Vanished Hero

  • by Jay A. Stout
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett
  • 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A hell-bent-for-leather fighter pilot, Elwyn G. Righetti remains one of the most unknown, yet compelling, colorful, and controversial commanders of World War II.
Arriving late to the war, he led the England-based 55th Fighter Group against the Nazis during the closing months of the fight with a no-holds-barred aggressiveness that transformed the group from a middling organization of no reputation into a headline-grabbing team that had to make excuses to no one. Indeed, Righetti's boldness paid off as he quickly achieved ace status and additionally scored more strafing victories - 27 - than any other Eighth Air Force pilot.
However, success came at a high cost in men and machines. Some of Righetti's pilots resented him as a Johnny-come-lately intent on winning a sack of medals at their expense. But most lauded their spirited new commander and his sledgehammer audacity. Indeed, he made his men most famous for "loco busting", as they put more than 600 enemy locomotives out of commission - 170-in just two days!
Ultimately, Righetti's calculated recklessness ran full speed into the odds. His aircraft was hit while strafing an enemy airfield only four days before the 55th flew its last mission.

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What the Critics Say

"Vanished Hero is a welcome addition to military biography collections, and highly recommended for both public library collections and personal reading lists." (Midwest Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great Performance for a Great Story!

I had a difficult time adjusting my ear to the narrator's voice for about the first 30 seconds, and then it all seemed to come together. The voice quickly became perfect, and it struck me as being very authentic for the 1940s.

The book includes a lot of detail about Righetti's upbringing and his family which I wouldn't have thought was necessary for a story about a combat pilot, but it turned out to be good context, and made me care about him more. It made him seem more real.

There is a lot of background about the air war over Europe and certainly a great deal about Righetti's accomplishments. It seems odd that he's not better known. Except for being crazy-aggressive, he seemed to have been not only an accomplished pilot, but a very good leader.

As to his ultimate fate, the book takes the reader through a very comprehensive investigation that raises issues and ideas that most folks never would have considered. And it all comes together in a super-slick package. This is a very well-written book that is also very well narrated and acted.

Highly recommended.
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- Carter L.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-31-2017
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio