The Wrong Stuff

  • by Truman Smith
  • Narrated by James Killavey
  • 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Between April and July 1944, Truman Smith flew 35 bombing missions over France and Germany. He was only 20 years old. Although barely adults, Smith and his peers worried about cramming a lifetime's worth of experience into every free night, each knowing he probably would not survive the next bombing mission. Written with blunt honesty, wry humor, and insight, The Wrong Stuff is Smith's gripping memoir of that time. In a new preface, the author comments with equal honesty and humor on the impact this book has had on his life.


What the Critics Say

"...the book proves that the nation's greatest resources are its young people, ready and willing to serve their country." (St. Joseph (MO.) News-Press)
"If you thought gallantry and valor were the only stuff war is made of, think again. He makes one statement which is not understood by anyone who has not served in combat: 'In order to out-bad the bad guys, you've got to be badder than they are.'" (Tulsa World)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Why I got it...and glad I did.

What did you love best about The Wrong Stuff?

This is a quote from the Print edition of a review at Amazon. I was going to come up with my own review but..this is from someone who was there and says it much better than I could. All I will add is to say that this is a great book."LtCol USAF, Retired. Flew combat as Commander of B-17 Aircraft in World War II.An Air Force friend sent me a copy of the WRONG STUFF. From the opening page, this book took me back to those war years, and kept me totally absorbed. It hit me like "a ton of bricks" when I discovered that Truman, and I, flew with the same 8th Air Force Group in England.Upon reading Truman's Chapter 5, aptly titled "THE WORST," I discovered for the first time how I lost my plane and crew, while participating on a bombing mission to Berlin, Germany, on April 29, 1944. His vivid description of that raid kept me mesmerized, and it would take a great deal of writing for me to express the large number of superlatives this book deserves.Chapter 5 is a book within a book. Only 6 ships of 30 in our group returned to home base, while the entire 8th AF lost 63 bombers on that raid alone. I thank God that my friend placed THE WRONG STUFF in my hands, for it enabled me to learn the details of the largest air battle in history. I was unable, for the most part, to view the battle, since I was fully engaged in formation flight. Truman was flying copilot in the highest of our 30 ship formation, and had an unobstructed view of all enemy aircraft, and the raging air battles. It is difficult to imagine such a frightening experience for Truman, a 20 year old copilot, as he peered out the right window of his aircraft, and spotted some 200 enemy aircraft, like a hive of bees, ready to swarm on our hapless group of 30 bombers, which had been carelessly led from the bomber stream. Somehow True survived, complete his tour of 35 missions, and luckily for us, remembered, in detail, the ingredients of this great book.Truman describes aerial combat with excellence. His accounts of the fears and horrors in WW II aerial combat, is laced with a priceless sense of humor. He keeps the reader on the flight deck with him during each of his 35 missions, and one can almostfeel the thrills - and horror - of the air battles.He provides us with some of his pleasure jaunts to London, elsewhere in England, and on the Continent as well. His description of those experiences offers a change of pace that is relaxing, enjoyable, and sprinkled with humor.I found it difficult to lay the book aside, as did my wife, and other members of my family.THE WRONG STUFF has understandably been selected as required reading this fall in The U.S. Air Force Academy History Class.

What other book might you compare The Wrong Stuff to and why?

Not book but did see a movie about Flying Fortresses. Nothing like this though. This was the way it really was. Amazing!

Which scene was your favorite?

To many to list. All the missions were incredible. Amazing he made it back alive.

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

I might add that the Audiobook is even better. Reader really captures the emotion of the battle ...and other scences.

Any additional comments?

I started to read the text version but just never had the time to finish it. Was happy to see that there is now an audio version. Was able to finish is during my daily commute.

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- Marie

Great first hand view.

What made the experience of listening to The Wrong Stuff the most enjoyable?

Amazing "I was there" story from a Flying Fortress pilot in World War 2 who was VERY young at the were so many of our young men.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Truman Smith

What about James Killavey’s performance did you like?

Everything. Very clear and distinct but also displayed emotion when needed without going over the top.

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

Tile of book would be perfect...THE WRONG STUFF.

Any additional comments?

One of the best audio books I've had the pleasure of listening to...very well written and narrated.

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- Ronald

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-15-2014
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks