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Publisher's Summary

This insightful chronicle takes listeners inside the experiences of America's fighter pilots and bomber crews, an incredible assortment of men who, in nearly four years of warfare all over the globe, suffered over 120,000 casualties, with over 40,000 killed.
Their stories span the Earth, into every corner of the combat theaters in both Europe and the Pacific. And the aircraft explored are as varied, tough, and legendary as the men who flew them - from the indomitable heavy-duty warhorse that was the B-17 Flying Fortress to the sleek, lethal P-51 Mustang fighter.
In Deadly Sky, master historian John C. McManus goes beyond the familiar tales of aerial heroism, capturing the sights and sounds, the toil and fear, the adrenaline and the pain of the American airmen who faced death with every mission. In this important, thoroughly-researched work, McManus uncovers the true nature of fighting - and dying - in the skies over World War II.
©2000 John C. McManus (P)2016 Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Chiefkent on 05-23-17

Twelve O'Clock High Unabridged

While the book purports to cover all American combat fliers of WWII, but about 80% is anecdotal coverage of the European heavy bomber campaign. HAP Arnold demanded the highest scorers on the military entrance exams for manning his airplanes. The USAAF was a major believer in standardized and psychological testing and screening. This process is covered in some detail in the book along with the selection process for the various billets in a bomber, and/or a fighter pilot.

If one has seen the movie "Twelve O'Clock High", it's a nutshell of the book's 17 hours. Arnold's missive of, "Why you are about to die...", to his airmen was a nice touch. There is quite a bit of questioning by the airmen of whether or not the killing of the some 353,000 German civilians and the 300,000 - 900,000 Japanese civilians was really moral or legal. Surprisingly, most really didn't and don't care, they left that up to the REMF's. But they were asking the questions.

If this was the basis for the founding of the USAF, then we have a problem because what happened during WWII can never be replicated. The heavy bomber aircrews had about a 20% chance of completing a tour of duty. Censors kept the actual numbers secret, but these were bright guys. The REMF's kept increasing the lengths of their tours for a reason.

Mr. Davis does yeoman service to the material.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By jeff moser on 02-10-18


this book covers in detail topics not covered much in most stories about the air war that I've always been curious about such as answering nature's call 5 miles up!

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