Shot Down

Shot Down : The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

4.21 (8,769 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Cover design or artwork by  , Edited by 
4.21 (8,769 ratings by Goodreads)

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Winner of 20 national book awards, SHOT DOWN is set within the framework of World War II in Europe and recounts the dramatic experiences of each member of a ten man B-17 bomber crew after their plane, piloted by the author's father, was knocked out of the sky by German fighters over the French/Belgian border on February 8,1944.

Some men died. Some were captured and became prisoners of war. Some men evaded capture and were missing in action for months before making it back to England. Their individual stories and those of the courageous Belgian people who risked their lives to help them are all different and are all remarkable.

Even before the dramatic battle in the air and the subsequent harrowing events on the ground, the story is informative, insightful, and captivating. Prior to the fateful event, the book covers the crew's training, their journey to England, what life was like on base as well as in London and the English countryside, and the perils of flying combat missions over occupied Europe and Germany.

Through personal letters, oral and written accounts, declassified military documents, and interviews - all from people who took part in the events that happened over 70 years ago (even the German Luftwaffe pilot who shot down the Susan Ruth) - the stories come alive. Adding to the feeling of "being there", are more than 200 time period photographs interspersed throughout the book.

To add background and context, many historical facts and anecdotes about and surrounding World War II are entwined throughout the book so that the reader has a feel for and understanding of what was occurring on a broader scale. SHOT DOWN is an account about brave individuals, featuring pilot Howard Snyder, set within the compelling events of the greatest conflict in world history.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 378 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20mm | 503g
  • English
  • 228 Illustrations; Illustrations, black and white
  • 0986076015
  • 9780986076015
  • 383,189

Review quote

Steve Snyder's masterful book, Shot Down, does justice to the adventures of his father, pilot Howard Snyder, and the crew of the B-17 plane Susan Ruth. Using first-hand accounts from diary entries, letters, and family stories, Snyder revives experiences that are accessible and relevant both to historians and readers with a casual interest in WWII history. As World War II fades into history, stories like the ones in Shot Down revive the past, give it new life, and offer a link between the heroes of yesterday and the men we now call "Grandpa." Steve Snyder's extensive research, careful storytelling, and humane treatment of his subjects make Shot Down a must-read for anyone with an interest in this gripping period of American history. - Foreword Reviews Throughout the book the author is careful to set the larger context of the war without losing readers to unnecessary acronyms or overly technical discussions. This is a great introduction to the history of the U.S. air war in Europe, humanized by the experience of a single bomber crew. Maps and illus. - Publishers Weekly The author does an impressive job letting the tale speak for itself, giving center stage to the words of the soldiers and eschewing unnecessary dramatic embellishment. Snyder's contribution is an excellent one that honors both the personal and global effects of war. A gripping story for readers in search of either drama or historical edification. - Kirkus Extensively researched, packed with photographs, and neatly interwoven with background remarks, this meticulously detailed description of the airmen's daily life offers a comprehensive, yet personalized portrait of a war in which "more airmen with the Eighth Air Force lost their lives than in the entire Marine Corps." The use of excerpts from letters and journals gives a compelling, up-close account of what it was like to fly with death every day. . As the devastation of WWII fades into history, this informative and insightful account of one bomber crew's experiences serves as a cogent reminder of what individuals suffered.. It's a thoroughly satisfying and worthwhile read. - Blue Ink "Shot Down" is an informed and informative reading for World War II history buffs and for personal reading lists. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating. - Midwest Book Review Steve Snyder's military history book, Shot Down, reads like a novel, yet it isn't. The names and faces are all real, but their stories are presented in such a compelling manner that this thorough and painstakingly researched effort reads smoothly and fluently as Snyder and his father's journals bring the past to life. I was fascinated as I read . Shot Down is a remarkable compilation of historical data that is presented in a well-written and thought-provoking narrative. It's most highly recommended. - Readers' Favorite Book Reviews Steve Snyder's Shot Down is extraordinary. It is littered with a wide range of visual aids. The book contains photographs, diagrams, maps, and even scans of Howard's diary and telegrams. Seeing photographs of the Belgian homes where crew members stayed, and of the acquaintances they made while downed, bring this story to life. The book itself is drawn from Howard's diary, correspondence, and other first-hand accounts. It is a rich documentary. Letters written by Howard to his wife, in particular, allow readers to "get inside" the mind of a B-17 pilot. Steve Snyder's narrative is straightforward and compelling. It is a relatively easy read, and the short chapters make this book highly accessible. This book will be particularly enjoyable for those interested in the Eight Air Force and/or the B-17 Flying Fortress, but it is also broad enough to appeal to general history readers. Shot Down is a masterful work. It is insightful, engrossing, and succeeds on every level. Bravo. - War History Online
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Rating details

4.21 out of 5 stars
- 8,769 ratings
5 46% (4,009)
4 39% (3,433)
3 8% (730)
2 4% (358)
1 3% (239)
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