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The Berlin Candy Bomber

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  138 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
The story of Uncle Wiggly Wings and the candy-filled parachutes that brought hope to hundreds of children during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949.
Paperback, 257 pages
Published June 1st 2002 by Horizon Publishers & Distributors
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A WWII Reading List
312th out of 355 books — 176 voters
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World War II -- Personal Stories
22nd out of 22 books — 10 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 06, 2013 Greg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I am a little biased, since the Candy Bomber is my grandfather. Never has his story gotten old. Reading this larger version of what happened at that barbed-wire fence those many years ago was a remarkable experience. I want to be better, do better, and live better because of this book.
Jan 16, 2016 Gerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It has been our experience that when life is going along about the way you plan it, something is going to change. You hope the change is a positive one, neutral, or that despite the difficulty it will provide an opportunity to grow. How we react to it is the important thing." Words from Gail Halvorsen toward the near end of the book. This statement was made during his retirement years in reflection to an event when in 1995 he and his wife were summoned to teach in St. Petersburg Russia for an ...more
Oct 26, 2014 Barb rated it it was amazing
After seeing a segment on Gail Halvorsen on "Meet the Mormons," a movie about members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I was particularly interested in learning more about the Berlin Candy Bomber. I went to and found there were many books about this man. I decided to choose the one written by the man himself. I was not disappointed.

The first part of the book is necessary to set up the subsequent chapters. Although I found them a bit monotonous at first, after the st
Barbara Franklin
Oct 29, 2015 Barbara Franklin rated it it was amazing
I wasn't expecting to be totally captivated by this book. I knew the story of the Airlift & Colonel Halvorsen autographed a postcard for me in 2008. He wrote a marvelous page turner. His story about 2 sticks of gum and how that transformed his life and the lives of others is inspiring, touching, and compelling. The Berlin Airlift was the first great battle in the Cold War and Colonel Halvorsen had a front row seat. His humanity, kindness, and generosity of spirit, along with good old ...more
Mar 19, 2014 Jeanne rated it it was ok
I actually enjoyed the Michael O. Tunnel book better. I think that maybe I had read about so much of this already that it didn't quite have the impact on me that it would have if I didn't know anything about it. I found myself not really invested in the description of the actual flight technicalities or the lists of names throughout the story. I realize that Mr. Halvorsen wants to be thankful and recognize all of those people in his life, but I found myself glossing over those sections because I ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Douglas rated it liked it
I received this book as a gift from my brother and sister in law for Christmas. It was a quick, easy read and tells of some interesting tidbits of history and an interesting life story. Not much of a story line, just a wandering through this veteran’s reminisces. Colonel Halvorsen retired to Spanish Fork, Utah, my hometown
Mar 24, 2014 Jayne rated it it was ok
I feel bad giving this book only 2 stars because it is a good story and I'm glad I read it. however, it was very slow, especially the first half as the author, also The Berlin Candy Bomber, gave way too many details about flying, like his altitude and speed. For a non-pilot, that detracted from the story. I found myself often browsing certain parts to hear about the story.
Jun 12, 2015 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Three and a half stars.
Mar 19, 2015 Cherie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I don't remember exactly when I first heard the story of how American pilots dropped candy to the children of Berlin during the Soviet blockade of West Berlin and the subsequent airlift of food supplies to the starving West Berliners in 1948, but I have known a bit about it for a long time. About a year ago, our local KUED television channel broadcast a show about the "Candy Bomber." What I found out from viewing that broadcast was that the original "candy bomber," in other words, the American ...more
Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
Sometimes you read books to escape from reality and go someplace far, far away. Sometimes you read books to learn something new. Sometimes you read books to be inspired. This book gave me all the previous mentioned things plus more.

I love reading stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. These things come about because people like Gail Halvorsen choose kindness when a situation is placed before them. Gail's kindness led to more kindness. People saw his kindness and wanted to be
Dec 06, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs
Recommended to Mary by: a PBS show
The author is a pilot and loves the nuts and bolts of flying. This bogs down the beginning, but I encourage readers to slog through the endless code signs and technospeak. Just as an example, "We pulled back on the power to 26 inches of mercury and 1550 RPM. This gave us 400 brake horsepower per engine and cut our fuel flow from 334 pounds to 180 pounds per engine." Not what I bought the book to read.

Don't worry, though, he does get to the Candy Bombing. Even before that starts, he covers all m
Nov 20, 2011 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great story! I saw other reviews mention that this book does have some technical details about flying, but as an amateur pilot myself, I understood most of those references and thought they added to the story quite a bit. It's great to see the massive movement this one man created, just by wanting to share 2 sticks of gum with some hungry children. It's also wonderful to read about the indomitable spirit the West Berliners had during the siege of '48-'49. I think the person who approached ...more
Dec 31, 2014 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first remember hearing about the Berlin Candy Bomber (Gail S. Halvorsen) when he made a surprise appearance at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert in 2012. Then earlier this year his story was a part of the movie Meet the Mormons. His story is a touching one of hope and goodwill, so I was excited for the opportunity to read his book.

The book has a focus on Operation Little Vittles, although it also includes quite a few details about Gail's entire life. It was very interesting, althou
Mar 08, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I can't help but give this book 5 stars. I abandoned my tear apart house and de-clutter. I started reading the book thinking a non fiction book could be put down and just used for breaks.

Wow, was I wrong. Even though I knew the ending I couldn't put it down. Even during the technical parts I couldn't stop. I think he needed to tell of the landing problems. A person not knowing anything about flying needed to know the difficulties of Berlin

I sort of remember that time although I was 4 years old a
Jan 15, 2016 Brett rated it really liked it
This is a story that makes you want to go make a difference in the world. I knew the author when he and his wife served a church mission in Russia. While I heard that he was "The Candy Bomber," I remember another senior missionary telling us, "You kids don't realize who he really is." After reading the whole story, I have to say she was right, and fifteen years later, I am happy to say I now have a better idea.
Mar 07, 2015 Colleen rated it really liked it
This was our book club's selection this month. I thought the message was so great and pushed my rating up. My father was drafted into the navy during WWII so we heard many stories of that time. I loved that this book touched on some of the events after the war. The freedoms we have and take for granted were made clear in this story. The book was a little hard to get into but a powerful message.
May 20, 2014 Jackie rated it really liked it
A first hand account of how Operation Little Vittles started and the personal impact it had on Gail Halvorsen. As someone in the aerospace field, I found the specific details in regards to flying the aircraft (airspeed, heading, oil temp) unnecessary with no added value to the story. The book is kind of all over the place as far as organization of thoughts but easy to get over that. A good read.
Apr 30, 2015 Hyrum rated it really liked it
I am continually amazed at what people went through in order to survive the effects of world war and the hard work they provided to rebuild. The Candy Bomber is a book about "two sticks of Gum" and the power of hope. One simple act of kindness provided a lifetime of achievement and and a resounding effect on Gale Halverson.
Mar 10, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
It was so fun to read and learn more about this amazing story. Not only the original story of the candy being dropped in Germany but also Gail Halvorsen's life and how this event influenced him the rest of his life. It was inspirational and shows how little things such as 2 sticks of gum can mean so much. So glad our book club chose this book to read.
Jun 29, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it
A lot of airplane jargon at the beginning of the book. It was hard for me to get through that. But once the story of the airlifts and the candy bombing, it was a great read. Such an incredible story of serving to others.

A favorite quote, "Little decisions continue to be important." Because of two sticks of gum, Gail Halvorsen's life was guided to other opportunities to serve.
Mar 15, 2015 Keely rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this man & his story! I have yet to read his autobiography but I'm familiar with his story via films and television. I'm grateful that his autobiography has been published so that the public can enjoy it. What an inspiration!
Greg Snyder
Jul 11, 2013 Greg Snyder rated it really liked it
I am glad I read it. I really didn't know all that much about the Russian blockade of West Berlin. Gail Halvorsen, the pilot that started the candy bombing, made a lot of kids lives a little easier.
Jan 11, 2015 Marci rated it liked it
This man is quite an inspiration. Fortunately, the book's substance overrides the writing and editing, which are not top-notch but just okay. I was extremely interested to know all the details in his own words.
Jan 10, 2015 Jen rated it really liked it
I loved reading about Uncle Wiggly Wings and the difference that two stick of gum can make. It really is through small things that great things come to pass!
Apr 01, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. I ended up reading it all in a day. I love the story. 2 sticks of gum, no matter how small can change many lives.g
Oct 24, 2012 Greg rated it liked it
This book was great for the 1st half, but it is quite boring for the second half. Enjoy the first half and then don't worry about finishing the book.
May 25, 2012 P rated it it was amazing
I have a signed copy by the author. I have always loved hearing this story and meeting him (again) was a real treat.
Aug 25, 2016 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Loved this book. My mom lived in Berlin during this time. I wish she were still with us so I could ask her about this piece of history. Amazing story told with humor and incredible recall.
Mar 10, 2011 Joyce rated it really liked it
This was a fun book to read. It's from the candy bomber's own memories and it covers a lot of other parts of his life, too.
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