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The Mighty Eighth

The Air War in Europe as Told by the Men Who Fought It
Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
Length: 23 hrs and 11 mins
3.7 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

Europe has fallen. Pearl Harbor is in flames. Enter: the Eighth.

In 1941 the RAF fought a desperate battle of survival against the Luftwaffe over Britain. Then, from across the Atlantic, came a new generation of American pilots, gunners, and bombardiers, a new generation of flying machines called the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator, the P-47 Thunderbolt, and the P-51 Mustang fighter. Soon these brave young men were hurtling themselves and their unproven planes across the Channel and into the teeth of enemy firepower, raining down bombs on the German military machine, and going up against Hitler's best fliers in the sky.

This is the dramatic oral history of the Army Air Corps and the newly created Eighth Air Force stationed in Britain, an army of hard-fighting, hard-playing flying men who suffered more fatalities than the entire US Marine Corps in the Pacific campaign of World War II. Here, in their own words, are tales of survival and soul-numbing loss, of soldiers who came together to fight a kind of war that had never been fought before - and win it with their courage and their blood.

But the road to victory was paved with sacrifice. From its inaugural mission on July 4, 1942, until V-E Day, the Eighth Air Force lost more men than did the entire United States Marine Corps in all its campaigns in the Pacific. The Mighty Eighth chronicles the testimony of the pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and gunners who daily put their lives on the line. Their harrowing accounts recall the excitement and terror of dogfights against Nazi aces, maneuvering explosive-laden aircraft through deadly flak barrages, and fending off waves of enemy fighters while coping with subzero temperatures.

Beginning with the opening salvos from a mere dozen planes, crewmen describe the raids on Berlin and Dresden, the fiasco at Ploesti, Romania, and Black Thursday over Schweinfurt. They fell to the terror of seeing aircraft destroyed - helplessly watching as comrades crash and burn, or parachute over enemy territory, where they will attempt to evade enemy capture through the underground. Others tell of mourning downed airmen murdered by vengeful citizens and soldiers, and of those who endured captivity in POW camps.

©2015 Gerald Astor (P)2015 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Great reading." (Stephen Ambrose)
"Bold, brawny, epic in scope...Astor captures the fire and passion of these tens of thousands of US airmen who flew through the inferno that was the bomber war over Europe." (Stephen Coonts)

What listeners say about The Mighty Eighth

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A Factually Incorrect And Poorly Executed Narrative

I had high hopes for this book in giving me a new insight into the 8th Air Force’s war over Europe, but just 4 hours in and I’ve had enough! The narrative is dull and clunky as it wanders with little direction, purpose or cohesion, failing to to even attempt to follow a basic time line. The facts and theories presented also range from just plain incorrect and fantastical to woolly and poorly researched. Save your money or your credits, avoid this book at all costs, it’s tripe!

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  • bailey
  • 25-07-19

Long term customer totally put off by narrator.

Evaluate this carefully before you buy it. The story is great but the narrator is terrible. It's like he has no idea what he's reading but just piecing together words and phrases to get through the book. I really tried to like this but his lack of attention ruined the experience for me.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nana
  • 18-02-18

Mighty Eighth

Good read for both those familiar and non- familiar with WWII action. Written the the Stephen Ambrose style.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mike Roth
  • 18-09-20

Exciting and touching stories!

Engrossing, touching and enlightening. Taken from the airmen themselves. "The Mighty Eighth" pulls back the curtain on fighter and bomber operations in the ETO.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Special K -AZ
  • 22-05-20

A Story of Courage and Determination

The many, many stories of the courage and determination of the tens of thousands of young men who fought in the skies over Germany to free the world from the Nazis must never be forgotten. As we approach Memorial Day 2020, it's hard to realize that the vast majority of these heros have passed on. I knew an 8th Air Force Veteran in the small rural town where I grew up. He had been a B-17 tailgunner and his aircraft was shot down in a raid over Berlin. He spent over a year in a German Prison camp camp. He was very patriotic and realized how lucky he was to have survived the war. This is a book every young American should read to understand DUTY, COUNTRY, FREEDOM! and what it costs to have a country like ours... Please HONOR their memories EVERY Memorial Day...

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew Schuller
  • 23-08-19

A Good Listen with 1 problem

I enjoyed listening to the individual experiences. I didn't mind the narration as some complained... I put the speed to 1.35 and it was fine. my only complaint is the during the telling of the August 1st Ploesti raid, the story of Wingo Wango going down with the lead navigator. This story is incorrect. The plane was called Wongo Wongo. That plane was in the 2nd echelon of planes and you can't lead from the rear especially when maintaining radio silence. The story goes on to tell how Compton in the lead plane made the decision to make the turn himself without consulting his navigator. If he was in the lead plane, then he should have had the lead navigator. That's how it worked. It may seem like a minor thing but if the author prints an incorrect story, how many of the others are wrong as well?

1 person found this helpful

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  • RoosterValleyKid
  • 18-06-19

An important read - lest we forget

It is so important to remember the history of global conflict, sacrifice, terror, pain, and tremendous price that comes as a result of unbridled greed for power and dominance at any price.

1 person found this helpful

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  • J
  • 06-02-19

This was the " Greatest Generation"

This book is based upon letters, diaries, recollections, etc of those who were part of the 8th and presents a personal history of this part of the air war in Europe. As such, it does 'jump around' a bit and is not at all a "typical", chronological historical book. However, it is quite informative and very moving. It raises many questions about war and questions of "morality" and puts the war in Europe in proper perspective. One cannot listen to this book without a very deep appreciation of these young men and the incredible sacrifices they made! Highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • lmtwashington
  • 19-11-18

Gets Repetitive Perhaps Because That’s How The Men Lived And Died

This is not a continuous following of a group of airmen. This is a reasonably well organized and somewhat linear arrangement of journal entries and interviews from a wide variety of the amazing airman who flew in the ETO. Their repetitively death threatening mission based lives are reflected in the this telling. It is repetitive and it is beyond all courage and it is very real. Excellent amalgamation of first hand accounts that must depict so vividly the repetitive lives these men lived from base to mission and, with God’s Grace, to base and back to mission.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kenneth A. Perkins
  • 22-05-18

Great History Lesson

All Americans young and old should read this book. Especially the young who aren't being taught this in school.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CountryBoy
  • 20-06-20

Lengthy but worth it

Excellent narration with and incredible story of success and failure. War at it’s best and worst at the same time. Bravery & cowardice intertwined to make a unique story.