|About the Book|
LCCN: 65019886With more than 400 stunning illustrations, here is the gripping and unforgettable story of the B-17 -- the greatest fighting plane and World War II -- and of the gallant crews who made history in the legendary Flying Fortress.The BoeingMoreLCCN: 65019886With more than 400 stunning illustrations, here is the gripping and unforgettable story of the B-17 -- the greatest fighting plane and World War II -- and of the gallant crews who made history in the legendary Flying Fortress.The Boeing B-17 was more than a plane -- and its story, and that of its crews -- is more than history. It is drama, romance, adventure, tragedy and folklore set against the panorama of the greatest war in history. To the men who flew in the B-17, and particularly to those who feel they owe their lives to this majestic aircraft, it was more than a metal monster with four engines and a hundred-foot wing. The B-17 was almost human -- the Queen of the Bombers, the Big Bird, a Glory Wagon, affectionately named Rosies Riveters, Memphis Belle, Swoose, Suzy-Q, Hells Angels -- names which during the bittersweet years of war became as celebrated as the men who fought in them.In flak-blackened skies over Berlin, or Schweinfurt, or Merseburg, or Regensburg, these men shared untold moments of terror and exhilaration. After enemy fighters had knocked out two or even three engines, or flak had torn great holes in the sides and wing, the crews believed the B-17 -- with its uncanny will to live -- would bring them home, frightened, frozen, wounded and dead. These very young men, most of them neither professional airmen nor soldiers, look back upon those war years with dread today, but they have never forgotten their plane and how much, for some perhaps mystical reason, they loved it.Flying Fortress traces the story of the development of the B-17, how it nearly died in infancy, and how it grew to change the concept of war. The story is told in human terms relating how the Boeing Company gambled on a dream, how inter-service rivalries, political pressures, personality clashes, and the tragic death of test pilot Leslie Tower in the first prototype might have ended the whole project. The enormous contribution of the plane is best summarized by General Carl A. Spaatz who has said, Without the B-17, we might have lost the war.Designed for an untried theory of heavy precision bombardment, the B-17 was called upon to perform as no other aircraft in history. The men who manned this plane were equally unique, for they did a job, which they hated, and yet which was necessary and had never been done before. Their mission: to seek out and destroy targets in daylight deep in enemy territory and, if possible, come home. Edward Jablonskis illustrated biography is the spectacular, colorful, frightening, and sometimes grimly funny epic of the men and the plane: what they did together to end a war.