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Wild Blue: The Men And...
Stephen E. Ambrose
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Wild Blue: The Men And Boys Who Flew The B-24s Over Germany

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  4,520 ratings  ·  225 reviews
Long before he entered politics, when he was just in his early 20s, South Dakotan George McGovern flew 35 bomber missions over Nazi-occupied Europe, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery under fire. Stephen Ambrose, the industrious historian, focuses on McGovern and the young crew of his B-24 bomber, volunteers all, in this vivid study of the air war in Europe.

Hardcover, 299 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by Diane Pub Co (first published 2001)
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This is an very well documented and well-written book about being a bomber pilot during the Second World War. The main character, George McGovern, is not painted well enough to overcome his embarrasing defeat running against Nixon, but Ambrose makes it clear that while McGovern may not have been the choice for president, he was a good pilot and soldier. Also, the description of the B-24's strengths and weaknesses I personally found interesting, as the plane is one of my favorites. Overall, very ...more
Note that I wrote this review before the plagarism controversy. See my review of Wings Over Morning

Ambrose became a widely popular popularizer of World War II history and he has managed to churn out several in the past few years that focus on the common soldier experience. Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22 and himself a bombardier on B-24s, told Ambrose, " never had a bad officer." Ambrose was startled to hear this from the creator of Major Major Major, Colonel Cathcart, and General Dreedle, but
Rob Kitchin
From the back cover I thought I would be getting the story of the 741 Squadron and, in particular, the crew of the Dakota Queen. What you actually get is the story of George McGovern from early days through his training and onto the end of the Second World War. Very little time is spent with any of the other crewmen or the wider 741 Squadron. This is very much the war as experienced by McGovern and the reader joins the squadron when McGovern does in September 1944, at the tail end of the war. If ...more
Trenton Dove
Stephen Ambrose has written another amazing book about men flying B-24 planes during WWII, giving the reader an action filled book. The Wild Blue follows the men who gave their lives to protect their country by flying over enemy lines. McGovern always keeps his crew members alive and does not let them down. He always keeps everything in check. He never is in a tight spot.
McGovern signed up to be a fighter pilot when he was 19 years old. When he went into training he was traded over to be a b-
Travis Ristau
This book was another great piece that Stephen Ambrose has wrote. It described the life and difficulties that bomber pilots went through in Northern Italy. The main pilot, George McGovern, was a stellar pilot who's crew looked up to him. George and the rest of his crew from the Dakota Queen went through hell and back throughout World War II. It went from seeing countless friends die in front of them to seeing a plane crash into the two plants right next to them. These men were some of the braves ...more
carl  theaker

Even before the plagiarism suit was settled I thought this book was well padded with stats and other well known information about the air war. This book was whipped up for a quick profit.

I did like the personal stories and the insights on the the B-24, that's worth the reading. With great coincidence, after reading this I met Bob Cook the pilot mentioned in the crash and rescue, pg 186
if you're following along. Since then Bob and I have become friends and I've heard a lot of great B-24 stories.
Tony Pedley
A curious mixture of a book. Sold as a historical book on the American Air Force during the 2nd world war, but it comes out as a wartime biography of ex-president hopeful George McGovern.

The good thing about the book is that it describes one of those small pockets of the 2nd world wars that is frequently missed by historians, that of the allied bombing campaign from southern Italy towards the end of the 2nd world war. However while we learn a lot about the pilots in the the form of McGovern and
Curtis Edmonds
The place you read Stephen Ambrose's new book, The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew The B-24s Over Germany, is on an airplane, a comfortable passenger jet, say, a Delta 737, built with care and precision by the Boeing folks in their picturesque facility in Seattle. the kind that has the little button that lets you recline your seat, and room for flight attendants to wander up and down the aisles bringing Dr Pepper and orange juice from frozen concentrate and the other wondrous beverages of t ...more
"The Wild Blue, The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany", Stephen Ambrose. 2001. For many, the introduction to Stephen Ambros was his appearance in the 1974 British documentary "The World At War". Professor Ambros' unsettling intensity exuded an acute level of understanding and intelligence. His long mane of hair and massive wool sweater made him appear as though his image was torn from the pages of a mens fashion magazine. Fast forward nearly thirty years later, not far from his untime ...more
Interesting set of stories on the airmen flying the B-24. Focus is on George McGovern and his crew, but pulls stories from many veterans of the Army Air Corp and Navy fliers. To be honest, there really is no narrative, just a jumble of stories.
H.W. Bernard
THE WILD BLUE has been out for awhile, but I finally got around to reading it. Glad I did. Although I read mainly thrillers (because that's what I write), I enjoy occasional excursions into nonfiction. From a literary standpoint (gripping reading), I would rate THE WILD BLUE three stars--it's mainly a series of anecdotes strung together in a more-or-less chronological order. From an historical standpoint, it's a five-star read. It's a book that spotlights, as many have, the Greatest Generation. ...more
As you can see in the other reviews, there's some controversy surrounding this book based primarily on politics and possible plagiarism. At the end of the day, it is a well-written account of what the aircrews of bombers in WWII had to endure. As Ambrose mentions, the lion's share of attention regarding WWII is on the infantry and the warriors aboard our Naval vessels and Marines in the Pacific. It is good that this account is being told in order to make the public at large understand the terrif ...more
John Terreri
Another great read which evolved from a friendship the author had with George McGovern who unsuccessfully ran for President in 1972. The book focuses mainly on McGovern and his B24 crew (741st squadron)and the experiences they had in flying missions over Germany towards the end of WWII. There are vivid descriptions of the triumphs and fears of daily life before and after a bomb run. (how missions were assigned, the conditions on the bomber planes and the poor chances of returning from missions) ...more
Jul 26, 2009 Justin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Most
Recommended to Justin by: My late father's library
Shelves: war
What makes war so horrible is what also makes it so vibrant. The inescapable human element again livens this book, to me the most straight-forward chapter of Ambrose's storied canon. It's simple--but with great tones of friendship & ease, likely resulting from the author's close relationship with the most central figure. The narrative is linear, but upon it pervades a solid, storyteller familiarity.

In yet another striking, humbling account of the '40's generation of sacrifice, the infant A
When I was a teenager I, like many, put together plastic models of airplanes, onw of which was the B-24 Liberator. Unfortunately, that model was lost or tossed out many years ago. However, about ten or so years ago, in my "I'm reliving my adolescence" phase (which continues), I ordered a ProModeler (a line of model kits with a lot of detail and much research behind them) kit of the B-24 Liberator as well as one of a B-25 Mitchell. The cover art for the former depicted the bombing of the oil refi ...more
The inspiration for this book was the late Stephen Ambrose's friendship with George S. McGovern, the South Dakota senator who ran unsuccessfully on the Democratic ticket in the 1972 Presidential election. Ambrose wanted to tell the story of the heroism of McGovern and thousands of other fliers from World War II. Among other things, this book would provide the public with knowledge of the significant wartime service of McGovern. Many voters in 1972 just saw the stereotyped campaign picture provid ...more
Sean O'brien
For those who like to learn about WWII this is a great book. It describes many interviews from a lot of WWII pilots and crews. This book is more documentary than it is a novel. The way it described their missions is just beautiful because it describes the crew members feelings. If you enjoy reading books about WWII, this is a great one and I recommend reading it.
It has some parts were it is just not entertaining.When it finally gets to the w
Colin Calbreath
I thought Wild Blue was a thrilling book with multiple stories of survival from the experiences of B-24 bomber crews in World War II. It gives us insight into what actually goes on up in the air during a war and how life and death is a very real problem umong the crew members. The stories start out with a little background to the story and the crews traing history and intresting details like that. The author uses excellent tone shifts, from exciting to horrific or relaxed to panic, to creat the ...more
A very informative book about the origin, development and implementation of the strategic bombing campaign undertaken by the US heavy bombers during World War II. This book focuses primarily on the B-24 "Liberator" rather than the B-17 "Flying Fortress." The book centers upon the flying career of George McGovern, a 22 year old pilot of the B-24 bomber in November, 1944 when his crew was assigned to the European theater. He later became a US Senator during the 1960s and Presidential candiate in t ...more
I'm a fan of Ambrose's work Band of Brothers and D-Day though not so much of this book. It didn't seem as well written as his other books. It was very interesting to find out that the waist gunner, Bill "Tex" Ashlock, was a part of McGovern's crew. As I was reading I had noticed Ashlock's name and saw his picture along with the rest of the crew. I recognized the name from somewhere. I showed the book to my dad, a devoted genealogist, who was surprised to find out that this "Tex" is his father's ...more
'Aussie Rick'
This book by Stephen Ambrose offers the reader an opportunity to learn about some of the men who flew the B-24 Liberator during WW2 from Italy. Most books cover the more glamorous B17 Flying Fortress flying missions against occupied Europe from bases in England. I confess that I have a love for the B-17 but always felt that I should try and find something about the B-24 which was still one of the mainstay bombers of the USAAF.

This book fits the bill and provides a decent overall snapshot of the
John Nevola
Wild Blue by Stephen E. Ambrose

A Second Look at George McGovern

I've always been an admirer of Stephen Ambrose and a not a fan of George McGovern, the 1972 Democrat presidential candidate. Wild Blue did diminish my respect for Ambrose a bit but I was surprised to find that it actually mollified my negative opinion of McGovern.

The book was originally intended to be about McGovern but he insisted it be about his unit, the 741st Bomb Squadron of the 455th Bomb Group. One has to respect the humility
Jun 08, 2013 Brent rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all readers
Recommended to Brent by: author, Stephen Ambrose
Shelves: history, war, biography
I had meant to read this book since its publication; it must be said it is the book that brought Ambrose charges of plagiarism for his hasty attribution. Ambrose was almost too prolific towards his untimely death.
The book is still worthwhile, even inspiring. For a more balanced portrayal of bombing missions, read the more recent book, Fire and Fury (find it here on Goodreads). Here's an excerpt from the end of The Wild Blue:
"We asked McGovern to sum up his war experience. With his answer, he spo
Fantastic read! It is fascinating to read about different facets of the war that maybe don't get as much coverage as others, such as the European D-Day invasion, the African Campaign and maybe submarines. But until recently with "Pacific" bringing the story of the many horrific battles for little islands in the Pacific, and stories of air warfare does the entire 'team' effort come into play. This story about Senator Geo. McGovern and his crew flying from Italy into Nazi held territories tells th ...more
The Wild Blue Review
“An awesome story of some of the bravest pilots I have ever read about”
By: Mark Zocco
The Wild Blue is a fantastic example of a classic World War II biography. The pilots and soldiers in these book are without a doubt some of the bravest ones I have ever read about. The author, Stephen Ambrose, told this story of a B-24 crew with extreme precision and detail. Ambrose was also able to make this book a spiritual experience. He manages to do this by really diving into each
Jason Phillips
One of the things I love about Ambrose's books is the personal history he brings to the subject. If you look at the bibliography of "The Wild Blue" you will notice that many of the sources are interviews he has done with many of the characters in the book, along with other primary source materials. What this does is brings a very personal style to the telling of these stories. Other so-called "oral histories" are bland and often read like a transcript. Ambrose brings other research to the storie ...more
I first listened to this book on a cross-country trip years ago. The audio, and the isolation of a solo trip, gave it particular emotional value as a story. When Sen. McGovern died a few weeks ago (Oct 2012), I decided to read the Kindle version. I understand why some reviewers have said 'not as good as his (Ambrose) other books' or 'more about McGovern than XX' — sure. But, it was a good story, did cover more than simply McGovern and his crew — although that was the focus — and covered the much ...more
This is the second Ambrose's book I've read since Band of Brothers. It tells about the experiences of B-24 bomber crews in World War II; 741st Squadron, 455th Bomb Group, 15th Air Force, to be exact. The stories are from the beginning, i.e. the crews’ background, their vigorous training (the high requirements resulted in many “washouts”), the first mission, until when the war’s over.

Thus, it’s quite an extensive piece that offers lots of interesting details. If you love aircrafts (and aerial wa
Stephen E. Ambrose is kind of the Ken Burns of WWII history--he is a popular historian with a dash of the sentimentalist, and an occasionally tedious excessive reverence for the men (mostly men, that is) who are his subjects. All of his characters run together, the texture of his interviewees reduced to a sort of Norman Rockwell, Greatest Generation mush. That being said, these men were heroes, they are fascinating because of their transcendence of their prewar lives into warriors capable of ac ...more
Sep 18, 2007 Nathan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aging English majors who wish they'd studied history, Catch-22 fans.
Shelves: history, biography
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, was the story of a bombardier during WWII. It is the funniest and possibly most profound book I've ever read, though that probably says more about me than it does about the book. The Wild Blue, by Joseph Heller, is the story of B-24 crew members during WWII. Although I like Ambrose's work, I read this book primarily because I wanted to know what poor Yossarian must have gone through in the parts Heller didn't tell me about. It was hard not to read this book with a dif ...more
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Flawed history and memoir 2 16 Feb 11, 2013 12:49PM  
Flawed history and memoir 1 10 Dec 07, 2012 09:37AM  
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Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon. He received his Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

More about Stephen E. Ambrose...
Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest Undaunted Courage: The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America's Wild Frontier D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches Citizen Soldiers: The U S Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany Nothing Like it in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-69

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