Clouds Are Always White on Top: Flying the Box the B-17 Flying Fortress Came In.

Author:Trout, Kaye
Position:Book review

Clouds Are Always White on Top--Flying the Box the B-17 Flying Fortress Came In

Nolan Lewis

One-off Publishing

11 Farmers Heath, Wirral, CH66 2GX, Great Britain

ISBN: 0952260336, $28.95, 276 pp.

To let you know what this book is about, I will quote from the back cover:

"This gripping story begins in 1943 when the Nazi war machine had subdued most of Western Europe. A very young Ted Norman pilots an American B-24 bomber of the 448th Bomb Group as part of the Allied effort to win the war in Europe. Casualties are high with 1 in 20 aircraft missing-in-action every mission. As the bombing raids push ever further into enemy territory, Ted is forced to reach the very limit of his own endurance in order to become the Captain his men are depending on.

This is a work of fiction, but the 448th Bomb Group, Very Heavy, was real. The 448th was based for eighteen months in Seething, England, during which time they lost 137 planes to all causes, with a maximum of 48 B-24s assigned at any one time."

Nolan Lewis has created from his own experiences of World War II this fictional novel about a B-24 bomber pilot, Lieutenant Theodore Norman. Ted certainly comes to life for us right from page one as he sits next to Captain Hansen waiting to take off for his first bombing run over Germany. By page 22 Ted has a problem:

"Suddenly all hell breaks loose. The bombardier, who was down under and forward of Ted's feet is gone, along with the whole front of the plane. The temperature is somewhere around thirty degrees below zero and he has about a two-hundred-mile-an-hour wind blowing up between his feet. The ship begins to fall off on the left wing so he looks over at the Captain. For the first time he realizes that the left windscreen is also gone, along with most of the Captain's head.

Next, he gets a panicky feeling. He's going blind! Everything is going dark. He wipes his hand across his face and realizes that it's blood running down into his eyes from a scalp wound, but he doesn't have enough hands to keep it and the ship both under control.

By this time the huge bomber is practically upside down. They are picking up speed real fast. He chops the throttles, hauls back on the wheel, and wracks it to the right, but realizes he's fighting the weight of the Captain's body that is slumped over the left wheel. He calls the navigator and says, 'Jesus Christ, Glen, get...

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