Customer Reviews for

Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany

Average Rating 4.5
( 33 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Highly recommended -- if you thought you knew the air war, think again

As a brother of one of these heroes who lost their life fighting for our freedom, I have a new and deeper understanding of what courage it took for these young men to go out day after day facing untold danger. Miller's book brings the reality that being a "fly boy" was ...
As a brother of one of these heroes who lost their life fighting for our freedom, I have a new and deeper understanding of what courage it took for these young men to go out day after day facing untold danger. Miller's book brings the reality that being a "fly boy" was not the clean "glamorous" role shown in many movies. My brother was killed in a Mid-Air Collision with another bomber. None of the crew were able to bail out. I have often wondered what went through their minds as they spun earthword. Were they conscious? Did they lose consiousness, hopefully, because the oxygen was cut off? Did they have to suffer from the fire on crashing? This book brings out the realities. I do have about 150 letter my brother wrote home plus his combat diary. This book brought tears to my eyes numeous times. Not only for my brother but, for all of the thousands who died in the USAAF and those who returned.

My thanks and gratitud. Thank you for a great read.

Neale M.

posted by GratefulMI on November 26, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Inaccuracy perpetuated

Skimmed through book at local Barnes & Noble store. Caption under one illustration perpetuates inaccurate story of ball turret gunner trapped in turret and landing gear could not be lowered due to hydraulic failure. Aircraft depicted is a B-17. B-17 landing gear was ...
Skimmed through book at local Barnes & Noble store. Caption under one illustration perpetuates inaccurate story of ball turret gunner trapped in turret and landing gear could not be lowered due to hydraulic failure. Aircraft depicted is a B-17. B-17 landing gear was actuated by electric motors not hydraulics and could be hand cranked up or down in an emergency. Disappointed that author permitted this inaccuracy to continue. Use of term 'Bomber Boys' detracting as well. May purchase someday.

posted by Anonymous on October 28, 2006

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  • Posted November 26, 2010

    Highly recommended -- if you thought you knew the air war, think again

    As a brother of one of these heroes who lost their life fighting for our freedom, I have a new and deeper understanding of what courage it took for these young men to go out day after day facing untold danger. Miller's book brings the reality that being a "fly boy" was not the clean "glamorous" role shown in many movies. My brother was killed in a Mid-Air Collision with another bomber. None of the crew were able to bail out. I have often wondered what went through their minds as they spun earthword. Were they conscious? Did they lose consiousness, hopefully, because the oxygen was cut off? Did they have to suffer from the fire on crashing? This book brings out the realities. I do have about 150 letter my brother wrote home plus his combat diary. This book brought tears to my eyes numeous times. Not only for my brother but, for all of the thousands who died in the USAAF and those who returned.

    My thanks and gratitud. Thank you for a great read.

    Neale M.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Masters of the Air is one of the very best books I've read

    This book is wonderfully researched with outstanding anecdotes... the personal stories mixed with the statistics made for a compelling book. To think 26,000 to 28,000 airmen died in combat from Eighth Air Force and the fact the airmen flying in Eighth Air Force in 1942 and 1943 only had a one in five chance in completing their tour tells a story of courage and daunting odds. This book is a keeper in my library.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Masters of the Air by Donald Miller a TERRIFIC Book...

    For those of you unfamiliar with the challenges confronted by the Eigth Air Force during WWII this book proves to be a great read. The detail to which Miller writes in regards to all of the main leaders, battles that ensued from beginning to end, and other relevant pieces of information that tie the whole aspect of the war together makes this a real page turner. For those of you who are like me and read with a passion on WWII, this book will not let you down.

    Military historians could take a lesson from Miller, his method of writing and telling a story is quite similar to David McCullough but in his own good and unique style. He has the ability to combine the "story" with the details and statistics of a Max Hastings, and will keep you interested in "turning the page" as does Antony Beevor.

    I strongly recommend this book for any avid reader or novice reader of WWII history.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2007

    A son's perspective

    The reading of this book was a bittersweet experience.Being the son of one of those 'Bomber Boys'(Dad flew with the 303rd out of Molesworth)it made me even more proud of my Dad than ever before.He flew the majority of his missions in the period between Dec.1943 and May 1944 when your chances of completing your tour were about 1 in 3 or 4.He came through it without a scratch,physically at least.He rarely spoke of his experiences but when he did he had everybody's attention.His legacy:5 children,15 grandchildren,3 great-grandchildren and counting.He's gone now and that's the bitter part,I wish I could hug and tell him I love him ONE more time!Thanks to Mr.Miller for a great read!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    Masters of The Air proves a masterful flight through the annals of the renowned Eight Air Force, one of the hardest hit units in WWII. Author Donald Miller brings the Eight alive again, minus about 28,000 young men who never returned home. Boys of 19 and `old men¿ of 30 brought the war back to Germany with a vengeance. Their hurriedly learned skills, youthful naiveté and patriotism helped get them through the required, at first, 25 missions in the B-17s and B-24 Liberators they flew along with the later B-29 Flying Fortress. Required missions went later to 35, as experienced crew were reduced by casualties. Early in the war they targeted military installations in Germany ¿ focusing on manufacturing and transportation facilities, marshalling yards where coal- fired trains awaited supplies. Flying at 20,000 or 30,000 thousand feet, you can be isolated from the destruction you might cause. These boys understood that, and they anguished over the damage they might cause on the civilian population while viewing the explosions on the targets from these high altitudes. Later strategy found them closer to the ground and closer to the reality of war. Air Force Command ordered `carpet bombing¿ which inevitably included innocent civilians, mostly women and children. Major cities in Germany were leveled to rubble-strewn wastelands harboring thousands of dead bodies. ¿The German people brought this on themselves by their blind allegiance to the Fuehrer,¿ said on Nazi leader. Once the might of the American industrial capability was unleashed the number of planes, tanks and guns overwhelmed the opposition, cut supply lines and cut off fuel supplies. The statistics were staggering in devastation of manpower losses, military as well as civilian. Hitler still grasped at any straw that might support his crumbling `thousand year Reich¿ as his inner corps of military faced the reality of the moment. The war for them was lost. Most of the hierarchy dispersed. Germany had buried itself again in a single century, this time by allegiance to a false prophet. The world¿s historians mourned over the lost German cities, steeped in history. Meanwhile, the gallant Eight gathered up its remaining strength, what was left of it, and moved back home. An Air Force General with a new concept emerged, Curtis Le May, who would go on to be a major advocate for future carpet bombing air wars and the cigar chomping model for an anti war movie. Young readers will find a treasure here. They will relate to the emotions of the youngsters who were to bear the burden of responsibilities of leadership well before their time. A 23- year-old officer piloting a war machine with nine other crewmembers. A bombardier viewing a city destined to be destroyed. A belly gunner in a bubble slung below the aircraft, a navigator concentrating on a safe route home, all of these jobs while most of their contemporaries were just out of high school.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2007

    No Greater Love

    I was captivated by this enormously helpful, well-researched book. It brings to light many facts hitherto unknown or, at least, certain important, critical facts that have neither been uncovered nor recounted in any of the more than one thousand books I've previously read on some of the remarkable events surrounding this central moment in the history of humanity - at least in the past 1500 years - World War Two. As the son of one of the 'heroes' of Bastogne - an appelation he never applied to himself, but one he nearly always used to describe the feats of his fallen comrades- my father was but one among the millions of our nation's 'greatest generation.' Since his death I have been compelled, driven even, to read, learn and understand as much as I can about the role he and his 'buddies' played as very young men in a world gone mad. He is one of the men who, in Stephen Ambrose's unforgettable words, 'not only saved democracy, they saved the world!' Miller is a captivating story teller who is obviously and convincingly affected by the interviews he's conducted with some of those to whom our nation OUGHT to be eternally grateful.Something extraordinary happens to young men, when they are placed in absolutely perilous, dangerous and deadly circumstances. I was particularly moved by the deep loyalty, affection, respect, courage and the self-sacrificial bonds of love that banded these men together. I saw that at work in my father when, on those rarest of occasions, he would introduce me to 'one of my brothers.' That was the extent of any discussion about the war. As I was growing up in the 1950's, I was loved, guided, encouraged and cared for. I went to college and grad school, never knowing or learning the astonishing fact that as a little boy, I was being tucked safely into bed every night by a hero who helped save the world. It is to my everlasting sadness and regret that I learned nothing of my father's exploits until his funeral. I have since learned there are millions of us 'baby boomers' who've had that similar experience. I am so thankful for people like the late Stephen Ambrose, and now Don Miller, Rick Atkinson, Alex Kershaw, et. al. who are bringing these stories to light. We now have at least two generations in this country who are, if not totally then at the very least partially ignorant of the fact that we Americans today inhabit a world, which was only made possible by the untold sacrifices of our fathers. I have no comment on some of the previous reviewers' comments. Let nothing detract from the honored memory of the magnificent subjects in Don Miller's eloquent book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2007

    Well put together

    This book is well put together and very easy to read. I became absorbed in the story and was unable to put it down. I have a new respect for the bomber crews of the 8th airforce.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2006

    five stars

    I also have not read the book so I think I will give five stars to off-set the the poor review from the dope who also did not read the book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2006

    Disregard the prior review on this book!

    I think all readers should disregard a review by an individual that has not read a book! Even if there are a few minor errors in the book it is still a wonderful read and a great story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    A brilliant account

    Donald Miller is a brilliant historian who cronicles the air war in europe fantastically. His in depth work focuses on the brave men who flew bomber missions over Europe during WWII. I had an opportunity to hear Dr. Miller speak about this book recently, and it was truly a pleasure to hear such a remarkable account of WWII. The personal stories of the veterans who flew these missions makes this a must read book, and I will surely treasure having it. Miller is by far one of the leading historians when it comes to the air war during WWII.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    Recommend with hesitation

    This book is very long and is not a page turner. Donald Miller has gone to great lengths it seems to accurately and completely tell the story of the 8th Air Force in WWII. However it reads more like a history book than a novel. There is almost no action int his book. It is told from a very high level, meaning you learn more about the commanders and leaders and reasons for high level decision making and how these decisions influenced the war. There is not action filled first person narrative. So... if you want to learn the history of the 8th Air Force from the commanders perspective written in past tense it is great. If you want an action packed book that it easy to read, go somewhere else.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2006

    Great Read

    I was totally absorbed by this book and I am not a history buff. Bought the book because my son indicated that the author taught him at college and suggested that I might find it interesting. Boy was he correct! If you pick it up as a way to go to sleep, be prepared to be awake reading in the wee hours of the morning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2006

    Inaccuracy perpetuated

    Skimmed through book at local Barnes & Noble store. Caption under one illustration perpetuates inaccurate story of ball turret gunner trapped in turret and landing gear could not be lowered due to hydraulic failure. Aircraft depicted is a B-17. B-17 landing gear was actuated by electric motors not hydraulics and could be hand cranked up or down in an emergency. Disappointed that author permitted this inaccuracy to continue. Use of term 'Bomber Boys' detracting as well. May purchase someday.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2012

    Just finished reading "Masters of the Air" written by


    Just finished reading "Masters of the Air" written by Donald L. Miller. It is about our B-17 and B-24 pilots over Germany in WWII. It goes into much detail about the brave men who flew those planes and the amazing amount of bombs that they droped on Germany and the lost that they endured. They lost 26,000 men, more than the Marines in the Pacific.
    It also goes into the Germans on the ground and how they survived the brutal air attacks. It is a great read that will make you laugh, make you cry and make you wonder how we survived. God bless each and every one of them.

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  • Posted July 28, 2012

    One of the finest books on WW2 aviation ever written!

    Every word, every paragraph and every page pulls you in more and more. VERY well written, very informative, and hard to put down. This book is a winner, and should be in everyone's personal aviation library.

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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    HIGHLY Recommended

    Absolutely the best book on the bomber war in Europe. A well balanced book that includes many, many personal accounts (some unfortunately very tragic) of the incredible dangers faced by crew members as well as a good explanation of the politics involved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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