Ted Fahrenwald is a former military fighter pilot and the author of "Bailout over Normandy".
Wot a Way to Run a War!: The World War II Exploits and Escapades of a Pilot in the 352nd Fighter Groupby Ted Fahrenwald
Ted Fahrenwald flew P-47s and P-51s with the famed 352nd Fighter Group out of Bodney, England, during the critical tipping-point period of the air war over Europe. A classic devil-may-care fighter pilot, he was also a distinctively talented writer and correspondent. After a typical day of aerial combat and strafing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe – and of
Ted Fahrenwald flew P-47s and P-51s with the famed 352nd Fighter Group out of Bodney, England, during the critical tipping-point period of the air war over Europe. A classic devil-may-care fighter pilot, he was also a distinctively talented writer and correspondent. After a typical day of aerial combat and strafing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe – and of course, the requisite partying and creative mischief on base –Ted sat in his Nissen hut at a borrowed typewriter and composed exquisitely humorous letter-essays detailing his exploits in the air and on the ground to his family back home.
But they are not the mundane missives of a homesick young man who missed his mother’s cooking. Educated as a journalist, this incurably comedic pilot detailed his aerial exploits in a hilarious and self-effacing style that combines the vernacular of the day with flights of joyful imagination rivaling St. Exupery. And he didn’t sanitize his musings: Ted enthusiastically narrates the day-to-day rollercoaster ribaldry that was the natural M.O. of the young men who were tasked to kill Hitler’s Luftwaffe. His descriptions of near-constant drinking, skirt-chasing, gunplay, gambling, and out-and-out tomfoolery put the lie to the notion of the Greatest Generation as an earnest band of do-gooders.
These collected writings are more than literary entertainment: They are a boon to military and aviation historians and also to those who study period language and culture and the science of societies at war.
The letters end dramatically when the ammunition truck that Ted was strafing exploded and knocked his Mustang “The Joker” out of the sky on June 8, 1944, two days after D-Day. The subsequent tale of his adventures with the Maquis (French Resistance) and his capture by the Germans and escape is recounted in a full-length book, Bailout Over Normandy: A Flyboy’s Adventures with the French Resistance and Other Escapades in Occupied France. Written at age 24 and recently published by Casemate, Ted’s book is a natural accompaniment to this collection of letters.
The Maquis embraced this irreverent and whimsical American fighter pilot as one of their own, and you will too when you read Ted's chronicle of adventures in his letters. His stories leap off the page and provide a depth, richness, and sheer enjoyment that are rare in WWII literature.
“Exquisitely funny, these letters are also an historical treasure that give tremendous insight into the day-to-day life of a typical USAAF fighter group.”
Jay A. Stout, author of The Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe and Fighter Group: The 352nd “Blue-Nosed Bastards” in World War II.
- Casemate Publishers
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Meet the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Delightful sense of humor in an awful time. I am a member of the Old Bold Pilots (there are old pilots and bold pilots, but few old bold pilots...) and this book is making the rounds. These letters to home describe his misadventures in and out of the cockpit. Because he is trying not to frighten his family, he uses his humor to lighten the mood, especially in the near death experiences. Sometimes you have to read between the lines. I found myself "glued" to this book and have read it several times. These are real letters. He also wrote another book about when he was shot down over Europe, which is also exciting.
Even though World War 2 censors prohibited exact details of Mr. Fahrenwald's missions, his letters were spiced with antics to keep me wondering what the next day would bring. In some cases quite corny but quite the norm in the 1940's. His descriptions of the P-47 and P-51 fighters of how cramped the cockpit was, and how the P-51 was the hot rod of the skies made me imagine how I could sit in one. All in all, a nice piece of history.