The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 by Stephen E. Ambrose
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Slow down with that zipping and zooming about, whipper-snapper! This is a far tamer tale. Like the planes Stephen E. Ambrose is describing herein, his prose plods along at a steady, satisfying pace. These are not jet fighters, these are workhorses carrying out a task.
The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 is just as much the story of George McGovern as it is of the pilots and crews of those famous World War II bombers. McGovern is most famously known as the Democratic candidate who lost to Nixon in the 1972 election, the year the Democratic National Headquarters was raided by Republican operatives in the dead of night during a little incident you may have heard of called Watergate. Prior to that, he piloted one of these finicky, taxing aerial beasts.
Ambrose wisely uses McGovern's wartime experience as a template and as the narrative thread for his treatise on the B-24, infusing a dull, non-fiction text with a human element, a technique in vogue with popular, modern day historians. The people like a good story. McGovern's life is perfectly entertaining in this context, but Ambrose heightens his book's readability by adding in the stories of other pilots and those of McGovern's flight crew. All of which turns a book about a plane into something much more humanistic. The reader can't help but develop an attachment to these courageous men.
The Wild Blue is a solid niche book for those familiar with WWII, but who want to have a deeper understanding of this specific facet of the war.
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