An American fighter pilot doomed to die in Buchenwald but determined to survive.
On August 13, 1944, Joe Moser set off on his forty-fourth combat mission over occupied France. Soon, he would join almost 170 other Allied airmen as prisoners in Buchenwald, one of the most notorious and deadly of Nazi concentration camps. Tom Clavin's Lightning Down tells this largely untold and riveting true story.
Moser was just twenty-two years old, a farm boy from Washington State who fell in love with flying. During the War he realized his dream of piloting a P-38 Lightning, one of the most effective weapons the Army Air Corps had against the powerful German Luftwaffe. But on that hot August morning he had to bail out of his damaged, burning plane. Captured immediately, Moser’s journey into hell began.
Moser and his courageous comrades from England, Canada, New Zealand, and elsewhere endured the most horrific conditions during their imprisonment... until the day the orders were issued by Hitler himself to execute them. Only a most desperate plan would save them.
The page-turning momentum of Lightning Down is like that of a thriller, but the stories of imprisoned and brutalized airmen are true and told in unforgettable detail, led by the distinctly American voice of Joe Moser, who prays every day to be reunited with his family.
Lightning Down is a can’t-put-it-down inspiring saga of brave men confronting great evil and great odds against survival.
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Average rating from 24 members
"Lightning Down" by Tom Clavin is a well-researched, fact-filled historical biography, with plenty of heart and inspiration. The story of Joe Moser and his fellow flyers in the United States Air Corps during World War II is a testimony to inner-strength, determination, and love country. Joe Moser seemed to be just an ordinary guy. But he was an ordinary guy who loved planes and wanted to serve during World War II. He enlisted and was accepted in the the pilot program. After training for several years, 2nd Lt. Moser headed to England to begin his flying career in the Lightning plane he loved. After almost 50 successful runs over France and Germany, his plane was shot down. And so began the second part of his war story. Although French partisans tried to rescue him, he was quickly found by the Germans and taken to a prison in Paris. He and fellow flyers rode the last cattle car-type train out of Paris before the city was liberated by the Allies. Thus began a year of the worst possible treatment and suffering that Nazi Germany could inflict. Joe Moser and 170 flyers were taken to infamous Buchenwald, instead of to a POW camp. The Nazi's considered them "terrorists" and so Germany did not follow the Geneva Convention rules with them. Joe and his comrades, who did their best to maintain military order, suffered through daily hideous and cruel treatment. Could they survive until the end of the war? Filled with many famous figures and based on facts and records, this book is fascinating as well as a great story. The ending of the story, which updates Joe's long life, is even more amazing than the war time heroics. How proud we should be of the young men who rose up as ordinary citizens to forgo their immediate dreams and plans, and perhaps even make the ultimate sacrifice, in order to battle the evil of the Nazi regime. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advance review copy. This is my honest review.