Untold Valour: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crews Over Europe in World War IIPaperback
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- Publisher: Potomac Books Inc
- Format: Paperback | 304 pages
- Dimensions: 147mm x 224mm x 23mm | 454g
- Publication date: 8 June 2006
- Publication City/Country: Dulles
- ISBN 10: 1574889990
- ISBN 13: 9781574889994
- Sales rank: 595,684
For the men of the Army Air Corps in early World War II, the chance of surviving the obligatory twenty-five missions without death, injury, or imprisonment was one in three. In this groundbreaking book, Rob Morris has sought out remarkable but little-known stories of the air war from the men who lived and fought it. Based on hundreds of interviews with American veterans and their families, "Untold Valor" illuminates the courage of airmen whose exploits have until now remained untold. Read about Jewish aviators' experiences as POWs in German camps. Learn about American airmen who were imprisoned, even killed, by the neutral Swiss and about two Air Corps enlisted men who changed U.S. policy toward liberated concentration camp survivors. Also discover the unusual story of Luftwaffe commander Herman Goering's nephew, who flew B-17 missions against Germany. While some of the stories cover major events, most are about incidents and individuals misrepresented or overlooked by history books. Yet their efforts were vital, their lives forever changed. Detailed and moving, "Untold Valor" is certain to interest the serious air historian and the casual reader alike. It contains a foreword by the editor of B - 17s Over Europe. The men of the U.S. Army Air Corps in the European Theater suffered more casualties than the Navy and Marine Corps combined in World War II. Early on, the chance of surviving the obligatory twenty-five missions with death, injury, or imprisonment was one in three. The success of daylight bombing was very much in doubt. Yet it was these young men - boys really - who proved that mere human beings could push themselves to do super-human feats of strength and courage. Many never came home. Those who did were forever changed by the experience. They knew they had done something special, and they forged bonds with their comrades that have lasted to this day. Now, the passage of years is taking the last of these men from us. I guess that's what prompted me to write this book. I've been interested in World War II aerial combat sine age nine or ten, and one day I realized that there were a lot of stories that were going to disappear like the morning fog unless somebody wrote them down. I couldn't write them all, but I could go out and find a few. That would be my way of thanking those who risked everything for their country more than sixty years ago. But what to write? I read numerous accounts of the air war over the years, and it seemed like there was no shortage of excellent eyewitness accounts of aerial combat. I didn't want to cover what had already been done, and done so well, by those who had actually been there. I decided to branch out and find stories that had not been told, or had been told but were not part of the mainstream historical record on the air war. I began to look for stories that touched on universal themes of human existence, things like faith, courage, love, devotion, and perseverance. Guided by men who shared my interest, I found individuals all over the United States who had stories about aspects of the air war that I had never heard about before. I talked to Jewish aviators who ended up as POWs in German camps. I found out what happened to the many individuals who ended up interned in Switzerland or Sweden. I researched the stories of the men who died training to defend their country but never made it to combat. I searched the back corners of the historical closet for stories that added to the historiography of the air war, rather than repeated what already existed.
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ROB MORRIS is a high school history and English teacher with a lifelong interest in the World War II air war. This book is his sixth. He lives near Idaho Falls, Idaho.
"Rob Morris has compiled a fascinating collection of first-hand accounts by veterans of the Mighty Eighth and the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force. . . . A major contribution to the history of the Second World War."