Hell above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him

Hell above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him

by Stephen Frater
4.0 23

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Hell Above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
MYT8TH More than 1 year ago
Being a student of 8th Air Force history in WW II, there was no doubt that I would explore this story of utter dedication and emotion. It is clear, from the beginning, Mr. Frater has researched the lives of Werner Goering and, his co-pilot, Jack Rencher to the "N"th degree. This book is wrought with dedication displayed by both the author and the main subject, Werner Goering. The diligence of Mr. Frater's research , partly of which is corroborated and verified extensively in other historical publications I own regarding history of the 303rd Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force, is nothing short of outstanding. Likewise, the dedication Werner Goering displayed in service to the USAAF and, postwar USAF, despite allegations of being Hermann Goering's nephew was without question! Regardless of the fact that he was bombing the homeland of his mother and father, at the risk of killing close relatives and, speculating that his co-pilot had higher HQ orders to 'dispatch' him IF anything went awry during any missions, he persevered and carried out his orders without prejudice. This book was clearly tough to put down, but I had to sleep and work. I am proud to say that it holds a high place within my own Eighth Air Force library...needless to say, I HIGHLY recommend it!
GLuke More than 1 year ago
I really want to like this book but there are credibility issues that have given me reasons to doubt the veracity of the research eg: How does one play "Russian Roulette" with a magazine fed weapon- Cold .45, further along a Flyer yells "They're Tango Uniform" Tango and Uniform were not part of the WWII phonetic alphabet (T-Tare ,U-Uncle ). One more issue and I'll toss the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found, some, interesting facts in the book. As I read the book,I began to wonder if those facts were correct. The author failed to research his material. He misidentified a basic military unit. He spoke about playing russian roulette with an automatic pistol. If the author failed to get these two basic facts correct, then what other facts did he get wrong. Nothing bothers me more, than, reading material that is so incorrect. All it would have taken, to correct some of these problems, would be to have a person knowleable in the most rudimentary military facts, proof read the book.
NewsieQ More than 1 year ago
Werner Goering was a B-17 pilot who completed 49 daylight bombing missions over Germany during World War II. What he didn’t know was that co-pilot Jack Rencher had orders from the FBI to kill him rather than allow him to land his plane or be taken as a prisoner of war in Germany. Why? The pilot was the nephew of the Nazi second-in-command Hermann Göring. His falling into German hands, either as a defector or POW, would have been a propaganda coup for the Nazis. Although I’ve read quite a lot about the Eighth Air Force, which my father served in as a B-17 mechanic, none brought home the sacrifices the men made in such vivid detail as Hell above Earth. I loved the detailed explanations the author provided about the flight training, the conditions aboard the bombers, even about the Quonset huts that housed the airmen in England and elsewhere. I also liked the author’s writing style, and that he occasionally allowed his narrative to veer into the moderately crude language that was part and parcel of the airmen’s lives. Stephen Frater writes as a journalist, not as an historian, so the text is not interrupted with footnotes, although readers will find adequate sourcing in the back notes. The bibliography gave me a few ideas for further reading, including a book, The Writing 69th (by Jim Hamilton), about war correspondents. Although I hate it when reviewers mention a surprise ending, I will say the author’s dogged pursuit of the story leads to quite a surprise at the end. Hell above Earth was an altogether engaging read, one that will give readers new appreciation of the sacrifices of The Greatest Generation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This needs to bee made into a movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of course not he says
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Sounds like a pretty rough day. No puppy. No nick. No idol. " gtg.. i might be rp tomorrow...idk.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a unique book because of who was involved in the story. The pilot of this B-17 was related to Hermann Goring. Quite an enjoyable story when your consider what was at stake and the loyalties that could have been split between America and Germany.
HPN More than 1 year ago
The book read more like a compilation of facts. Was disjointed but overall very informative about the WWII air battle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jefferson_Thomas More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. Certainly, it had the technical errors and research booboo's pointed out by others, but I hope they'll be cleaned up in the next edition (assuming there will BE a next edition). But this book is quite readable, and I recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A well written (yes, there may have been a few technical errors, but, really - nothing to get all worked up over) story of a very involved plot - an excellent aviator, with ties to the Nazi Hierarchy, the FBI that is not 100% trusting, and another pilot that is recruited, and accepts, the mission to kill the pilot should it look like he is going to fall into German hands. Should be on the reading list of any WW II buff.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a bad book at all. Worth a read
GaryCWarne More than 1 year ago
Stephen Frater's Hell Above Earth is the surprising true story about a US 8th Air Force pilot who is related to the Reichs Marshall of the Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering. Werner Goering's family left Germany in the early 1920s and settled in Utah. It's a hard life for Werner as he is growing up; schooling does not come easy and his family has to scratch out a living in a very economically poor area of the country. But when the US becomes involved in WWII, Werner applies himself when he joins the Army Air Corp and becomes one of the best B-17 pilots around. At the same time, at another field, Jack Rencher is also training as a pilot and becomes an instructor for men learning to fly the B-17. He's approached by the FBI and asked to fly as Werner's co-pilot overseas with orders to kill him if the B-17 looks like it might go down on a bombing mission over Germany. Jack kept this secret from Werner and the crew primarily because he learns to respect Werner and his abilities, and in a strange way, they become friends. They both survive the war, with Werner completing 49 missions, and then goes on to an exciting USAF career as a spy stationed in East Germany during the cold war. The writing style is captivating, easy and expressive, but fair warning here, some scenes are very graphic...just as real combat was. Stephen doesn't pull any punches and puts you in the aircraft as it is being shot to pieces. Blood and gore will surround you and you can almost hear the last gasps of the dying crewmen. (None of them are aboard Werner and Jack's B-17, it is the men of other aircraft in their unit from which he relates the stories, to give you an up close and personal view and experience of what these extraordinary men went through.) You will come out the other end of the book with a thorough understanding of what combat was like the last year of the war from 20,000 to 30,000 feet up. A very well done, well researched, emotionally-impacting and riveting book. Gary C. Warne Author of the award-winning novel "The Kaiser's Yanks"
AROL More than 1 year ago
It was a good read. It was well-researched story-line and anti-climatic, in that what you see is not necessarily what you get
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stephen Frater's book should be retitled HELL ABOVE EARTH-AMERICAN BOMBER PILOTS OVER NAZI GERMANY IN WORLD WAR II. This book was not what I expected, the subject of Werner Goering was very interesting but not well done. As an amateur historian I was looking for great things but they just were not delivered by Mr. Frater. This book rambled, got side tracked by interesting but unrelated anecdotes. Mr. Frater does not know organiztional facts about the U.S. Army Air Forces in WWII. Mr. Frater must have been in the Army because multiple times he refered to " the Eight Army" instead of the "Eight Air Force" He referred to "squads" when they should have been "squadrons" In the WWII USAAF organisation was along the lines of "air division, wing, group. squadron and flight" An example of "...heavy bombers used in Europe were the B-17, B-24 and B-29." The B-29 was not used operationally over Nazi Germany. This book had alot of research but it was not put down on paper well at all. Not enough information on Werner Goering and Jack Rencher. Mr. Frater should stay with writing about what he knows, HELL ABOVE EARTH is not it.
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Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
Hell Above Earth: The Incred­i­ble True Story of an Amer­i­can WWII Bomber Com­man­der and the Copi­lot Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater is a non-fiction book telling another amaz­ing story to come out of World War II. This is an easy to read, per­sonal and grat­i­fy­ing mil­i­tary his­tory book which is not for mil­i­tary buffs only. Werner Goer­ing, a United States B-17 pilot dur­ing World War II for the Mighty 8th Air Force, had a hur­dle to over­come – his uncle is Reich Mar­shal Her­mann Göring, head of the Luft­waffe and Hitler’s sec­ond in com­mand. Unbe­known to him, Goering’s co-pilot, Jack Rencher had a stand­ing order from J. Edgar Hoover to kill Werner in-case they got shot down or if he was try­ing to com­mit an act of treason. Jack, a poor boy with a dif­fi­cult child­hood, found Werner to be a soul mate, his only friend in life. The author’s research brings this decades old secret, which is pro­found and deeply per­sonal, to light Hell Above Earth: The Incred­i­ble True Story of an Amer­i­can WWII Bomber Com­man­der and the Copi­lot Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater is an excit­ing book which proves the old adage that “truth is stranger than fic­tion”. This is an epic buddy story which would have seemed absolutely ridicu­lous, if it wasn’t true. Werner Goer­ing, nephew to Reich Mar­shal Her­mann Göring, head of the Luft­waffe and Hitler’s sec­ond in com­mand, and his co-pilot Jack Rencher flew 48 mis­sions bomb­ing Ger­man cities. While Cap­tain Goer­ing was rec­og­nized as a brave, highly skilled, com­pe­tent and excep­tional pilot he was con­sid­ered a pro­pa­ganda risk and Lt. Rencher was secretly ordered to shoot him if downed over Nazi territory. Mr. Frater takes grue­some air com­bat sto­ries and packs them with impres­sive his­tor­i­cal detail and unfor­get­table char­ac­ters. The ter­ror men faced in the air for hours at a time comes across in this out­stand­ing work. Using clear writ­ing and end­ing in an unex­pected twist, this book not only cap­tures the drama in the air but also the inner tur­moil of men. This is his­tory at its best, a grip­ping tale of adven­ture while mix­ing an array of gen­eral his­tory top­ics with­out inun­dat­ing the reader with many mind bog­gling, eye pop­ping statistics.
GFR More than 1 year ago
Well written, but I think I prefer personal experience or biographic true stories. This one seems more like a history book to me.
PSmithIL More than 1 year ago
Book came just as promised, great condition and timely shipping!