I loved this book. Stephen Ambrose was right. The B-24 was grossly underappreciated during and after the war. Not as handsome as the B-17, the Liberator was faster, carried a bigger payload and had fewer losses by percentage. I had no idea that George McGovern was such a great and inspiring war hero. The narration is excellent. It's a shame that it was Ambrose's last book (I think anyway). Think Band of Brothers but in the AAF. Great stuff.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
I was really in love with the writing style of this book. And being a gen xer, I learned so much about the difference between today's war time and an older generation's war time. I pulled stories from the book and shared them with some of my relatives at get togethers and it opened a can of worms about experiences they had in the military. This is a good book to help older and younger people bridge the gap and talk about things that scared them, the people they missed, the good times had and the feeling of experiencing things like this.
Truly an amazing storyteller. And an amazing set of stories.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
The late Stephen Ambrose is rightly considered among the great history writers of our time. I've read most of his works and have never finished one without being completely satisfied, until reading The Wild Blue. On the positive side, if you want a general overview of how it felt to train for and fly or crew a B-24 during the WWII, The Wild Blue does an adequate job of it. But the magic Ambrose used in finding a unique story to tell of a group of men brought together by a common thread, such as in Band of Brothers, or Undaunted Courage, is totally lacking in this work. The majority of this book is a collection of completely random vignettes of B-24 fliers and crew. Ambrose tries to weave a story thinly by using the crew of George McGovern, but the majority of this book is just one random person after another. By the second or third hour he's thrown out so many names and pained so many mini biographies that the result is the reader has no connection whatsoever to his narrative. When the Italian theater combat chapters begin, he throws out so many statistics for each action: planes lost and damaged, tonnage of bombs on target, crews lost, that it all becomes a jumble of facts and strangers. When the McGovern crew is finally firmly latched onto for the final couple hours of the book, it turns out their story is not particularly interesting. Not to belittle their contribution, but there's absolutely nothing interesting in that particular crew or their personal or combat experiences. To diffuse this fault, Ambrose routinely throws in stories about other fliers and crews that actually did have unique stories, but those characters have no connection to his narrative. The narration is neither bad nor good but suits this work that is equally unspectacular.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Everything I have ever read by Mr. Ambrose has been well researched and detailed. This is another one from WWII that again proves they were the greatest generation. Let us hope that 60 years from now someone will be telling the stories of the heros of the war on terrorism. I highly reccommend this book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Ambrose centers on the WWII piloting career of George McGovern as he weaves the story of the strategic bombing campaign from Italy. This is a part of the war I had not known much about, since the 8th Air Force got all the publicity. While telling one man's story, the book touches on many other people, including the 99th Fighter Group made up of all black fighter pilots in P-51s escorting the bombers over Germany.
Ambrose's telling of the story is not hyped or overly dramatic--in fact it seems at times that he purposely stays away from playing up the violence, but as the story goes on, this works to add to the book's drama. And to top it off, Ambrose adds into the fabric of the story a little tale that ends the book and could not have been written even in a work of fiction. This is real history that is better than fiction!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
McGovern was truly an unassuming leader of a group of true American hero’s. The book starts our rather slow, but picks up with stories of air combat that put the listener in the air along side of the crew as they take the war to Germany.