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It is the exhilarating account of a ragtag band of volunteer airmen from around the world who fought for Israel during the war of independence. They arrived from America, Canada, Britain, France, and South Africa. Almost all were World War II combat veterans. Many, but not all, were Jewish, and many knowingly violated their nations' embargoes on the shipment of arms and aircraft to Israel.
They smuggled in Messerschmitt fighters from Czechoslovakia, painting over swastikas with Israeli stars. They flew British-built Spitfires and American Mustangs, risking their lives for a righteous cause. Surrounded by Egyptian, Jordanian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Lebanese forces, Israel would have been crushed without the air support provided by the "angels in the sky".
Briskly written and based on first-person interviews and extensive archival research, here is a modern-day David-and-Goliath tale and popular history at its best.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By B Taub on 02-12-18
Way More Than the Std Story We've All Heard!
Wow, what a great book! Many of us amateur aviation history fans have heard how a few Jewish and gentile pilots flew Czech-built Messerschmitts during Israel's 48 War of Independence and that's where the story usually stops. This book goes way deeper - it wasn't just a few fighter pilots, it was also bomber pilots, and it was transport pilots, it was savvy businessmen willing to go to jail by flouting export regulations to get Israel the planes it needed. This story flows like a novel - it's interesting, follows twists and turns, has heroes (and a few villains), shows the pain of loss, and the thrill of ultimate victory.
Here are a few things (spoilers - sorry) I didn't know before listening to this book that might pique the interest of aviation fans, like myself:
- The last Israeli victories of the war were actually over 4 RAF (not Egyptian) Spitfires
- The IAF used T6 Harvards (planes without dive brakes) as dive bombers
- Israel flew B17s in combat
- Early in the war the combat consisted of Israeli pilots flying ex-Nazi equipment against Egyptian pilots flying ex-British equipment
The book is not super-technical but technical enough to be credible.
In listening to this book I couldn't help but think, Wow, this would make a great movie!!!
The narrator was good although his pronunciation of certain Hebrew words and Israeli place names was a bit off, which can be a bit jarring.
Overall, though, highly recommended!!!