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Posted March 26, 2013
a quick read and invaluable for anyone who wants to understand the air war in Europe during World War II
Written for the U.S. Army Air Corps in the early days of World War II, Bombs Away gives readers insight into the training of individual members of a heavy bomber (B-17 and B-24) crews and their molding into a functioning team. Throughout the book, Steinbeck emphasizes that, although the pilot may be the most visible person on the crew, each member had a vital job to perform. Of course, the pilot, navigator and bombardier were all commissioned officers, the rest of the crew NCOs – an important distinction in any hierarchical organization. Those of higher rank were ostensibly treated better as prisoners of war, something the author never alludes to. That’s why there were no privates on a bomb crew. Steinbeck mentions more than once that the Army Air Corps took “the cream of the crop” from among Army enlistees – following extensive testing; he emphasized that, although one could apply as a pilot, the determination of which job a man was to be trained for was decided by those tests. I found the section on the training programs for various jobs – pilot, gunner, radio engineer, etc. – fascinating. I didn’t know that bombardiers alone were entrusted with the top-secret Norden bombsight – they took it from the safe in which it was stored when not in use and installed it into the plane, then removed it and returned it to the safe when a run was done. It is little details like that that make Bombs Away so interesting and revealing. Bombs Away is a quick read and invaluable for anyone who wants to understand the air war in Europe during World War II. But I had to constantly remind myself that this was very much a piece of propaganda and to be read as such.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
An inspiring and thrilling account about ordinary people drafted to become airmen within a flying bomber squadron during World War Two. They come from all walks of life, may be the guys next door and undergo training in preparation to their mission. Steinbeck provides us with much information military-wise but his accounts stresses the human side of those people to create a link with the reader. What war correspondence should be : information and observation within high-quality journalism. The introduction by James H. Meredith is particularly enlightening.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.