Customer Reviews for

The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany

Average Rating 4
( 132 )
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(78)

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(11)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

I enjoyed reading this book; it was very informative and interesting.

This non-fiction novel by Stephen E. Ambrose is about the crews of the B24 Liberators flown in World War II and their crews; specifically, the crew of the Dakota Queen. This book begins by explaining where the crew members of these bombers came from and has a large focu...
This non-fiction novel by Stephen E. Ambrose is about the crews of the B24 Liberators flown in World War II and their crews; specifically, the crew of the Dakota Queen. This book begins by explaining where the crew members of these bombers came from and has a large focus on George McGovern and his difficult training in which 124,000 out of roughly 317,000 men (after physical testing) "washed out". Washing out means that the men who aspired to be a pilot, bombardier, or a navigator could not pass one or several of various challenges or tests that were placed before them so they were sent off to either another branch of the service (such as the army) or were instead trained in being a gunner for the B24. The rest of the book outlines the missions that the Dakota Queen engaged in and also speaks of the Tuskegee Airmen who were the B24's fighter escorts for some of their missions. The major stress or theme at the beginning of this novel is the stress on the growth of the United States Army Air Force (the USAAF or the AAF for short) and the large number of young men volunteering to join in the AAF. I enjoyed this book because it contains large amounts of information about the bomber crews and their missions in World War II and it also explains the very rigorous and difficult training that the crew, especially the pilots, had to endure to become what they aspired to be. This book kept me interested throughout most of its entirety with a few exceptions. During the first few chapters the book progresses very slowly and dumps almost too much information on you as Ambrose explains the training they went through. The book soon speeds up however as Ambrose begins to describe the risky missions that the Dakota Queen partook in. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in history, planes, or a combination of the two as it is full of good information. Not only do I recommend this book but I also recommend Band of Brothers which is also written by Ambrose and is much better known. Another good book is Marine Sniper by Charles Henderson which I also read recently. This book is about the marine sniper Carlos Hathcock who recorded a record 93 confirmed kills while on his tour in Vietnam.

posted by 2340684 on November 21, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Mixed emotions

I'm a big fan of Ambrose, but somehow I came away after reading The Wild Blue with mixed emotions. On the one hand you only have to look at the extensive notes section at the back of the book to realize how much research Ambrose and his son poured into this effort. Th...
I'm a big fan of Ambrose, but somehow I came away after reading The Wild Blue with mixed emotions. On the one hand you only have to look at the extensive notes section at the back of the book to realize how much research Ambrose and his son poured into this effort. The details he offers of each of the young men that fought, and sometimes died, in their B-24s is very impressive. Yet it is this same detail that causes me some disappointment. The cast of characters he offers is quite large, as witnessed by over 40 names mentioned on Page 25. As Ambrose takes us through the various stages of training, shipping over to the war, and eventually engagement in the war, he does so not just from the perspective of George McGovern, but from the perspective of many of the other characters. What this left me with was a feeling of abrupt changes, that happened continually throughout the book. I found it especially difficult to stay on top of who was who in the training chapters. Names of men, locations and thoughts wizzed by so fast I ended up just reading over the names as if they didn't exist, and concentrated more on George McGovern. Perhaps I'm alone in this thought, but I wished a few times as I read through the book that Ambrose would have fixed his incredible writing powers just on McGovern, and not brought in so many other interesting, but sadly short, perspectives. I am and will always be a big fan of Ambrose, but I feel that perhaps this was not quite his best effort. Would I recommend this book to others? Hmmm, I have mixed emotions.

posted by Anonymous on March 10, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    I enjoyed reading this book; it was very informative and interesting.

    This non-fiction novel by Stephen E. Ambrose is about the crews of the B24 Liberators flown in World War II and their crews; specifically, the crew of the Dakota Queen. This book begins by explaining where the crew members of these bombers came from and has a large focus on George McGovern and his difficult training in which 124,000 out of roughly 317,000 men (after physical testing) "washed out". Washing out means that the men who aspired to be a pilot, bombardier, or a navigator could not pass one or several of various challenges or tests that were placed before them so they were sent off to either another branch of the service (such as the army) or were instead trained in being a gunner for the B24. The rest of the book outlines the missions that the Dakota Queen engaged in and also speaks of the Tuskegee Airmen who were the B24's fighter escorts for some of their missions. The major stress or theme at the beginning of this novel is the stress on the growth of the United States Army Air Force (the USAAF or the AAF for short) and the large number of young men volunteering to join in the AAF. I enjoyed this book because it contains large amounts of information about the bomber crews and their missions in World War II and it also explains the very rigorous and difficult training that the crew, especially the pilots, had to endure to become what they aspired to be. This book kept me interested throughout most of its entirety with a few exceptions. During the first few chapters the book progresses very slowly and dumps almost too much information on you as Ambrose explains the training they went through. The book soon speeds up however as Ambrose begins to describe the risky missions that the Dakota Queen partook in. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in history, planes, or a combination of the two as it is full of good information. Not only do I recommend this book but I also recommend Band of Brothers which is also written by Ambrose and is much better known. Another good book is Marine Sniper by Charles Henderson which I also read recently. This book is about the marine sniper Carlos Hathcock who recorded a record 93 confirmed kills while on his tour in Vietnam.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2001

    Great 12 page excerpt ... the book is out Tues, 8/14

    These young flyers had more courage than my baby boomer generation will ever hope to have. The excerpt is about the first missions for several of the crewmembers. Dr. Ambrose has a wonderful way of putting you right there in the aircraft, enduring the horror of buddies killed and flak tearing the B-24 apart. Riveting!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2004

    Mixed emotions

    I'm a big fan of Ambrose, but somehow I came away after reading The Wild Blue with mixed emotions. On the one hand you only have to look at the extensive notes section at the back of the book to realize how much research Ambrose and his son poured into this effort. The details he offers of each of the young men that fought, and sometimes died, in their B-24s is very impressive. Yet it is this same detail that causes me some disappointment. The cast of characters he offers is quite large, as witnessed by over 40 names mentioned on Page 25. As Ambrose takes us through the various stages of training, shipping over to the war, and eventually engagement in the war, he does so not just from the perspective of George McGovern, but from the perspective of many of the other characters. What this left me with was a feeling of abrupt changes, that happened continually throughout the book. I found it especially difficult to stay on top of who was who in the training chapters. Names of men, locations and thoughts wizzed by so fast I ended up just reading over the names as if they didn't exist, and concentrated more on George McGovern. Perhaps I'm alone in this thought, but I wished a few times as I read through the book that Ambrose would have fixed his incredible writing powers just on McGovern, and not brought in so many other interesting, but sadly short, perspectives. I am and will always be a big fan of Ambrose, but I feel that perhaps this was not quite his best effort. Would I recommend this book to others? Hmmm, I have mixed emotions.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Get a (chat) room ... and a life!!!

    To the losers who find in necessary to post their mindless drivel in the review section,

    I think I speak for everyone who wants to see what others thought of a book when I say, 'We're not interested!'

    Please find another venue to express your narcissistic tendencies.

    The rating is not for the book, but for the lack of appreciation for your useless, inane rantings.



    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 19, 2012

    Great story about the men who flew the B-24s in WWII

    I had an Uncle who flew B24s in WWII and had listen to some of the stories he told me. This book is truly a document of just what these men had to deal with and how close they were as family. A must read if you are interested in the AAF during the war.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

    Like Reading Interview Notes From An Index Card

    Not up to the author's standard in previous works, most notably Undaunted Courage and Band of Brothers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    the work of a burnt out thief

    the work of a burnt out thief

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2014

    How It Was In The B-24

    I bought this book after reading " The Arsenal of Democracy" which provided great details on how Detroit and Ford Motor Company built more B-24's than any planes in WWII. I always thought the B-29 was the " hot bomber", but nothing compared in numbers like the B-24. That book also suggested the B-24 was a tough bird to fly. "The Wild Blue" filled in some details that really opened my eyes as to what WWII crews went through. As my father was in the AAF in a photo-recon unit, I gained a greater appreciation for what he had been though,something he never provided details on to me personally.This is ( another) good read filled with first person accounts from Steven Ambrose.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    very interesting

    The book interesting and informative, it was also long winded.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Remembrance of WWII

    Just so we do not forget what our military has done for those of us to keep our country as we remember it. Freedom doesn't come cheap and our young men have freely given their lives so that we can continue to live free. We must never forget.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    If you like history, you will love this.

    I bought this book for my husband. He really enjoys historical novels and non-fiction history. He liked it from the beginning. Not dry like some historical work.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    Talonwing

    She sighed. "Anyone want to accompany. I'm going to tank a walk to strech my legs"

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    To strongclaws

    Congratulations!May you and Seabreeze live many moons together.glimmer

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Glacierpaw

    He falls out of the tree and lands on his back,"Hey what was that for?!" Glacierpaw asks looking up at Panther...

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Lightfoot

    *pads over to the new cat* Sparkleleaf right? Im Lightfoot, a pretty golden she with white chest and muzzle and blue eyes. This is my sister, Meadowleap, a light brown she with green eyes. Nice to meet u.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Dawnpaw

    A small cream colored apprentice padded in. "Hello. My name is Dawnpaw. May I join?"

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Glowingkit

    Sorry i ws gone what did i miss.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Tigerclaw

    May i join

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Chi

    Hm.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    Merry Christmas

    Heyo~Jayheat

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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