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Summary

For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder's story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about. This includes: separation for young families as men went off to war; training before heading to foreign soil; military combat operations; underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it; and German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians.

©2014 Steve Snyder (P)2015 Steve Snyder

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michael Richards
  • 25-05-17

A Great Story Diminished by Audible

Any additional comments?

Story: The first person account of B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth's Aircraft Commander, Lieutenant Howard Snyder. It is told through notes home and various diaries and other accounts and as such is not easy reading (or listening in this case) but is none the less compelling because of that. Anytime you are dealing with a real person and a real account of extraordinary events, I find it is usually worth the effort. This audio book did try my patience extremely and was no fault of the author or narrator. (See Performance Below)

Performance: Richard Rieman did a good job, albeit a little stiffly. The thing that almost ruined this audio book for me was that they would repeat ENTIRE paragraphs almost every chapter, so you would listen to the same thing over and over. It could be (I am speculating here and giving them the benefit of the doubt) that these sections were the block quote sections that started a given section, and as such if you were reading it, you would have just skimmed over it when you hit that section in the printed version. Not having the printed version, I do not know. But the effect was that it sounded like they had an audio intern doing the editing. AUDIBLE - You really should listen to your own finished products once in a while.

Overall: A very interesting and accurate 1st person account of life and death in the 8th Air Force in WWII. Very poor production caused whole passages to be repeated almost every chapter and almost caused me to stop listening. I'm glad I didn't because it really is a remarkable story of a bunch of remarkable people.


This audio book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • cutelilinikika
  • 17-03-17

Very informative

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This was a very informative book regarding the USAAF during WWII and I think many people would benefit from the history provided. I was given many new things to think about as I listened.

Would you be willing to try another book from Steve Snyder? Why or why not?

While this book was informative it lacked the emotional strength I was expecting. Part of this could have been what Snyder was working with as he tried to remain as true to life as possible. There was obviously a lot of research that went into compiling this narrative and I would be interested in trying more historical stories from the author.

What about Richard Rieman’s performance did you like?

Rieman's voice was perfect for this type of historical book. It is just what I associate with WWII in my head, so it worked really well for this tale.

Do you think Shot Down needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

The story would have had more of an impact on me had it focused more around a handful of characters and less on the overall involvement of the USAAF in the war. That said, I think that some shorter books or maybe a short book compiling some of the letters from individual airmen on the Susan Ruth would help me appreciate the story more. It would be nice to have more information about the crew than was given in this book.

Any additional comments?

The quotes at the beginning of every chapter (which I assume are in the written version as well) were very destracting. Maybe that would work if reading the physical book, but for audio it really didn't work well.

Rieman's narration was really good. The only part that I didn't particularly like were the various voices used for the men and women quoted in the book.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • NatsFan
  • 15-03-17

Good For Details

Great B 17 details. Hard to like the main characters other than their service to their country. Very dry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex
  • 02-12-15

Experience both the life and death of WWII

I will preface this review by saying that I’ve generally avoided WWII stories upto this point. This was mostly because in high school every book related to WWII focused on just the battle portion and the misery and death in the trenches, which is something that needed to be learned, but I always wanted to know how people actually lived between battles (e.g. what did they do in their spare time to keep from being bored). There were descriptions of the bases, the English towns where the bases were located and generally the living conditions in WWII. I’d describe it as a book about both the life and death of WWII.

I took a chance on this book because I’m an aviation geek, and I’m happy I did because I got so much more from it than just aviation glee. Perhaps because it is written by a son about his dad, the story seemed more personal. I felt like I was going through the training, battle anticipation, moments of boredom between raids, and fear of having to bail out of a crippled aircraft right along with the crew. There is also what I would term a nice tribute to the people who lived in occupied Belgium and France who risked their own lives to rescue and provide aid. It felt like they found a way to fight back even if they were occupied. I also really appreciated that the author talked to German Luftwaffe pilot and put his recollections in the book. It’s nice to have a bit of the other side. I learned a whole lot about the war that I either had forgotten or hadn’t learned before, but not once did I feel like facts were being thrown at me. The author did an excellent job of weaving information between the personal stories and lettres, so you get education and emotion in this book.

As for the narrator, it took me a sec to settle into listening to him. This was mostly because I guess I had expected a ‘younger’ sounding voice to match the age that Howard Snyder would have been during this time. In the end though, I came to really enjoy the narrator’s voice. I started thinking of it more as someone who went through the war was recalling and sharing what life was like for them during that time; and for that the narrator’s voice was perfect and added to the book’s experience. Personal pre-expectations aside, the narrator had a pleasant voice to listen to for almost 9 hours of audiobook and the audio quality was clear.

In terms of audiobook format, there was one thing that I was a bit confused about as I listened, which I think in print might have made sense. There is quite a bit of repetition of certain passages throughout the book which (having never seen the print version) I theorize must be like when the chapter has an excerpt or highlight from its main body quoted in italics at the beginning. That sort of thing doesn’t translate well for me into audio because I stop and go “didn’t I just hear this? Did I accidentally hit the back 30 sec button?” Other than this, it was a really good book and enjoyable listen (which is why I didn’t deduct a star for the repetition issue like I normally would). Ok this review is turning into an essay and is longer than I thought it would be, so I'll end it by saying: I listened to this book for the planes, but if you have even a passing interest in: history, planes, air force /military life, or just a well written book; this would be worth your time.

"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rnmedic1180
  • 01-03-18

Reads like the Memphis Belle Documentary.

well I have the utmost respect for the Flyers of World War II and the tasks they undertook, this book is stale with much of the language very familiar from the Memphis Belle documentary of World War II some of it, word for word.

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  • John J Bronnert
  • 28-02-18

Insight for the next generation.

Excellent insight into the air war in Europe. The insight into the cultures of all sides provides the glimse into life at the time, important now with most of that generation having passed.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • #24 fan
  • 08-02-18

difficult to listen to<br />

The book was repetitive, narrator mispronounced too many words & was monotonous. I enjoyed the story itself but found how it was told and narrated hard to follow.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Shawn
  • 27-12-17

WW2 From Bomber Pilot Perspectives

This is better than most self-published books. But it has too much detail in places and has some editing flaws. The author makes it clear that he is of German heritage, so it glosses over how evil the Germans were, blaming most of it on one man (Hitler). It slights "The Jewish Question" and therefore smacks of anti-Semitism. But it is educational about the war. The reader is very good.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • IllustratingYou
  • 17-10-17

Outstanding and moving

Steve Snyder has written a book that reminds us of the horrendous price that was paid for our world to be a safe as it is now. Profound and moving. I feel as though I was actually there, holding my breath and praying for those involved. This should be in every school library and required reading for all students ... less we forget.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nancy Mac
  • 09-09-17

A must read

The richness of the knowledge about the Susan Ruth makes this book one for the greatest generation. I listened to the book and did not get the pleasure of the 250 photos that I am sure enhanced the book even more. The book was a labor of love for the author and I thank him for sharing his family's story. If these stories are not written down, they will be forever lost. Everyone has a hero in their family and needs to do what Steve Snyder did and preserve his fathers legacy. Let this be an inspiration to others to find and share their families stories. I encourage you to read, or listen to this book.