - I found the story fascinating but the problems with the editing drops it down for me

  • Gary
    2018-12-01 10:43

    Stephen Frater's Hell Above Earth is the surprising true story about a US 8th Air Force pilot who is related to the Reichs Marshall of Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering. Werner Goering's family left Germany in the early 1920s and settled in Utah. It's a hard life for Werner as he is growing up; schooling does not come easy and his family has to scratch out a living in a very economically poor area of the country. But when the US becomes involved in WWII, Werner applies himself when he joins the Army Air Corp and becomes one of the best B-17 pilots around. At the same time, at another field, Jack Rencher is also training as a pilot and becomes an instructor for men learning to fly the B-17. He's approached by the FBI and asked to fly as Werner's co-pilot overseas with orders to kill him if the B-17 looks like it might go down on a bombing mission over Germany. Jack kept this secret from Werner and the crew primarily because he learns to respect Werner and his abilities, and in a strange way, they become friends. They both survive the war, with Werner completing 49 missions, and then goes on to an exciting USAF career as a spy stationed in East Germany during the cold war. The writing style is captivating, easy and expressive, but fair warning here, some scenes are very graphic...just as real combat was. Stephen doesn't pull any punches and puts you in the aircraft as it is being shot to pieces. Blood and gore will surround you and you can almost hear the last gasps of the dying crewmen. (None of them are aboard Werner and Jack's B-17, it is the men of other aircraft in their unit from which he relates the stories, to give you an up close and personal view and experience of what these extraordinary men went through.) You will come out the other end of the book with a thorough understanding of what combat was like the last year of the war from 20,000 to 30,000 feet up. A very well done, well researched, emotionally-impacting and riveting book.Gary C. WarneAuthor of the award-winning novel "The Kaiser's Yanks"

  • Kosie
    2018-12-09 09:53

    This book had the potential to be a great read as the story is very interesting, but unfortunately the story is not well told. The information in this book is very minimilistic compared to other books and could easily have been gotten from the internet and some of the chapters are very short (2 pages). There are also many places where the author repeats previous information given and at times it felt like I was reading the same pages twice. The author also lost my confidence early on where he states that Herman Goring was a fighter ace and describes an ace as someone with 10 aerial kills, where the correct number is 5!! Very disappointing book and would recommend picking something else of your to-read shelf. The books editing is also really poor.

  • Dick
    2018-12-02 15:04

    This is a true story of a World War II bomber pilot and his co-pilot who received orders from the FBI to kill him. If you are into WWII, and especially the air war, you will really enjoy this book. My connection is my father George M. Freeman a B-24 instructor.This is a book t hat revealed to me, for the first time that a pilot by the name of Goering flew a B-17. And that a co-pilot was assigned to him with orders from the FBI to kill him if he showed any indication that he was a traitor. At the end the two of them developed a close friendship.This book uses air war over Germany as the base, and it is filled with facts. This air war lasted for three years and cost the U.S. some 125,000 casualties, if which some 26,000 were from the US Army’s 8th Air Force.For the crews - every day they flew - was like D-Day, requiring a lot of emotional uncertainty and trauma. Some men - like twenty-year-old U.S. Captain Werner Goering - accepted this and even thrived on it. They all knew that death could come in a number of ways, including flak burst, Luftwaffe fighters that could suddenly at any time, or pilot error while they were flying less than twenty feet apart. Werner Goering was an exceptional pilot. He was also the nephew of Herman Goering, leading member of the Nazi party and Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe.Werner qualified to become a bomber commander in 1942, the FBI (J. Edgar Hoover) issued a top secret order to ensure that if his plane was downed for any reason over Nazi-occupied Europe, someone would be there in the cockpit to shoot Captain Werner Goering dead. The FBI & Army Air Force would not keep Werner from serving his American homeland in war. At the same time, they could not permit the Nazis, a propaganda bonanza if he deserted. In 1943, The FBT began the search for just the right man who would be willing to kill Goering, if it came to that. The same person would have to be able to fly the plane back.They identified Rencher, a tough, B-17 instructor in Yuma, Arizona, who – it also - happened to be one of the Army's best pistol shots. The most interesting development – to me – was that they came to be fast friends after the war. And it reminded me of the meeting my father had in his study after the war and after retirement with a Luftwaffe pilot who had come to do some translations of some old German family scrolls. At one point this WWII German Luftwaffe pilot looked at Dad - both survivors of the war - and said “we did not meet upstairs, then”.On a personal note was the mention on pagfe 81, of the 700 year old Bayeux Tapestry located there. This is a 200 foot long woven history of the Norman Conquest. This tapestry was seized twice in 700 years, once by Napoleon and once by Hitler. My wife Shari and I saw this tapestry when we were in France and visited Normandy as well as the village of Bayeux..

  • Zohar -
    2018-12-10 09:13

    Hell Above Earth: The Incred­i­ble True Story of an Amer­i­can WWII Bomber Com­man­der and the Copi­lot Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater is a non-fiction book telling another amaz­ing story to come out of World War II. This is an easy to read, per­sonal and grat­i­fy­ing mil­i­tary his­tory book which is not for mil­i­tary buffs only.Werner Goer­ing, a United States B-17 pilot dur­ing World War II for the Mighty 8th Air Force, had a hur­dle to over­come – his uncle is Reich Mar­shal Her­mann Göring, head of the Luft­waffe and Hitler’s sec­ond in com­mand. Unbe­known to him, Goering’s co-pilot, Jack Rencher had a stand­ing order from J. Edgar Hoover to kill Werner in-case they got shot down or if he was try­ing to com­mit an act of treason.Jack, a poor boy with a dif­fi­cult child­hood, found Werner to be a soul mate, his only friend in life. The author’s research brings this decades old secret, which is pro­found and deeply per­sonal, to lightHell Above Earth: The Incred­i­ble True Story of an Amer­i­can WWII Bomber Com­man­der and the Copi­lot Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater is an excit­ing book which proves the old adage that “truth is stranger than fic­tion”. This is an epic buddy story which would have seemed absolutely ridicu­lous, if it wasn’t true.Werner Goer­ing, nephew to Reich Mar­shal Her­mann Göring, head of the Luft­waffe and Hitler’s sec­ond in com­mand, and his co-pilot Jack Rencher flew 48 mis­sions bomb­ing Ger­man cities. While Cap­tain Goer­ing was rec­og­nized as a brave, highly skilled, com­pe­tent and excep­tional pilot he was con­sid­ered a pro­pa­ganda risk and Lt. Rencher was secretly ordered to shoot him if downed over Nazi territory.Mr. Frater takes grue­some air com­bat sto­ries and packs them with impres­sive his­tor­i­cal detail and unfor­get­table char­ac­ters. The ter­ror men faced in the air for hours at a time comes across in this out­stand­ing work.Using clear writ­ing and end­ing in an unex­pected twist, this book not only cap­tures the drama in the air but also the inner tur­moil of men. This is his­tory at its best, a grip­ping tale of adven­ture while mix­ing an array of gen­eral his­tory top­ics with­out inun­dat­ing the reader with many mind bog­gling, eye pop­ping statistics.For more reviews and bookish posts please visit:

  • Cheryl
    2018-12-12 14:11

    I am a fan of aviation. Reading abuot WWII as it related to aviation helps to make this subject matter more interesting to me. I have never heard about Werner Goering or Jack Rencher. After reading this book I agree with Mr. Frater's sentiments about Goering and Rencher... they are both good men, humble aviators, warriors, and best friends. I start down to read this book and found I could not tear myself away from it. The only reason I did was because I had started this book right before bed and was falling asleep with it in my hands. I finished this book the next morning. Amazing how two men so different like Goering and Rencher were thrust together and becamse the best of friends. They literally had each other's back. Even during the war Goering remained a quiet man but he was able to connect with Rencher. I had a smile on my face when I read about the situation that started these two men's friendship. They had been out and both of them realizing that neither one had any money, so they double timed it all the way back to base just in time for 7:00 am roll call. Goering is a really good pilot. He watched out for his men. It is amazing how many missions that he and Rencher went out on and yet brought back all of their crew. Mr. Frater did a great job of protraying these men and the special bond they shared. I can imagine as time passed and the closer that Goering and Rencher got with each other, the harder it became for Rencher to spend any thought on the idea of killing Goering. However I don't blame Rencher for volunterring for the assignment of killing Goering if he had to. There was a war going on and desperate times called for desperate measures. Just like Goering, I was sad when he and Rencher were no longer polioting together. Hell Above Earth is an incredible story of two friends bond that is not to be missed. You have got to run and pick yourself up a copy of this book before it flies off the bookshelves!

  • Tom Young
    2018-11-23 10:48

    Just when we thought historians had recorded everything worth knowing about World War II comes Hell Above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him. Stephen Frater has penned a riveting account of what has to be one of the strangest buddy stories of the war. As the Eighth Air Force began its storied bombing campaign over German-occupied Europe, the FBI received word that American-born pilot Werner Goering was the nephew of Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goring. Authorities assigned a copilot secretly ordered to kill Goering if their plane was ever forced down for any reason. The Bureau worried not just about Goering's sympathies; even if he remained loyal to the United States, his capture would present an unacceptable propaganda coup for the Germans. Copilot Jack Rencher faced all the challenges of military aviation and hazards of war, and he did so with the knowledge that he might have to shoot the aircraft commander he had grown to trust and admire. As Frater puts it, Goering became "his leader, his friend, and his target." Decades after the war, one more bizarre twist of history lay in store for Werner Goering. I won't give it away here, but Frater uncovered an unexpected coda to the story he researched. Anyone with an interest in aviation or World War II history will enjoy his fascinating account.

  • Aaron (Typographical Era)
    2018-11-30 09:49

    Knowing little about the book, it would be easy to simply dismiss Hell Above Earth as something of an Unbroken knock-off, a title that aims to capitalize on the wildly successful biography by Laura Hillenbrand which chronicles the fascinating real life story of World War II hero Louis Zamperini. While the two titles do unavoidably share some common similarities and circumstances, Frater’s novel examines the lives of a different set of subjects that are fighting under equally trying circumstances in a different part of the world. It’s far from a cookie-cutter clone thrown together haphazardly to cash in. Instead it’s a wonderfully written, meticulously researched piece that educates, entertains, and surprises in equal measure as it documents one of the most unique and little known stories to come out of WWII.The novel’s clunky subtitle gives the reader a pretty apt description of what to expect: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him. Getting at the why behind it though is trickier business.READ MORE:

  • Les Wolf
    2018-11-17 08:53

    A wild, riveting adventure story with moments that are both exhilarating and unforgettable. The army's 303rd bombardment group was famous for its part in helping to target and cripple the German wiermacht in raids on such targets as submarine pens, aircraft factories and shipbuilding yards. Werner Goering flew a B-17 for the 303rd and his co-pilot was an accomplished mechanic and an excellent marksman. You will find yourself in the air and holding onto your seat as the story breaks through the clouds to expose one surprising revelation after another.Some of the book's best moments for me involve the 303rd in ways that are loosely related to the central theme: for instance, the descriptions of the conduct of a number of medal of honor recipients whose actions are truly heroic. Who can forget the stories of Lt. Jack Mathis or Sgt. Forest Vosler? A five star reading experience that could hardly fail to inspire anyone who understands the meaning of the words "honor", "duty" and "sacrifice".

  • Don Best
    2018-12-08 13:46

    The fact that one man was ordered to kill the other man sitting next to him at the controls of a B-17 to prevent his capture or defect to the Nazis in WWII is a very, very unique plot for a book. That alone would be good ground to plant a fictional seed and watch a story grow. But, it was true. Despite that, the real story of this book is the author's research and story of the lives of two men, who like many others grew up in pre-war America still struggling with the Depression, that had no thoughts they would be fighting for their own lives and that of their crew over the skies of Germany in a few short years. The research and interviews the author did really comes out on the details of the stories as he takes you down this journey pre-war, during the war and especially afterwards as the author makes a surprise find that changes everything. This is more than just a story about WWII, it is an intimate story about two men who only found out the truth before one of them passed away.

  • Laural
    2018-12-17 16:04

    You may pick this up as a WWII or warbird enthusiast, and since the war ends in chapter 38 with a hundred pages and twelve more chapters to go, consider putting it down. Don't. There's a reason the book keeps going. This book also could have used a more attentive editor -! St. Martin's Press should correct and reissue this book in a hurry to save themselves some embarrassment.

  • Cindy
    2018-11-22 07:59

    I registered a book at!

  • Stephen Frater
    2018-12-17 09:46

  • Jane
    2018-11-27 14:04

    Very interesting book!

  • Debbie
    2018-11-19 11:50

    Great book!

  • Shannon
    2018-12-12 08:07

    LOVE learning new stuff!!!

  • Steve
    2018-11-27 07:54

    So, you share the same last name as Nazi Germany’s highest-ranking military officer, the Reich Marshall Herman Goering. So, you end up flying B-17’s out of England during World War II, nearly fifty missions to drop bombs on Goering’s turf as well as other military targets in Europe. So, you name is Werner Goering and the F.B.I. is watching you.“Hell Above Earth” exposes perhaps for the first time a little-known back story from World War II: “the top-secret order . . . from the director of the FBI: find someone to place in the copilot’s seat next to Lieutenant. Goering with orders to shoot to kill if for any reason---a treacherous decision on Werner’s part, enemy fire, or even mechanical failure---their plane can’t get back to its base or to another Allied airfield.” FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was taking no chances that if Werner’s Flying Fortress was downed over Nazi-occupied Europe, the American pilot Goering would fall into Marshall Goering’s hands. This war journal documents the search for and the recruitment of a “hired assassin” who would “capable of and willing to shoot Werner dead in the cockpit . . . and could get the plane back home.”Well, to make a very long story very short, the FBI found their guy in the person of a 23-year-old, “tough, insular, B-17 instructor,” Jack Rencher, “who also happened to be one of the army’s best shots.” According to author Stephen Frater, Rencher “was the right man, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time.”Rencher may have been all that, but, did he ever get the chance to prove it? What about the working relationship between Goering, the pilot in command, and his “secret assassin” co-pilot Rencher? More importantly, what about the family relationship between Goering and his Nazi German namesake? It seemed everyone in wartime America at least believed Herman Goering was Werner Goering’s uncle. This reviewer could give you all the answers to those questions. But, then there would be no need for you to read the book! I will say this, get ready to be shocked!There are several take-aways from this war diary. Author Frater does a great job of describing Goering and Rencher’s bombing missions together. The problem is, this book really isn’t about the two of them. Frater spends many chapters going down rabbit trails. Chapter fourteen is all about Herman Goering’s service in World War I. Was that necessary? Frater includes one chapter on the final flight of the B-17 “Jersey Bounce, Jr.” It may have been one of Werner and Jack’s bomber group’s most famous episodes, but again, it really had nothing to do with them. There’s an entire chapter on war injuries sustained by bomber crews. Another chapter on the state of aviation medicine in the 1940’s. There’s a chapter on famous personalities who were lost at sea during World War II. There’s a chapter on famous journalists who rode along with bomber crews. Later, you’ll find a chapter on African diplomatic posts in the late 1800s. Really? And, the list goes on and on. Take any references to Werner and Jack out of this tale and it’s basically a history of the air war over Europe. Bottom line, stick to just Goering and Rencher alone in the cockpit and you would have a terrific full-length feature film!

  • Bob Spiridigliozzi
    2018-11-21 11:49

    A very good read. Very interesting look at the bombing war over Germany in WWII.

  • Lippy
    2018-11-23 12:51

    I like the storyline but did not really connect to any of the people in the book other than Heller.

  • Sky
    2018-11-20 12:12

    Its an amazing story that would have made a great longread article, a WWII anthology chapter or even a short book. Unfortunately, the author was compelled to stretch this out way longer than it should have and the overall story suffered for it.The abridged version is that in WWII, Herman Goering's nephew, Werner Goering was the pilot of a B-17 flying bombing missions over Germany. However, due to his questionable ancestry (and the PR coup that would come from his defection or capture) the FBI recruited a roughneck co-pilot that was ordered to shot Goering if the plane ever went down over enemy territory (either voluntarily or via battle damage).While this premise is interesting [SPOILERS AHEAD], since they never actually got shot down, the co-pilot was never actually faced with this dilemma. The more interesting revelation, saved until the epilogue, seems to be that Werner Goering was *not* actually Herman's nephew (which probably would have kept the story from being written had the author known this up front).The theory (which seems very likely) is that Werner's father saw Goering's rise in Germany and, prior to WWII, tried to leverage having the same surname into a small amount of prestige in Salt Lake City, where he lived. Prior to the war, this was a source of pride, but once the war started, the lie had propagated so widely that it was an accepted fact throughout the family, the German community, and eventually the FBI and military intelligence.In addition to just being too long, there were also issues with the audiobook format. It felt like several sections were in the wrong order and sections were occasionally repeated.

  • yoksan
    2018-11-28 13:58

    2.5It's been a while since I've put down this book, so my feelings are a lot fuzzy. Anyways, I do recall not completely understanding what this book was trying to be; a fiction or nonfiction? We have a pair of really interesting characters that I would really love to know more. They (attempted to) have backgrounds. And when it started to get deeper into their background, into their characters, we're jerked back to present, trying to understand everything else around them instead. It read like a tug-of-war between things I wanted to read about and things the author wanted me to see. And he's so eager about it that it's rather tiring and endearing at the same time.So, for me, this book isn't a fiction. But then again, we have fictional characters, so I dunno.Anyways, the writing style isn't terrible. I suppose I would enjoy it more if I read it as if it's a newspaper.

  • Lee
    2018-11-22 15:01

    This book could have been a lot better if a journalist hadn't written it. Apparently, journalism schools teach a casual contempt for chronology and coherence in writing, and this book reads like a newspaper or news magazine. Most of it can be fine, but then there are sentences or paragraphs with jumbled subjects, scrambled timelines or outright irrelevance to the subject at hand. Editing, it seems, is dead.Note: "squad" and "squadron" are NOT interchangeable words!That said, I'm a longtime WW2 buff, and I'd never heard of Werner Goering, or that he flew B17s for the USAAF. Final thoughts: this could have been a LOT better, if only the author hadn't felt the need to wander way off topic lots of times, pasting in what seemed like every interesting tidbit he came across loosely related to the Eighth Air Force or the bombing campaign.

  • Jenna
    2018-12-02 09:04

    I really wish you could do half stars on Goodreads, since I think this deserves a half star more. The books description, "The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him" doesn't accurately describe the book's content. My main complaint is that it is more a history of the Eighth Air Force/303 Bomb Group division than a story of the relationship between Reacher and Goering. My guess is that the publisher felt it wouldn't sell without the dramatic misrepresentation given by the dust jacket.That being said, it was still a very enjoyable book for aviation/WWII history buffs. The level of detailed narrative makes it a bit of a slog, but the tales of dramatic air engagments and daring escapes peppered throughout and the payoff at the end makes it worth the trip.

  • Michael Flanagan
    2018-12-10 11:53

    From the title of this book I was expecting an exciting true story of a life and death struggle in the cockpit of a WWII bomber. What I got instead was a book that could not make up it's mind what it wanted to be. The actual story mentioned in the title was not that exciting and made up only a small portion of the book. The author meanders from biography to a very general history.It tries to cover a wide range of subjects and fails. It felt to me that the author got lost in side stories, only to remember what he is meant to be writing about. Why this book is interesting in parts it schizophrenic nature made it very difficult for me to get into the story. This book could have been a great read if only the author could have made up his mind what he wanted from it.

  • Relstuart
    2018-11-20 09:48

    Interesting story but the story needed editing pretting badly. Facts were repeated several times as if they were the first time. Facts that did nothing to advance the story were presented (a list of the longest serving people in federal service). I'm glad this story was preserved and the author tracked down the facts. I just wish he had it edited by a historian that could have corrected some of the errors and organized the information better. For the record, if you play Russian Roulette with a Colt 45 1911 with only one bullet you have greater than a %14 chance of a hole in your head. It's not a revolver.

  • Matt
    2018-12-16 15:07

    This was just a great book. Great combination of good writing, bunch of action and a very intriguing story of the nephew of Hermann Goering’s Nephew and the interesting story of his service ace a bombing ace in WWII for the Allies.This is really the story of Werner Goering and his closest friend who keeps an incredible secret for their entire lives.If you love the hidden stories of WWII, and enjoy the details of combat, and the aspects of war you will enjoy this book. Does a great job depicting the incredible challenges and hardships the Bomber pilots and crews endured with 1940’s technology.I give this one a full 4 stars, no question. My kind of book!

  • MrBeardyBeard
    2018-11-23 13:53

    A lot of mixed emotion as I read this book. I loved how the author led us simultaneously through the stories of 2 individuals in the war while at the same time giving a broader view of the air campaign in WWII. Not the most well written but I think he achieved his goal with me and I liked the twist at the end. I walked away absolutely dreading war. Nobody wins. In this case a handful of politicians rose or fell based on the outcome but the millions of innocent lives destroyed during the war and the millions who have suffered since is absolutely horrible.

  • George
    2018-11-28 08:59

    The book started out very interesting. I had visited the Mighty Eigth museum just this past September, but did not recall anything there about Werner Goering.There were good vignettes about Goering and Jack Rencher, the man assigned to assasinate Goering rather than risk his capture.Also good vignettes about others in the Mighty Eigth....but there was a lot of repetition and frankly the book could have been 100 pages shorter