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Shot Down: The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  19,179 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Belgium ... February 8, 1944 ... Shot Down and Alive
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 including the:
...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published August 15th 2014 by Sea Breeze Publishing LLC
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Start your review of Shot Down: The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth
Valerity (Val)
I found this to be a wonderful book about the aviation effort of WWII, it really told a lot about what the pilots went through, the significant losses compared to other groups. But it also told the story of the author's father Howard, the pilot of the Susan Ruth, (named after Steve's sister). How he and his crew were shot down over Belgium that 8th of February, 1944, and what happens to everyone after that.

Then it really gets good! But you'll have to get it and read it for yourself to find out w
...more
Carole P. Roman
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Meticulous and endearing tribute to the crew of the B17 Flying Fortress, the Susan Ruth during World War II. Complied by letters and records left behind, author Steven Snyder, son of the pilot, Howard Synder, recounts the exploits of the crew from their family background, to training to the fiery crash that caused them to parachute and survive in enemy territory. In a clear and crisp voice, Synder describes both his father and the world he lived in. The budding romance with his mother, courtship ...more
Johanna
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
description

Author Steve Snyder pens the exciting true account of the WWII B-17 Susan Ruth and it’s crew, piloted by his own father Howard Snyder.

Utilizing information taken from personal letters, interviews, declassified military records and verbal and written accounts, Steve Snyder has crafted together a fascinating and incredibly vivid account of the life and events of the crew of the Susan Ruth throughout the bombing campaigns in Europe during WWII.

Exhaustively researched and full of vibrant detail,
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Richard Buro
The revised, edited version first . . .

If I could only write one thing of which I am a diehard fan my immediate answer would be aircraft, specifically Boeing’s B-17 Flying Fortress. My love affair with these planes started when I was young with a TV series about a fictitious English hamlet, Archbury, England, with an American bomber group (the 918th) commanded initially by Brigadier General Frank Savage, and later commanded by Colonel Paul Gallagher. The first commander and the entire, initial
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Stephen Maysonave
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Overall, an unusual and eye-opening read. History buffs, particularly individuals interested in WWII pilot training, actual flight bombing / combat narratives, and tribulations of "downed pilots". will find this book fascinating and exceptionally well researched. I rated 4-stars simply because I struggled through some of the dialog, although not repetitious, was very detailed with similar themes. It is amazing what the pilots went through at very young ages, the responsibilities they took on, an ...more
Robin Loves Reading
A PORTION OF THE BLURB FROM GOODREADS: 

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 including the:

• separation for young families as men went off to war;
• training before heading to foreign soil;
• military combat operations;
• underground an
...more
Cold War Conversations Podcast
A powerful read.

Steve Snyder's passion to tell the story of his father certainly shines through.

The small details of the training and the equipment brought it all alive. The descriptive prose is excellent and that takes right to the heart of the action over Germany.

Highly recommended.
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Elinor
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the is book for the following reasons:
1. I learned a lot about the bravery of the Belgian resistance. At times, my jaw dropped when I read about the incredible risks they took to save downed Allied airmen.
2. The personal letters between the crew of the Susan Ruth and their loved ones back home brought the story to life.
3. Finding and interviewing the German pilot who shot down the American B-17 demonstrates the author's enthusiasm for research.
4. This isn't just a personal tribu
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Charles
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military
This thoroughly engaging non-fiction story of the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth, shot down over Belgium on February 8th, 1944 is one of the most worthwhile reads anyone interested in WWII history and the air battles will ever find.
It's extensively researched, well-laced with photographs and a description of the daily life of the airmen of the Eight Air Force Bomber Groups, without sinking into sentimentalism and shock for the sake of shock.
If you want to get an idea of what people lived through u
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Patrick Shrier
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own]

SHOT DOWN: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruthis the story of the author's Father in World War II as a B-17 bomber pilot and his ordeals after being shot down over the Franco-Belgian border in February 1944.

The book itself is 335 pages of text with an extensive sources list and index. The text is d
...more
Ms. Just One More Book  (Kris Miller)
Using first hand accounts from various sources, Shot Down tells the true story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth. Author Steve Snyder relays the remarkable tale of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the whole Susan Ruth crew on that fateful day of February 8, 1944.

As war became imminent, American Howard Snyder voluntarily joined the army and was called to serve. Newly married and wanting to provide more financial support, Howard chose to train as a pilot. As a B-17 pilot, he was soon
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Raven About
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have a real interest in reading true stories, the more interesting and unique the better. So I was drawn to the story of Lieutenant Howard Snyder during his time on the Susan Ruth which was essentially a flying fortress that was shot down in 1944. Through his own personal tale of survival during the Second World War, you learn so much about how the conflict affected not just one man, but also families, soldiers in other armies, and the atrocities that took place that so many found so hard to f ...more
Glenn
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Must Read For WW2 Junkies

Thanks to Steve Snyder for sharing his Dad's story.

I ripped through this very well written book and left it with further admiration for the young men who dealt with fear on a daily basis, what amazing heroes they were.
My Dad was on an LST during the same period but unfortunately he never talked about his experiences, many of these kids never did so I appreciate the research here.
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Grady
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
`It is our duty to remember'

California author Steve Snyder studied and gained his BA in Economics at UCLA, using that training in national sales and sales management. Since retiring he has focused his fascination with World War II history, especially those of his father, pilot Howard Snyder and his crew of the B-17, Susan Ruth, named after his older sister. After nearly five years of research he penned SHOT DOWN, and for an `amateur historian' he has won awards and applause form distinguished au
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Paragraph And A Half
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the true story of US pilot Howard Snyder and his crewmen who were aboard the Susan Ruth, an aircraft named after his eldest daughter and wife’s names. This book started off slow and honestly I found it harder to grasp the military world and all its equipment terms and jargon but I pushed on hoping for the best to come. While in the first half of the book, I learned about Snyder’s life at the U.S. military base in England. His son who is the author of this book describes how the living si ...more
Brian Wilkerson
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Steve Snyder asked me to read his historical book, "SHOT DOWN". It is about the author's father, Howard Snyder, and how he survived being shot down over Germany-occupied France during WWII.
The blurb states that this is about Howard Snyder's experience but it reads more like a biography of him with a focus on the WWII mission and its aftermath. It also includes a lot of information about other subjects, such as Howard's military training and other missions he went on before the one where he was
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Al
This book looks at the experiences of Howard Snyder and his crew before, during and after their brief operational combat career with the 8th Air Force. It was written by Howard's son, and thus benefits from his access to his father's letters and memories.

The book doesn't just focus on Howard's story. Instead, the author has chosen to follow the experiences of the entire crew, the resistance members who helped them, and also provides relevant background info on the progress of the war.

As a result
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Woolfy
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It always takes me time to get into “true” stories because I usually find the writing hard to follow. There’s something about fiction that grabs you, no matter how realistic. This one, though? I was hooked. Snyder does a great job of recreating Howard’s adventures. The writing is phenomenal, and as many other reviews have stated, this book gets raw. Heartache, death, and danger are all incorporated masterfully, and without pulling any punches. It’s hard to have such a raw experience in print, bu ...more
Mildred Little
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nate Sullivan, of War History Online, perfectly sums up Steve Snyder's well-executed story of B-17 pilot, Howard Snyder and his crew:

“A masterful work. Enjoyable for those interested in the Eighth Air Force and/or the B-17 Flying Fortress, but it is also broad enough to appeal to general history readers. Insightful, engrossing, and succeeds on every level. Bravo.”

Shot Down is not just a story, but a perfect memoir to the men that flew and cared for Susan Ruth, Howard Snyder's B-17, and to all th
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Rick Davis
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely fantastic read! Snyder paints a vivid picture of his father's role and experiences during WWII. His writing talent made me feel as if I were with Howard Snyder during training, with him during the transit to Europe, with him as he tried to live a normal life on an air base in England, with him in the cockpit of his B-17, and finally with him as he parachuted from the burning plane, and then through to the end of the war. Great book! ...more
Joy Kidney
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Steve Snyder is the son of B-17 pilot Howard Snyder who was shot down in February of 1944 on the French/Belgium border. Two members of the crew of 10 were killed in the plane, some rescued and in hiding, some captured. The author not only did research to learn what happened to his father, but also the rest of the crew. He contacted a German man who was one of the pilots who shot down the Susan Ruth (which was named for the Lt. Snyder's daughter). Howard Snyder was part of the 369th Bomb Squadron ...more
Arttie Parker
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall, an enjoyable read. At times it strayed from the main story a bit, and at other times it felt like the author was spending too much time on the names and backstories of secondary role players. I also felt talked down to in a few spots, which I found unnecessary since the general audience for this book will likely have more than a passing knowledge of WWII.

Overall, however, there was a good deal of information about the B-17s and the men who flew them. The pictures and diary entries were
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Lisa Reinicke
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a Christmas gift because my dad was a pilot in WW2. I had trouble putting it down at night to go to sleep- Steve's account of pilot training was very interesting. They didn't have much flight time before we sent them overseas. I also found it interesting how many ships were lost that were not related to the mission. Then I got to the part about being shot down - I just stayed up reading all night. Put this on your must-read list. ...more
Bookie Wookie
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s been a while since I read a book about war despite them being a big passion of mine years ago. I’m not even sure what enticed me to read Shot Down, but I’m so glad I did. Maybe because of the author’s father being a focus for the exploits in the book gave a extra edge to the writing, but it has now given me the urge to read further books on the second World War and others. I don’t think you need a background of war reading to appreciate this either, as I also found it very accessible.

Profundito
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 including the:

• 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 wh
...more
Scott Rose
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
Great book that gives insight into the lives of the bomber crews outside of combat. Very enjoyable.
Thelastwordreview
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-2015
The Last Word Review:

As the title suggests, this is the true story of what happened to the B-17 bomber 'Susan Ruth' and its crew. The difference is it is written by the Pilots Son so it is a very personal account.
The crews of the B-17 bombers were some of the bravest, flying daylight missions over enemy territory, hitting important targets to deplete Germany's fighting capacity so many young men were lost flying deadly missions over Germany and occupied Europe.
On February 8, 1944 Howard Snyder
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Cheryl
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
My reader friends know by now that I am a huge fan of WWII stories. Of course one of my favorites in this genre are WWII aviation stories. Since I was little I have been fascinated by aviation. Some day I plan to pick up again my flying lessons and finish getting my pilot's license. Ok. enough about my interests and back to the book.

I thought the author did a very good job of sharing his father's story and that of the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth. The B17 is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft t
...more
Eric Olsen
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book. Steve Snyder has done an excellent job of telling the story of his father and his fathers crew. As one would expect of books of this type it starts out with before the war and goes to after the war. That's where the similarity with other books of this type seemed to end for me. It struck me as if the author wasn't just writing to those that had a good knowledge of the air war during World War II but also to those that don't know anything about the war at 30,000'. His writing st ...more
C.P. Cabaniss
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, reviewed
*I received an audio copy of this book from the narrator through Audiobook Boom. All opinions are my own.*

While I really enjoyed a lot of things about this, I do think that it could have been more powerful. I learned a lot about WWII and the flight crews from the US who were involved. There were many tidbits of information that I had either not thought about or never realized and I appreciated having them brought to my attention so I could think about them more.

I really enjoyed the narrator. He
...more
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Shot Down review 2 5 Sep 15, 2018 06:24AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Adding a new edition/format to existing title 2 14 May 16, 2016 10:29PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Literary Awards 3 30 Nov 25, 2014 12:48PM  

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Steve graduated from UCLA with a B.A. degree in Economics and has lived in Seal Beach, California since 1972. After 36 years in national sales and sales management, he retired from Vision Service Plan (VSP) in 2009.

Soon after retirement, Steve began his quest to learn more about the World War II experiences of his father, pilot Howard Snyder, and his crew of the B-17, Susan Ruth, named after his o
...more

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