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Publisher's Summary

During World War II, Canada trained tens of thousands of airmen under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Those selected for Bomber Command operations went on to rain devastation upon the Third Reich in the great air battles over Europe, but their losses were high.
German fighters and anti-aircraft guns took a terrifying toll. The chances of surviving a tour of duty as a bomber crew were almost nil.
Murray Peden's story of his training in Canada and England, and his crew's operations on Stirlings and Flying Fortresses with 214 Squadron, has been hailed as a classic of war literature. It is a fine blend of the excitement, humour, and tragedy of that eventful era.
©1979 Murray Penden (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

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By Andrew Scott McClanahan on 03-02-15

Becoming a pilot in World War II

What did you like best about this story?

The perspective of just one person. So many WWII books are grandiose coverage of leaders and tactics. This is just the story of one person. The details are so great, the story seems to be day to day and gives the reader a strong feeling of the author's life. Not only a great pilot, Murray is a good writer. This is the book to learn what it took to become a pilot during this short period of history. The humor is refreshing and well done. One of my favorite WWII books. Be sure to read "The Wrong Stuff" and "Above the Thunder" if you like this book.

What does Anthony Haden Salerno bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

This book is a collection of stories, most of them very funny. Telling the story is critical, and the narrator does a great job. What fun recording this book must have been for him.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Not the title. "No Better Time to Learn to Fly. No Better Time to Die Flying."

Any additional comments?

Every pilot should read this book so they know what they missed. Just the story of landing the Tiger Moth is worth the hours invested. I'm not a pilot, but my father was an 8th Air Force pilot 1943 to 1945. Now I know a little more about him.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Craig Walker on 01-14-15

Interesting. Canadian account of Bombers in WW2

A long but interesting account of a Canadian entering the Bomber force and missions in WW2, and of a rather unique bomber, the Short Sterling in action. A great book to keep with your aviation library.Wll worth a listen and the money.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Stephen on 05-03-16

One of the finest Bomber Command memoires.

Would you consider the audio edition of A Thousand Shall Fall to be better than the print version?

No but only because the narrator was hopelessly amateur. He mispronounced much and indulged in malapropisms. His attempts at accents detracted from the text, which is beautifully written, graphic, funny and tragic in equal measure. The author brings out the danger, the fortitude of the crews and the spirit which permeated Bomber Command. A worthy tribute in particular to those brave airmen who went to war in the Short Stirling, a much maligned aircraft but an aircraft with a good reputation amongst those who mastered it on operations.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Thousand Shall Fall?

Too many to mention but the description of the author's trip to Gelsenkirchen, for which he won a well deserve DFC, stands out. Posterity is fortunate that Murray Peden has chosen to record his stellar career as a bomber captain and pilot in such lively, sensitive and graphic words.

What didn’t you like about Anthony Haden Salerno’s performance?

His utter ignorance of the subject, his cringing attempts at accents, his comical mispronunciations and malapropisms. Some examples with the correct version in brackets: Startishall (Stradishall), Bury Street Edmonds (Bury Saint Edmonds), Extractor (Exactor), St Neets (St Neots), Reeding (Reading), Coop (Co-op), Coop (Coupe), N.A. A.F.I (naafi - and all the other abbreviations, particularly ranks, which should have been pronounced in full not spelt), Jacowbeen (Jacobean), practisable (practicable) and worst of all, mispronouncing Air Commodore Johnny Fauquier's surname such that it resembled the four letter F-word. This was to show a disprespect for the text. Why does Audible use actors, who inevitably have little sympathy for military subjects, when a knowledgeable expert would be true to the text and impart a sympathetic understanding.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

I still rate it one of the finest aircrew memoirs and I've read or listened to most. A pity Salerno didn't do it justice but this can be overlooked in deference to Murray Peden.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Monkeytrout on 07-31-15

Truly outstanding story

Truly outstanding story of comradeship, humour and courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

You really do feel like you're up there with them!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Hamish on 07-19-16

Intelligently and entertainingly wriiten.

Great book. Learned a great deal I didn't know about the tactics of Bomber Command.

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By Rob Budden on 09-17-15

one of

easily one of the best military aviation biographies around. Up there with Clostermann, Crosley and Winkle Brown

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