Cover Image: Damn Lucky

Damn Lucky

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War is hell. Except air war, which is flying hell. Maurer tells the story of one WW2 B-17 pilot and his experiences in the skies over Europe. 2nd Lt. (at the time) John Luckadoo lost many compatriots to the aerial battles he was involved in, yet he survived.

A non-fiction biography, “Damn Lucky” illustrates both the dangers faced by bomber crews and the make-up of their non-combat lives. It is well told by Maurer from a series of interviews with Maj. (ret.) Luckadoo, who still lives.

I rate this book 4 stars. While there are areas that are romanticized, “Damn Lucky” takes an honest look at what life was like for B-17 crews. My memory of having once met a B-17 pilot was recalled; I now have even more respect for him and his fellow airmen. 

My thanks to St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley.
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This was a book about the life of one bomber pilot during World War Two. It is gritty and describes many details of air combat, as well as the day to day lives of the airmen. I feel like I got to know “Lucky” Luckadoo and was given a small taste of what he experienced.
There were times when I was almost afraid to read what would happen during battle and times when I was upset about decisions made by higher level officers. Not enough romance for me, but since it is non fiction I wasn’t looking for it. 
Thanks St.Martins Press via Netgalley.
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Damn Lucky is a compelling and thrilling story that puts you inside a B-17 bomber while it flies dangerous missions in Europe during WWII.  It's a heart-pumping and heart-wrenching account about how ordinary men signed up to do the extraordinary in order to bring the fight to the Nazis.

This book focuses on the life and career of B-17 "Flying Fortress" pilot Second Lieutenant John "Lucky" Luckadoo and his exploits during WWII.  The reader is along for the ride as Lucky enlists, goes through training, gets shipped off to the United Kingdom and flies mission after mission into the teeth of the enemy.  Attempting to buck the odds and get to 25 missions in order to complete his requirements and get sent home, Lucky faces harrowing flights through German anti-aircraft flak while dodging German fighters in order to drop his payload on the designated target.  It's an astonishing look at what the pilots and crew had to endure and how they drum up the courage to keep putting themselves in harms way when in all likelihood they will be killed or taken prisoner.

Highly recommend this book.  I've read a lot of WWII nonfiction and this one is up there with the best.  A fascinating story about a tremendous individual.
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This biography of Lucky was fascinating, and I hope the published copy includes photographs! I live an hour away from where Second Lieutenant Maurice Beatty grew up in Portsmouth, Ohio; what a small world.
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Thanks to St. Martin Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The story follows  Second Lieutenant John “Lucky” Luckadoo, a naive 21 year old boy from Chattanooga, Tennessee who enlisted in the Army Air Corps wanting to be a pilot and looking at war as a grand adventure. It follows him through flight training and very minimal training in a B-17 heavy four engine bomber. He went from there to an Eighth Air Force’s 100th Bomb Group base in England and straight into the bloodiest airwar in history. Lucky’s view of war as an adventure was quickly wiped away in his first clash with the German Luftwaffe fighters and with the clouds of deadly flak that blanketed their targets. And then there was the stress of being responsible for the lives of nine other crewmen as a pilot/co-pilot. At that time air crews had to complete 25 missions before they could be sent home.

From the publisher: “The statistical chances for a heavy Bomber crew in Europe to be lost on a mission were 1-in-10. At a 25-mission tour of duty, statistically, once a flyer made it to 10 missions they were literally on borrowed time. Anyone who served a full tour and survived was remarkably lucky.”

The author does an excellent job of providing details on life and death in a B-17, from the routine to the nightmare of battle. His descriptions of the battles in the air over France and Germany are vivid. The once naive Lucky describes how he now expected to die with every mission. One raid against Bremen, Germany was one of he darkest days in the history of the Eighth Air Force. In Lucky’s squadron 13 planes entered the mission and only 6 returned, many of those badly shot up. In another only one plane out of ten returned, and it landed as it’s last remaining engine expired.

The courage that it took for these men to fly a mission when they knew their chances of returning were so low is incredible.  Their chances of dying or becoming prisoners of war in a German stalag were greater than the chance of returning to base. And they had to endure that mission after mission. I cannot imagine being in their shoes. To have survived 25 missions, Lucky indeed lived up to his name.

I highly recommend this book both for it’s description of the more mundane facts of military life such training, the duties of the crew of a B-17 and life at an airbase in England, but also for it’s incredibly vivid portrayal of aerial combat in skies of World War II.
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This is an interesting story about an average young guy who went off to war and learned first-hand the meaning of the word courage.  It’s a worthwhile story that tracks how he matures from being nice but rudderless, to becoming a man who just wants to survive long enough to make it home.  I definitely respect him for what he went through.

This book, however, needs some rewriting.  Rewriting for continuity, clarity, and flow as well as more than a few aviation corrections.  I spent many years of my life as a flight instructor and worked as an airline pilot… so some things I saw in the text really jumped out at me.

At the very beginning the nosewheel landing gear is mentioned.  “Gear,” not “gears.”  Also it’s a “pre-flight walk around” not a “pre-flight walk.”  These could’ve been typos.  But at about 9% of the manuscript it is stated that Lucky failed his “controlled stalls.”  What?  There are power-on stalls, power-off stalls, accelerated stalls, and if you are doing aerobatics, Hammerhead stalls.  Reading the text later, it sounds like a power-on stall was performed by “Blackie,” Lucky’s pinch-hitter instructor.  An “uncontrolled” stall will result in a spin and that can be fatal if you don’t do a proper recovery.

The description of stopping a spin is terrible.  You DO NOT need to build up speed to stop a spin!  You pull back the power smoothly while stepping on the correct rudder to stop the spin, (depends on the direction of the spin!) then SMOOTHLY apply back pressure to return to straight and level flight while watching your airspeed and NOT over-stressing the aircraft.  Then you apply power as required.

Likewise, the text stating that he kicked the left rudder to break a spin to the left is incorrect.  In some aircraft it might result in your becoming inverted (bad idea).   

There is a common yet egregious mistake at about 10% of the book that said that that during the stall maneuver “the engine stalled.”  NO NO NO!  The engine is just fine.  What happens is that the laminar airflow separates from the airfoil, (wing) and the airfoil is no longer producing lift.  That HAS to be corrected.   

Of the more minor issues in the beginning of the book, is that at 4% of the book, the heading is “June 1940,” but the narrative starts talking about December 7, 1941.  Confusing.  

Also near the beginning, at about 8% of the book, Lucky is in college and is 19 in 1941, but in the next chapter it is 1942 and it says that he had been dreaming about being a pilot “since his college days.”  Isn’t he still in college?  

Later, Lucky taxis out to the end of the runway before his flight with Blackie and then calls the tower.  A slight rewrite would be good as I’m not sure that the author meant that Lucky’s plane was actually ON the end of the runway or waiting to taxi ONTO the runway.  (This is pretty minor.)

I found it interesting that the full name was given of the lead pilot on Lucky’s crew that got gonorrhea from a member of the British WAAF during the stay in Canada.  Sweet!  Somewhere in middle America his grandkids are discovering that grandpa got the clap during the war.  A book with a hidden surprise inside. 

I felt that comparing the ball turret on the B-17 to a single testicle was amateurish.  I don’t think you’re going to attract the 18-34 crowd that likes that sort of description with a book on WWII.

The author made a lot of assertions with which historians would argue.  The Allied bombers didn’t have JUST German Fighter planes to worry about, they had the Wehrmacht (mainly des Heeres (the army)) anti-aircraft artillery to contend with too, as seen later in the narrative.
I thought it a precarious position for the author to state that “…there was no other battlefield in World War II more hostile than the skies over the Third Reich….”  I think the Battle for Stalingrad would top it.  As far as battles involving the U.S., the Battle of the Bulge is a contender for #1.

The chapter on Sully was good and Chapter 10 was interesting.  Also, the “birth of the checklist” story was good.  To add detail to what was in the book, on October 30, 1935 a prototype Boeing Model 299, the future B-17, crashed on takeoff from Wright Field, Ohio.  Military aviator and test pilot Maj. Ployer Peter Hill was killed and others were taken to the hospital.  Boeing test pilot and observer Les Tower died later.

The author states at about 85% of the manuscript that the V in V-1 Rocket is a “so-called vengeance weapon.”  Actually the V stand for Vergeltungswaffen.  This translates as Vergeltungs = Vengeance and Waffen = Weapons.  Literally a Vengeance Weapon.  

Also around 85%, the Dampferzeuger’s description needs to be reworked.  It was more of a steam-powered catapult that launched the V-1 Rocket up a ramp that was a part of the system.  It was not water steam, it was high-pressure steam generated by mixing hydrogen peroxide and sodium permanganate.

Finally, the part at about 85% that talks about when the V-1 was first used against London needs to be changed.  The first use of the V-1 Rocket against London was on June 13, 1944.  Lucky’s raid at this point in the narrative is BEFORE this (February if I recall correctly).  One would think from the wording that the V-1 had already been used to terrorize London.  

With some corrections, the chapters from about Chapter 8 on flow fairly well.  The beginning chapters are a little bit choppy.  The narrative hops backwards and forwards in time, as well as pausing for historical narrative.  The historical aspect can be helpful but the transitions are a bit rough throughout.  Also, many things are stated repeatedly such as how small the ball gun turret on the tail was.  

I really did like the afterward written by Lucky.  It was well-thought-out and well-written.  It should be read by everyone.

A thank you to St. Martin’s Press, Kevin Maurer, and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book pre-publication.  I received nothing for my review and my opinions are my own.
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The events recounted were interesting, but the way the author structured the narrative was confusing: hopping back and forth in time and putting in information about people who really don't play much of a role in the story as an aside. After reading Lucky's afterward, I feel that the book might have been much better if he had written it himself.
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Yes, Second Lieutenant John "Lucky" Luckadoo is "Damn Lucky" to have survived World War II. Luckadoo, raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was at first too young to volunteer to be a pilot in World War II, but by the time Pearl Harbor was bombed he volunteered to be one of the thousands of young men that would train in a multitude of jobs in support of the air war in Europe. His story is amazing. After training, he was sent to England as a pilot/copilot of the B-17s. B-17s were the heavy bombers that flew the skies of Europe seeking and destroying targets that the Allies deemed .essential to the Natzi regime. Including the pilots, the B-17 carried a nine-man crew that consisted of two pilots, one navigator, one bombardier, and three machine gunners, and of course the heavy bombs. The safety of all those men was in the hands of the young pilots. The odds were against them. One in ten of the aircraft was lost. Crews were required to complete twenty-five missions to return home. With that percentage, most didn't make it back. 
Lucky's story is incredible and author Kevin Maurer does an amazing job recounting the journey of young John Luckadoo. His narrative brings to life the raw descriptions of the challenges of young men fighting to remain in the sky as they bravely did their jobs. It is also the sad story of the United States at war, fighting it from the air, losing and injuring young men. It is the description of what flak, rockets, and artillery fire do even to a monster of a plane like the B-17.  It is the struggle of young pilots grabbling with gravity, fuel, and fire as they fly the skies that were dominated by experienced German pilots determined to kill them. It is also the story of survival and victory, the return home, and the memories of a world war that tested a generation's mettle.
This is a story worth telling and worth reading for we all must remember what this type of war does to a nation and its young people who are the pilots and soldiers. Yes, John Luckadoo was "Damn Lucky" but not only are we lucky, be we are honored to read this tale of bravery and honor. Thanks to John Luckadoo for his service and sacrifice and to Kevin Maurer for writing this well-documented story. Also thanks to #DamnLucky#NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this amazing book.
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I received this book as an ARC and this is my review. This story is a detailed behind-the- scenes look at an American pilot who flew bombers in WWII - the story is exciting and filled with exploits and escapes. I totally recommend it to any reader who enjoys personal, gritty adventures filled with battles and challenges.
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This memoir tells the story of Second Lieutenant John "Lucky" Luckadoo in WWII.  Reading what these warriors had to go through is enlightening, scary and awe-inspiring.  Behind the scenes and behind the man views are presented.  It's a riveting and thought-provoking read.  Thank you Kevin Maurer and NetGalley for the chance to experience this book.
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Capt. John ‘Lucky’ Luckadoo’s story is a harrowing tale of courage in the face of the most horrendous circumstances imaginable. The odds against a B-17 bomber crew completing their required 25 missions were so high as to make their job arguably the most dangerous of any American Serviceman serving during World War II. What Capt. Luckadoo and his fellows endured in their efforts to end the war is something we should all learn about and understand. I personally cannot comprehend what kind of courage is required to climb into a bomber every day knowing the chances you and the 9 crewmen with will return are less than 50-50. And yet these men did it, not once but again and again until they completed 25 missions or, more likely, their luck ran out.

It’s difficult to read about this subject without addressing the morality of aerial bombardments and this book does not shy away from it. It discusses the whole topic of aerial bombing campaigns and their proponents, from Italian General Guilio Douhet, who first suggested bombing population centers to reduce popular support for the war (it didn’t work) to American Billy Mitchell, who advocated pinpoint strikes against the enemy’s industrial production facilities. Also covered were the differing strategies advocated by the RAF, which favored low altitude night-time bombings vs. the Americans’ preference for high altitude daytime raids. It didn’t take Lucky long to sour on war in general and what had one been an enthusiastic desire to strike at the enemy soon evolved into a single-minded drive to just survive and make it home. He summed up his thoughts beautifully in the afterword to the book that he penned himself
We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naive and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives. We were all afraid, but it was beyond our power to quit. We volunteered for the service and, once trained and overseas, felt we had no choice but to fulfill the mission assigned.
While proud that he had served his country in time of need, he came to believe that war was a futile and foolish ’commentary on adversaries’ failure to reach a reasonable resolution of their differences’.

In this afterword, he not only shares his beliefs about war but also shares his attitudes about the current political climate in the United States. If, while reading this book, you pictured Lucky as an embittered hawk spouting war stories at the VFW hall, you would be very mistaken. In his summation, this 99 year-old veteran gives me hope that our country can once again become a nation deserving of such fine soldiers as he.
Having survived such folly, I now fear the freedoms bought with the lives and blood of my generation are being squandered by the current generation. I am appalled that we stand today on the precipice of a civil war. We are, actually, the Dis-United States of America. We are witnessing the betrayal of our cherished values from within—as well as without.
Never forget that we are all first and foremost Americans. We should look for common goals and seek compromise, rather than conquering the other side, which serves only to divide us. As private citizens, we can do something to alter our perspective. United, we’ve done amazing things: we defeated fascism, put a man on the moon, and created a cultural and economic empire that is the envy of the world.
Somehow, we’ve forgotten that. America will never be perfect. It will always have problems. But the only solution is to stay together and find common ground. Stay united. We proved that in World War II, and we can prove it again.

The only issue I have with this book is not with Capt. Luckadoo or with his story. I found that the biggest problem with it was in the way the author chose to write it. Books about actual events are generally written from a historian’s perspective or as a memoir. The style that author Maurer chose is more of a mishmashed amalgam of the two that reads like an old veteran telling war stories around the cracker barrel at the general store. While that might have worked if he had ghost-written the book from Lucky’s POV, it fails if you are trying to pass yourself off as a historian. One thing that irked me no end was that after providing Capt. Luckadoo’s correct name on page one of the book, he never referred to him by anything other than Lucky, his nickname. This is a history book, not a remake of Topgun. Capt. Luckadoo should be afforded the respect that his rank and service entitles him to. Several lines in the book, while written to sound folksy, are just plain inaccurate. In chapter 8, he writes ‘There was no reason to not answer an interphone call. If a crew member nodded off, it was a sure sign of oxygen deprivation.’ Without being an authority on the subject, I can immediately think of several reasons why anoxia isn’t the sure sign that the author contends. A few possibilities that were already suggested in the book are that he could be dead, wounded, asleep, frozen, or hungover. The interphone itself could also have been damaged. My point is that a good historian checks his facts and does not say something is certain or ‘sure’ unless it is. Capt. Luckadoo deserves more.

Bottom line: We should all strive to learn the stories of those who risked their lives for the betterment of all of us. We owe it to Capt. Luckadoo and to all of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who served and did not return to understand and appreciate their sacrifice. For this, and for his excellent Afterword, I highly recommend this book.

*Quotations are cited from an advanced reading copy and may not be the same as appears in the final published edition. The review was based on an advanced reading copy obtained at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. While this does take any ‘not worth what I paid for it’ statements out of my review, it otherwise has no impact on the content of my review.

FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements:
*5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
*4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is.
*3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed for this book to be considered great or memorable.
*2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the style, and the ending.
*1 Star – The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire.
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I would say Major Luckadoo was ‘Damn Lucky’, thus the title. As with millions of other young men John Luckadoo volunteers for the war effort. Since he has some college under his belt, he ends up with a commission and flying B-17 bombers. Life flying bombers was no luxury, just watch the  ‘Twelve O’clock High’ movie. Luckadoo is one of the few to survive during the early days of the war effort. Maurer does an excellent job bringing out the challenges of flying bombers during the early part of the war.  I have read many different memoirs or biographies from those on the front lines, this one ranks near the top.  Over all an excellent work. Highly recommended…SLT
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memoir, adaptation, WW2, Europe, air-war, historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, nonfiction*****

Just staying alive doing daylight raids over Europe in these huge bombers made them into heroes.
This is an amazing transformation of a bomber pilot's memoirs into a readable/comprehensible format is filled with demonstrable historical facts from other sources as well. The amount of detail that is served up as if to pilots is astonishingly understandable to this nonpilot. Too many of the pilots and crew were served up as cannon fodder, just like any war ever. Good reading, but one could wish that it was fiction.
I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
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The incredible true story of John "Lucky" Luckadoo, who survived 25 missions as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot in WWII.

When Second Lieutenant John “Lucky” Luckadoo—a wide-eyed 21-year-old assigned to the Eighth Air Force’s 100th Bomb Group—arrived in England, “Axis Sally,” an American broadcaster employed by Nazi Germany to disseminate propaganda during World War II, welcomed his squadron by name.

“This isn’t your war,” she told them. “You don’t have any business being here, but as long as you’re here we’re going to teach you a lesson.” And they did.

Kevin Maurer’s Damn Lucky tells the true story of “Lucky” Luckadoo who flew some of the deadliest missions of World War II during the bloodiest military campaign in aviation history. Lucky served with the 100th Bomber Group during the early days of the bombing of France and Germany from England. His story starts with his quest to join the Royal Air Force with his best friend before the war, through 25 missions in combat over Germany to the one mission—a raid over Bremen—where Luckadoo felt like his luck had run out.

The statistical chances for a heavy Bomber crew in Europe to be lost on a mission were 1-in-10. At a 25-mission tour of duty, statistically, once a flyer made it to 10 missions they were literally on borrowed time. Anyone who served a full tour and survived was remarkably lucky.

Drawn from Lucky’s firsthand accounts, acclaimed war correspondent and bestselling author Kevin Maurer delves into this extraordinary tale, uncovering astonishing accounts of bravery during an epic clash in the skies over Nazi Germany.
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The memoirs of Second Lieutenant John “Lucky” Luckadoo are brought to live in the book, "Damn Lucky" by Kevin Maurer.  Set in the beginning of WW II in the U.S. and our entry into the European war after being attached at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, this traces a young man's hopes, desires, fears as well as hi formidable spirit.

The book outlines his desire to join the Air Corp first in Canada and his parents refusing before the US actually entered the War to his time when we were in the think of the fighting.  His best friend was allowed by his parents to go to Canada and he joined as a fighter pilot.  Lucky wanted to be a pilot more than anything and this memoir traces his journey form almost washing our of flight school to bis being assigned to the multi-engine B-17 Super Fortress.

The job of the B-17 pilots was to conduct daytime raids when the German Luftwaffe was at its strongest in the early 1940s and just waiting for a chance to shoot down these large lumbering beasts who could rain destruction onto the Nazi territory,

The memoirs trace Lucky's hopes and fears...much as any young man might have being shoved into service in a war where he actually volunteered.  

The book is well written and definitely has the feel of an war adventure novel.  When the reader realizes that this is not a cardboard cut-out but a real human who has his hopes, fears, desires, it becomes much more real.  Having to complete 25 bombing missions is needed before rotating back to the US is difficult as losses of life or capture by the Germans is much more likely than success.  Near misses and luck is with Lucky and he survives.

A good read for those interested in World War II and how "boys" were forced to become men overnight and fight for the way of life of us in the United States. It is especially good for those of us who only had fathers, uncles, and brothers who may have fought since we were born after the war.  It gives us some insight into this war that we, at least I, was missing. There are some good history lessons here including why the term 12 o'clock high was a feared position.for fighters.
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The Greatest Generation really seems to have been made out of different stuff. There were parts of this memoir that had me clenching my teeth. I've read a lot of books and accounts of WW2, including ones centered around the air defenses. I have never read a firsthand account of a pilot before. Harrowing is not an adequate word. Whether books or movies, I try to put myself in the place of the storyteller and imagine how I would feel in the same position. I have no idea how to begin to wrap my brain about what they faced every day. The prospect of war and being shot at is bad enough, but when you take all of that and put yourself tens of thousands of feet in the air in an airplane that is not pressurized or insulated or really adequately protected against the threat... I have no idea how anyone could mentally survive 25 missions.. or 30. Forget about being drafted. I could not imagine volunteering for something like that. I'm grateful that they did because I also cannot fathom a world where the Nazis won, but I cannot really envision myself in their shoes.

The Afterword was probably one of the best parts of the book. To read Lucky's own take was incredible and also heartbreaking. After just reading everything he had volunteered to go through to defeat fascism, and then know he is spending his final years with the knowledge that America has forgotten who she is and spiraling toward yet another pointless war is just... indescribable. I agree with his sentiments about the futility of war. I wish there was a way to turn it around.
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Wow. Just, wow! This is one man’s story of what he did during World War II.John “Lucky” Luckadoo survived a tour of 25 B-17 missions with the 100th Bomb Group, nicknamed the Bloody Hundredth because so many were killed, captured, or wounded.
Air combat was untested, with many decisions that were irrational. For example, many 100th copilots were switched to pilots because they were better than the pilots. They were replaced on their crews by flight schools grads who had no training on the B-17. In Lucky’s case, he was resented by the rest of the crew and harassed by his fellow officers when they should have been a cohesive team. The pilot did nothing. This same aircraft commander delayed his crew’s departure to England because he was being treated for gonorrhea after sleeping around.
Curtis LeMay was determined to bomb Berlin, and ordered the 100th to do it alone. Lucky’s squadron commander cowardly ordered Lucky to lead the suicide mission. Fortunately, weather forced a recall.
The men were told they’d be killed, so just accept it and get on with it. What the Greatest Generation accomplished is amazing. Equally harrowing is Lucky’s belief that the freedoms bought by the Greatest Generation are now being squandered away.
Highly recommended. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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Pretty riveting true story of one man's experiences in the Army Air Corps during WWII. This is not an overarching history but more of a glorified, expanded memoir (told in the 3rd person, except for one distracting paragraph). If you enjoy the period and adventure stories, this one is for you! I feel like I've read plenty of naval aviator histories, so Luckadoo's experiences with the "Flying Fortress" were new territory.
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When I first encountered "Damn Lucky" by Kevin Maurer, provided to me in the form of an ARC by St. Martin's Press, I was somewhat taken aback because I have read extensively in this type of literature with very mixed results.  However, I had expressed a willingness to read it, and my interest in the subject matter kept me going long enough to allow for a complete reading.  The book traces the story of a young airman in the Army Air Corps during World War II from his training as a pilot to his eventual assignment to the Eighth Air Force in the European campaign against the Third Reich.  The pilot in question, named John Luckadoo (predictably known as Lucky), dreamed of flying in fighters but eventually found himself as a copilot and then a lead pilot in a B-17 Flying Fortress.  The most fascinating feature of the narrative, apart from the wealth of detail involving flight operations of these formidable aircraft in combat against the Luftwaffe, turned out to be the development of a hardened warrior from an idealistic and untried young man in the cauldron of horrific combat.  Initially, Lucky thought of the war in terms of abstractions and the propaganda that was pervasive at the time, but as his experience mounted, he came to understand both his own nature and the true nature of the task he had trained for.  He grew stoic and more than a little pessimistic about his mission and the underlying ethos of airpower as it was used in WWII.  Nonetheless, like most of the the young men around him, he doggedly persevered in performing what he perceived as his duty even as he grew skeptical of both the weapons and doctrines that animated the Army Air Corps (and would persist to this day to some extent).  Needless to say, his skepticism towards the doctrine of Strategic Bombing comes through loud and clear, and his character, by the end of his tour of duty, had been shaped by his experiences and his innate intelligence.  For me, this was the most interesting part of the narrative.  
In Maurer's capable hands, the tale comes alive, and one leaves it saddened for the very human cost of war to those who do their duty in spite of their misgivings.
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A truly inspirational book about one mans struggle to survive the bombing campaign against Germany in WW2. The first hand accounts of the missions and the crew members struggles was deeply moving and really held my attention. A must read book.

Thank you to #NetGalley and St. Martins Publishing Group for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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