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Coffin Corner Boys: One Bomber, Ten Men, and Their Harrowing Escape from Nazi-Occupied France

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As a young band of brothers flies over German-occupied France, they come under heavy fire. Their B-17 is shot down and the airmen—stumbling through fields and villages—scatter across Europe. Some struggled to flee for safety. Others were captured immediately and imprisoned. Now, for the first time, their incredible story of grit, survival, and reunion is told. In 1944, Geo As a young band of brothers flies over German-occupied France, they come under heavy fire. Their B-17 is shot down and the airmen—stumbling through fields and villages—scatter across Europe. Some struggled to flee for safety. Others were captured immediately and imprisoned. Now, for the first time, their incredible story of grit, survival, and reunion is told. In 1944, George Starks was just a nineteen-year-old kid from Florida when he and his high school buddies enlisted in the US military. They wanted to join the action of WWII. George was assigned to the 92nd Bomb Group—in which the median age was 22—and on his crew’s first bombing mission together received the most vulnerable spot of a B-17 mission configuration: low squadron, low group, flying #6 in the bomber box formation. Airmen called George’s position the “Coffin Corner” because here exposure was most likely to draw hostile fire. Sure enough, George’s plane was shot down by a German Fw190, and he jumped at 25,000 feet for the “first and only time,” as he tells the story. He landed near Vitry-le-Perthois to begin a 300-mile trek through the dangers of war-torn France towards the freedom of neutral Switzerland. Through waist-deep snow, seering exhaustion, and close encounters with Nazis, George repeated to himself the mantra “just one more day.” He battled to keep walking. His comrades were scattered all across Europe and experienced places as formidable as German POW camps and as hospitable as Spain, each crew member always wondering about the fate of the others. After the war, George made two vows: he would never lose touch with his men again and one day would attempt to thank those who had risked their lives to save his. Despite passage of time and demands of career and family, he accomplished both. He reunited with his crew then twenty-five years later returned to France to locate as many of the brave souls who had helped him evade the enemy as he could. Join George as he retraces his steps to freedom and discover the amazing stories of sacrifice and survival and how ten young American boys plus their French Helpers became heroes.


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As a young band of brothers flies over German-occupied France, they come under heavy fire. Their B-17 is shot down and the airmen—stumbling through fields and villages—scatter across Europe. Some struggled to flee for safety. Others were captured immediately and imprisoned. Now, for the first time, their incredible story of grit, survival, and reunion is told. In 1944, Geo As a young band of brothers flies over German-occupied France, they come under heavy fire. Their B-17 is shot down and the airmen—stumbling through fields and villages—scatter across Europe. Some struggled to flee for safety. Others were captured immediately and imprisoned. Now, for the first time, their incredible story of grit, survival, and reunion is told. In 1944, George Starks was just a nineteen-year-old kid from Florida when he and his high school buddies enlisted in the US military. They wanted to join the action of WWII. George was assigned to the 92nd Bomb Group—in which the median age was 22—and on his crew’s first bombing mission together received the most vulnerable spot of a B-17 mission configuration: low squadron, low group, flying #6 in the bomber box formation. Airmen called George’s position the “Coffin Corner” because here exposure was most likely to draw hostile fire. Sure enough, George’s plane was shot down by a German Fw190, and he jumped at 25,000 feet for the “first and only time,” as he tells the story. He landed near Vitry-le-Perthois to begin a 300-mile trek through the dangers of war-torn France towards the freedom of neutral Switzerland. Through waist-deep snow, seering exhaustion, and close encounters with Nazis, George repeated to himself the mantra “just one more day.” He battled to keep walking. His comrades were scattered all across Europe and experienced places as formidable as German POW camps and as hospitable as Spain, each crew member always wondering about the fate of the others. After the war, George made two vows: he would never lose touch with his men again and one day would attempt to thank those who had risked their lives to save his. Despite passage of time and demands of career and family, he accomplished both. He reunited with his crew then twenty-five years later returned to France to locate as many of the brave souls who had helped him evade the enemy as he could. Join George as he retraces his steps to freedom and discover the amazing stories of sacrifice and survival and how ten young American boys plus their French Helpers became heroes.

30 review for Coffin Corner Boys: One Bomber, Ten Men, and Their Harrowing Escape from Nazi-Occupied France

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Non-Fiction/Memoir/World War II. I have to say normally I find non-fiction books hard to read or hard to get into, but this book was easy to read and pulled me in very fast. I have to say that all I could think these could be some of the American Airman that was save in "the Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. Before a ton of people tell me...Yes, I know the Nightingale is Historical Fiction. It just help me to connect to the Airman in this book so fast. I loved reading about their story. This is a Non-Fiction/Memoir/World War II. I have to say normally I find non-fiction books hard to read or hard to get into, but this book was easy to read and pulled me in very fast. I have to say that all I could think these could be some of the American Airman that was save in "the Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. Before a ton of people tell me...Yes, I know the Nightingale is Historical Fiction. It just help me to connect to the Airman in this book so fast. I loved reading about their story. The pictures of the men just help put everything in the book together. (*)

  2. 5 out of 5

    JD

    In this book you can see what difference a few seconds can make in your life... The story follows ten young aircrew who's B-17 was shot down over occupied France during World War 2, and though their jumps from the stricken airplane were separated by mere seconds, their journeys could not have been more different where some of them evaded capture and escaped to neutral Switzerland or Sapin, and others ended up in POW camps in Germany. What I like most about the story is that it gives each man's b In this book you can see what difference a few seconds can make in your life... The story follows ten young aircrew who's B-17 was shot down over occupied France during World War 2, and though their jumps from the stricken airplane were separated by mere seconds, their journeys could not have been more different where some of them evaded capture and escaped to neutral Switzerland or Sapin, and others ended up in POW camps in Germany. What I like most about the story is that it gives each man's background before joining the air force, but does not waste pages explaining their Stateside training. It focuses on each man's journey after bailing-out and their bids for freedom, before returning home. Also interesting is the men who wound up in Switzerland stories where they were interned at a luxury ski resort outside of Montreux. Great story and highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Non-Fiction/Memoir/World War II. I have to say normally I find non-fiction books hard to read or hard to get into, but this book was easy to read and pulled me in very fast. I have to say that all I could think these could be some of the American Airman that was save in "the Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. Before a ton of people tell me...Yes, I know the Nightingale is Historical Fiction. It just help me to connect to the Airman in this book so fast. I loved reading about their story. This is a Non-Fiction/Memoir/World War II. I have to say normally I find non-fiction books hard to read or hard to get into, but this book was easy to read and pulled me in very fast. I have to say that all I could think these could be some of the American Airman that was save in "the Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. Before a ton of people tell me...Yes, I know the Nightingale is Historical Fiction. It just help me to connect to the Airman in this book so fast. I loved reading about their story. The pictures of the men just help put everything in the book together. (*)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This was good but not overly memorable.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ike

    Coffin Corner Boys is a true tale about the escape and evasion (of most of the crew) of a B-17 which was shot down over occupied France during WW II. Not only did the title grab my attention, but seeing that Lt. Gen “Buck” Shuler, Jr. wrote the forward (having know George Starks, the B-17’s Commander). I had the honor to have served on Gen Shuler’s staff when he commanded the Mighty 8th Air Force—that alone was impetus enough for me to read Stark’s daring tale of escape and evasion through occup Coffin Corner Boys is a true tale about the escape and evasion (of most of the crew) of a B-17 which was shot down over occupied France during WW II. Not only did the title grab my attention, but seeing that Lt. Gen “Buck” Shuler, Jr. wrote the forward (having know George Starks, the B-17’s Commander). I had the honor to have served on Gen Shuler’s staff when he commanded the Mighty 8th Air Force—that alone was impetus enough for me to read Stark’s daring tale of escape and evasion through occupied France. One other connection that amazed me was that he is from my mother-in-law’s hometown of Live Oak, FL. He’s right it isn’t a large place (I’ve been there). He surely knew her brother who flew P-51s during the war. His exploits and subsequent escape into Switzerland are the ‘stuff of legends.’ Several of his crew were captured upon parachute landing and survived the horrors of internment as POWs. Bravery comes in many forms and he and his crew were truly brave men determined to do their part to defeat the Axis Powers. The most heart-warming part of this tale of audacity is that later in life Starks reconnected with the French peoples who assisted him and his crewmen as they fled through the French countryside one step ahead of German soldiers and capture. Those that helped them were also made of the ‘right stuff’ and exhibited just as much bravery in the face of retribution by the German occupying forces. A great read for anyone, especially those interested in the true-life adventures of our nation’s Greatest Generation.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Hill

    Heroes do not wear capes, they wear dogtags. But not all the heroes of WWII wore dogtags. Many were ordinary citizens who risked their lives and the lives of their families to help the soldiers who were trying to escape to safety, in the face of the German soldiers who were patrolling the countryside. This book is a hard one to put to words. Follow the harrowing tale of these young men who left home to fight in the war, shot down, and on the run to make it to safety. This book had me hooked from Heroes do not wear capes, they wear dogtags. But not all the heroes of WWII wore dogtags. Many were ordinary citizens who risked their lives and the lives of their families to help the soldiers who were trying to escape to safety, in the face of the German soldiers who were patrolling the countryside. This book is a hard one to put to words. Follow the harrowing tale of these young men who left home to fight in the war, shot down, and on the run to make it to safety. This book had me hooked from the beginning. I was amazed and grateful at the many families, who put themselves at risk to help these downed soldiers, hiding them in one place, and then another. Some of them were captured - but some made it to Switzerland without being caught, with the help of the French Resistance. In the "Coffin Corner Boys" we follow the story of George Starks who returned to France decades after the war, to find those who had helped him, and to show his appreciation for everything that they had done for him. Taking his wife along, she was able to see the many miles he had traversed and the many people who had helped hide him along the road until he reached safety. We hear from the other flyers who were shot down with George, and their tales of trying to reach freedom, we see the horrors of being captured and imprisoned as a POW. A few of the flyers saw the devastation and horrors contained within the concentration camps. A powerful story of survival, hope and endurance. If you love military history, check out this read! Thank you Edelweiss for an advanced review copy for an unbiased review!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Miles Fowler

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is an excellent true survival story. Ten men bailed out of a burning airplane over Nazi occupied France in March 1944. Separated from each other, they tried to make it back home despite being surrounded by enemy troops and natural hardships. The meaning of the title - "Coffin Corner Boys" - is that their assigned position in the layered, box-like formation of their bomber unit, in one particular lower corner of the formation, was where the odds were highest of being shot down. Apparently, th This is an excellent true survival story. Ten men bailed out of a burning airplane over Nazi occupied France in March 1944. Separated from each other, they tried to make it back home despite being surrounded by enemy troops and natural hardships. The meaning of the title - "Coffin Corner Boys" - is that their assigned position in the layered, box-like formation of their bomber unit, in one particular lower corner of the formation, was where the odds were highest of being shot down. Apparently, the newest bomber crew was assigned this slot. The one complaint I have is that it is never explained why this corner was different from, say, the opposite corner. Why did the planes in the other corners not have the same rate of being shot down? On the side of the downed airmen was the fact that the French civilians hated the Germans for occupying their country. Some of the French police were willing to turn over members of the American bomber crew to the Germans, which is what happened to a few of them. Unfortunately, the enlisted men were sent to one of the worst POW camps while officers went to a somewhat better POW camp. (It turned out that the officers' camp was the very one portrayed in the movie "The Great Escape," which true event had just taken place before our man in this story gets there.) Because most of the French would not turn them in, most of the crew were able to escape. It was true that some civilians were afraid to help downed Americans. George Starks, the bomber pilot whose experience is the main focus of the book, never blamed people for being too scared to help him. The Germans would kill anybody who helped the Allies and often torture them before killing them. Nevertheless, George found that an awful lot of the French were willing to help. They gave him civilian clothes to wear, food - often when they did not have enough to feed themselves - and a place to spend the night, even if it was in a barn. Often they gave him a real bed. What really impressed George, though, was when he met Maurice Beverel. When other people guided George and also - unbeknownst to him - his fellow evadees through train stations, they made the American airmen keep their distance by walking many paces behind their guides. Maurice kept George beside him as they wandered through crowds of German soldiers at the train station. George asked if Maurice didn't want him to keep his distance. "Is that what the other guides made you do?" asked Maurice. "They were afraid," he concluded almost scornfully. Maurice was not afraid of much. George later found out that Maurice traveled all over eastern France, including Normandy, and then slipped over the Swiss border and reported German troop movements to U.S. intelligence officers. Then he slipped back into France where he acted as a guide to many downed Allied servicemen as well as many civilians who were trying to escape the Germans. This being a true story, as told to the competent author Carole Avriett, the reader might have to live with some unanswered questions that a novelist probably would have resolved. For example, we can only guess at why one of the members of the crew did not participate in the project of telling their memories to Mrs. Avriett. It seems that nine of the ten crew members had trained together whereas the co-pilot had been a last-minute replacement. He must never have felt close to the other men, so he never shared his experiences with them and is glaringly left out of this book despite George having reached out to him. For whatever reason, he left himself out. Two members of the crew were helped by an American named Joe who was code-named Frisco. Frisco had lived in France for many years. The Germans had killed his French wife and child. He fought for revenge and was a little crazy. As he helped two of the crewmen over the border, Frisco covered them by getting into a gun battle with pursuing German troops while his charges ran and tumbled over the finish line. Was Frisco killed, or captured and then killed, or did he escape to fight another day? We don't know. Two crew members went over the Pyrenees mountains into Spain, but most of the successful escapees went to Switzerland. There they were forced to stay because of an official agreement between the Swiss and Germans that American servicemen who made it to Switzerland would not be allowed to go back to fighting Germany. (In the old days, at least, POWs were often actually set free on a promise that they would retire from the war and not go back to fighting.) In a remarkable turn of events, George and some other American servicemen got tired of being on vacation in Switzerland and tried to get back in the war by recrossing the border into France; however, the U.S. Army wouldn't let them go back to flying and sent them home instead. Some of the book, at the beginning and the end, tells how George went back to France several times beginning in 1969 and visited the people who had helped him, especially Maurice who became a close friend. Inevitably, every time George went back, some of his wartime helpers had died. Finally, even Maurice died, killed in a car accident. As of 2015, however, George was still alive and determined to go back even if no one he remembered was there anymore. There was also a reunion at one point of the remaining members of the crew who met at George's home in Florida. The stories of most of the other crewmen are not given short shrift. Irv Baum's experience stands out. He and Ted Badder were captured and sent to the same POW camp. Irv came originally from the same county in New York where my partner grew up. (My partner even recognized when I read to her from this book that the author made a typo: the town given as "Middleton, New York" should be "Middletown" instead.) Irv was Jewish, and he was lucky that he wasn't treated a lot worse than he was by the Germans. At one point, a prison camp registrar, who obviously suspected that Irv was Jewish, insisted that Irv not leave blank the space on his form for religious affiliation. At that moment, something happened to distract the registrar and he turned around. At the same time, the guard standing next to Irv took the pencil from his hand and wrote "Protestant" for him. Irv and the guard looked at each other, but never exchanged a word. Evidently never saw each other again. That is just a taste of what this book is like. Each crew member had a somewhat or even very different experience. What is remarkable is that every one of the ten made it home in one piece, physically if not necessarily psychologically.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    Confession: my 5-star rating is purely emotional, and I won't apologize for it. Normally I rate books on a variety of things: topic, style, voice, ease of reading, etc. Not this time. This is a strictly emotional rating because this book is the story of my husband's grandpa. When I met my husband, his grandpa was pretty sick with Alzheimer's, so I never had the chance to speak with him. I did find out, though, that Grandpa has been shot down during WW2 and was a POW (I believe his wife was pregnan Confession: my 5-star rating is purely emotional, and I won't apologize for it. Normally I rate books on a variety of things: topic, style, voice, ease of reading, etc. Not this time. This is a strictly emotional rating because this book is the story of my husband's grandpa. When I met my husband, his grandpa was pretty sick with Alzheimer's, so I never had the chance to speak with him. I did find out, though, that Grandpa has been shot down during WW2 and was a POW (I believe his wife was pregnant with my father-in-law at the time). No one ever really knew what happened to the plane or how Grandpa survived in Germany because he didn't like to talk about it. Dale Beery had already died by the time this book was written (and most likely when the author was researching the story). Even if he'd been alive, I'm not sure he would have contributed much. Nevertheless, the stories of the other men give a good, general idea of what Dale would have experienced. Stories of WW2 are heart-wrenching, but this one has a bit of a happy ending. Superhero movies are fun, but the men and women in this book -- soldiers and civilians, American and French (and even a German soldier who likely saved an American airman's life) -- are truly heroes. They put so much on the line for so many people. It's truly amazing. I am, of course, biased, but if you're a history buff -- especially military history -- I highly recommend this book. It was easy to read, and the true adventures of these men are as exciting as anything an author or screenwriter could create. Rated PG for thematic elements.

  9. 5 out of 5

    A Busscher

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Very interesting and quick read. I liked how down to earth it was and "guys" didn't put any extra details to make the story better and more reader friendly. I've read quite a few books about WWII and yet it never ceases to amaze me at the atrocities that were committed. It also had no idea at the am't of POW that were taken and how they lived in cramped conditions. I think of the camps could hold up to 5,000 people and the real numbers were upwards of 100,000! First of all that a ton of POW's i Very interesting and quick read. I liked how down to earth it was and "guys" didn't put any extra details to make the story better and more reader friendly. I've read quite a few books about WWII and yet it never ceases to amaze me at the atrocities that were committed. It also had no idea at the am't of POW that were taken and how they lived in cramped conditions. I think of the camps could hold up to 5,000 people and the real numbers were upwards of 100,000! First of all that a ton of POW's i never thought about the am't of people. In my ignorance, I never would have guessed at how many people lived in deplorable conditions with barely enough food for a day much life the weeks,months and possibly years in the camps. One thing that I didn't like was trying to figure out/remember who each guy was and where they were in their story line in relation to each other. I liked hearing about everybody story but it was sometimes confusing. I also really enjoyed that George went back and meet and talked with the people that risked their lives to save it. I can't fathom the am't of guts and courage that it must've taken to harbor a fugitive knowing that your life and your families lives will be at risk for the camps or death.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Albert Town

    What q quick, and delightful piece about on B-17 crew who on their first mission are assigned to fly in what is known as the "coffin corner" of the formation. In flight over France, the aircraft is attacked, and crashes with all ten members of the crew making a successful jump (they are now members of the caterpillar club.) What occurs next is an adventure, and journey for some into captivity, and some freedom. Mrs. Avriett narrates the journey through the voice of the pilot- George Starks. Also What q quick, and delightful piece about on B-17 crew who on their first mission are assigned to fly in what is known as the "coffin corner" of the formation. In flight over France, the aircraft is attacked, and crashes with all ten members of the crew making a successful jump (they are now members of the caterpillar club.) What occurs next is an adventure, and journey for some into captivity, and some freedom. Mrs. Avriett narrates the journey through the voice of the pilot- George Starks. Also, you hear the voices of the crew members, and their journey. The number of French citizen who placed their lives, and their families in jeopardy by facilitated the journey. The friendship made because of their actions lasted a lifetime. Worth the read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    William Troy

    On their first mission as a crew, their B-17 was shot down and all of the crew parachuted safely. This is the story of their experience after landing in occupied France. Some of the crew were captured and spent time in POW camps, some of the crew escaped into Spain, some of the crew escaped into Switzerland. All survived the war. This story is about their tribulations and about the many people who risked their lives to help the downed airmen. The pilot, a twenty year old captain, escaped to Swit On their first mission as a crew, their B-17 was shot down and all of the crew parachuted safely. This is the story of their experience after landing in occupied France. Some of the crew were captured and spent time in POW camps, some of the crew escaped into Spain, some of the crew escaped into Switzerland. All survived the war. This story is about their tribulations and about the many people who risked their lives to help the downed airmen. The pilot, a twenty year old captain, escaped to Switzerland with the help of many people. He returned to France to retrace his escape route and to thank those who had risked their lives to help him. It is a great story of good luck, good people and perseverance in conditions of adversity.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I listened to this audiobook and the only reason I am giving it 3 stars is because it felt very repetitive to me. The way it was written was such that it told each of the 10 men's stories, which meant there was a lot of repeating and in some cases even the exact same wording/phrasing was used. Yes, the men did separate and have their own stories at certain points, but by the end of the book, I was kind of glad it was over. The story was interesting and heartwarming at the end, but felt very long I listened to this audiobook and the only reason I am giving it 3 stars is because it felt very repetitive to me. The way it was written was such that it told each of the 10 men's stories, which meant there was a lot of repeating and in some cases even the exact same wording/phrasing was used. Yes, the men did separate and have their own stories at certain points, but by the end of the book, I was kind of glad it was over. The story was interesting and heartwarming at the end, but felt very long when it didn't need to.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Read Ng

    Found this on the shelf. I had not heard about this book previously. I understand it to be highly regarded. I was not disappointed. Easy to get caught up in the human drama of being trapped behind enemy lines in occupied France during WWII. Very effective narrative jumping between the differing perspectives of the various war heroes. It's the small acts of human actions that really bring this telling alive. It is a quick read, that is impossible to put down. You gotta read this! Have a GoodReads. Found this on the shelf. I had not heard about this book previously. I understand it to be highly regarded. I was not disappointed. Easy to get caught up in the human drama of being trapped behind enemy lines in occupied France during WWII. Very effective narrative jumping between the differing perspectives of the various war heroes. It's the small acts of human actions that really bring this telling alive. It is a quick read, that is impossible to put down. You gotta read this! Have a GoodReads.

  14. 5 out of 5

    brad w miller

    This book literally brings you back in time I really enjoyed this book. The author tells the story of the George Starks crew shutdown over France on their first mission flying their B-17 bomber. The story is so vividly and eloquently told that you feel like you are taken back in time. She accurately portrays the courage of the greatest generation and the brave people who risked everything , including their lives to help these downed airmen escape the Germans and reach safety. These stories need t This book literally brings you back in time I really enjoyed this book. The author tells the story of the George Starks crew shutdown over France on their first mission flying their B-17 bomber. The story is so vividly and eloquently told that you feel like you are taken back in time. She accurately portrays the courage of the greatest generation and the brave people who risked everything , including their lives to help these downed airmen escape the Germans and reach safety. These stories need to be told and remembered.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ann Boytim

    During the second World War March 1944 young Lt George Starks gets his nine man crew together to fly over Germany. Shot down in Nazi occupied France this story tells of how the young men survived and made their ways out of enemy territory or ended up being captured. Starks recalls his personal story and how many people gave him help during very difficult times. Going back to France one more time with his son they trace George's footsteps. Friendships were formed and loyalty rewarded. Fighting sp During the second World War March 1944 young Lt George Starks gets his nine man crew together to fly over Germany. Shot down in Nazi occupied France this story tells of how the young men survived and made their ways out of enemy territory or ended up being captured. Starks recalls his personal story and how many people gave him help during very difficult times. Going back to France one more time with his son they trace George's footsteps. Friendships were formed and loyalty rewarded. Fighting spirit and patriotism shown by the U.S. Army Corp and the mighty Eight Air Force.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andre Boucher

    Consuming! This book was amazing. I have read my historical accounts of World War II, but this one has me enthralled from the very beginning. These men were really just boys. Boys who stepped up and did a man's job. I have a 19 year old son, imagining him in this situation is mind blowing. I have always respected the French Resistance,but this book digs deep into the lives of people who risk everything to save a life and help free their country. I could not set this book down. Consuming! This book was amazing. I have read my historical accounts of World War II, but this one has me enthralled from the very beginning. These men were really just boys. Boys who stepped up and did a man's job. I have a 19 year old son, imagining him in this situation is mind blowing. I have always respected the French Resistance,but this book digs deep into the lives of people who risk everything to save a life and help free their country. I could not set this book down.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael S Davis

    Excellent Just could not put this book down once I started reading it. I am a vociferous reader of history with many books on my shelf and this is the best one I've read in the last 3 years. What an incredibly terrifying ordeal these brave men experienced and especially rare that the entire crew survived bailing out over enemy territory! And what makes it more remarkable is it's a true story. Excellent Just could not put this book down once I started reading it. I am a vociferous reader of history with many books on my shelf and this is the best one I've read in the last 3 years. What an incredibly terrifying ordeal these brave men experienced and especially rare that the entire crew survived bailing out over enemy territory! And what makes it more remarkable is it's a true story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the second book I have read recently involving downed airmen in Europe during WW II. I continue to be amazed and impressed about the bravery and heroism displayed by so many French people who risked their lives, families and fortunes to help people they didn’t know. The crew of a B-17 bailed out after their aircraft caught on fire. They all survived, but quite a few escaped from France into Spain and Switzerland and survived the war. This is an exciting and interesting read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    What I find really remarkable about this story is that all ten guys who parachuted out of the disabled plane survived the war. Crazy. There are a lot of other remarkable instances as well and this is a very good book. A small thing that I don’t enjoy in non fiction books is a ton of conversations because I just don’t buy into that being 100% true and a bit cheesy. But it doesn’t take a whole lot away from this book, just one of my pet peeves.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Len Roberto

    A B-17 is shot down on their first mission together on march 16, 1944. This book recounts their journeys to safety through France- and the amazing people who risked their lives to help these young Americans survive and escape. George Starks goes back to France many times to meet with the people who helped him...heartwarming and inspiring.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pduit

    This was a fantastic book. The author took the material and wove a great story that grabbed me from the first pages and took me through the entire journey. Everything was vividly explained and I could see it as if I was watching a movie. In fact, this should be a movie. I hope someone gives it the film treatment it deserves.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gary Myers

    Overall a fascinating and uplifting story, highlighted by first hand accounts. But two graphics would have greatly enhanced the reading experience. One would have been a map showing the key points along each individual’s or group of individual’s route from bail-out to freedom. The second would be a timeline for the same.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Phillip M. Verwys

    Not your typical war story A very interesting perspective on the war . Not just a story about strategy and tactics. The heroic efforts of the crew and the French citizens is inspirational.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Darrin Jordan

    Very interesting account of the trials and tribulations experienced by 10 crew members shot down over France 3 months before D-Day as they relied on ordinary French citizens who “did the right thing “ in helping the crew members escape capture by the Nazis.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John W. Bozard

    Wonderful read. Historic, heartwarming and patriotic. This book is an excellent work. Could not put it down, as chapter to chapter followed the hero’s of war. Filled with History, heartwarming stories and a real appreciation for the men in Military.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Webb

    Inspiring Great story, good glimpse into heroic background of so many that served. Makes you think of all the stories behind the canes and walkers you see at Memorial Day observances.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    It’s nice to read book with a positive outcome for the main people in the book. Young men going through hell who made it out. Good people in France who helped them despite the dangers to themselves and their families. Thumbs down to the so called neutral Swiss government. Some things never change.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bea Elwood

    A tribute to the countless people who helped the American soilders shot down over Occupied France. Not as gripping as The Boys in the Boat but a fascinating look at one crew's survival, and one man's mission to say thank you. A tribute to the countless people who helped the American soilders shot down over Occupied France. Not as gripping as The Boys in the Boat but a fascinating look at one crew's survival, and one man's mission to say thank you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erik Hutchinson

    Excellent Very good book. Engaging and entertaining. Lots of action and suspense. A good read for WW2 enthusiasts. Why do you put a word restriction on a review. I’m reviewing the book not writing one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jon Ziomek

    This is a true account of the crew of a U.S. bomber shot down by the Germans and crashing into France. All ten crew members survived, using various means to get to Spain or Switzerland. The French were brave to help our airmen. Another incredible World War Two adventure – we have no end of these.

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