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Download The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944–45 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944–45, by Stephen E. Ambrose Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,697 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen E. Ambrose Narrator: Jeffrey DeMunn Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2001 ISBN: 9780743550710
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The very young men who flew the B24s over Germany in World War II against terrible odds were an exemplary band of brothers. In The Wild Blue, Stephen Ambrose recounts their extraordinary brand of heroism, skill, daring, and comradeship.

Stephen Ambrose describes how the Army Air Forces recruited, trained, and chose those few who would undertake the most demanding and dangerous jobs in the war. These are the boys—turned pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and gunners of the B24s—who suffered over 50 percent casualties.

Ambrose carries us along in the crowded, uncomfortable, and dangerous B24s as their crews fought to the death through thick, black, deadly flak to reach their targets and destroy the German war machine or else went down in flames. 22-year-old George McGovern, who was to become a United States senator and a presidential candidate, flew 35 combat missions (all the Army would allow) and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. We meet him and his mates, his co-pilot killed in action, and crews of other planes—many of whom did not come back.

As Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers portrayed the bravery and ultimate victory of the American soldier from Normandy on to Germany, The Wild Blue makes clear the contribution these young men of the Army Air Forces stationed in Italy made to the Allied victory.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brilliant…It is a terrific story.” 

    Larry King, USA Today 

  • “Ambrose is a superb historian.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Mr. Ambrose’s storytelling ability is unparalleled.” 

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A brilliant new book.”

    USA Today

  • “[The Wild Blue] demands our attention…page-turning reading.” 

    Denver Post

  • The Wild Blue is right on target…[the book] finally gives those men of the 15th Air Force the tribute they so richly earned.” 

    Dallas Morning News

  • “[A] fast-paced narrative.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Brought to life by bestselling historian Ambrose, here is one of America's forgotten workhorse weapons of WWII, the B-24 bomber…Ambrose follows pilots and crews from start to finish where they were from, their backgrounds, training, bravery and heroism as they did their part to help win the war.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Based on an impressive array of primary and secondary sources, the book is another affirmation of the Greatest Generation, to be sure, and a tribute to a fast-diminishing band of American heroes who offered and in many cases gave their lives to save their posterity from real and gruesome dangers.”

    Booklist

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • One of the 2001 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jimmie Kepler | 2/19/2014

    " The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany by Stephen E. Ambrose is controversial because some scholars point out Ambrose has lifted the work of other authors without placing said work inside "quotation" marks. That is a tragic error. Is it an error of omission or commission? I do not know. I do know it is ethically wrong. The book tells the story of former US Presidential candidate and US Senator George McGovern. It tells of McGovern's upbringing, his journey to college, the outbreak of World War II, his falling in love and marriage, his joining the US Army Air Corps, his training as a pilot, and his combat deployment and action where he was based out of Italy bombing the Axis war machine. It is written in Ambrose's wonderful narrative style. It is highly readable and entertaining. Read in January 2005. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Art | 2/12/2014

    " very good, but far from Ambrose's best. He seemed to be phoning it in. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lisa | 2/5/2014

    " I had to quit on disc 3 of 8. I just wasn't interested in the story; it wasn't moving very fast at all. I was expecting to hear more about combat life, but on disc 3, the pilots were still in flight school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Notalice | 1/27/2014

    " My dad was an nose gunner in a B-24 in WW2. This gave me a good idea of what he experienced as a flyer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig | 1/25/2014

    " A very informative book about the origin, development and implementation of the strategic bombing campaign undertaken by the US heavy bombers during World War II. This book focuses primarily on the B-24 "Liberator" rather than the B-17 "Flying Fortress." The book centers upon the flying career of George McGovern, a 22 year old pilot of the B-24 bomber in November, 1944 when his crew was assigned to the European theater. He later became a US Senator during the 1960s and Presidential candiate in the 1972 election. Stationed at an air force base in Italy, McGovern piloted his aircraft and crew over the Alps and into Axis Europe on bombing runs from November, 1944 through April, 1945. He finished with 35 missions (the required number before concluding a tour and returning home) which he accomplised just prior to Germany's surrender in May, 1945. He was considered to be an excellent pilot by his crew and other airmen. In the book, Ambrose details the capabilities and limitations of the B-24, the type of missions it flew, its biggest enemies (bad weather and enemy flack) and many tragedies suffered by the brave men who flew and manned this lethal plane during the second world war. It was a stirring book and a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim Painter | 1/17/2014

    " This is a great book about the boys who flew the B24 Liberators during WWII. Gives a very intimate look into the lives of a few as well as what the men had to go through to become a pilot and the what they went through on the actual missions they flew. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 1/3/2014

    " Very good book. It allowed me to feel like I was there with those bombing crews over Europe, not knowing if that next mission would be my last. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bhall | 1/1/2014

    " the start is painful. i'm not a fan of ambrose's style of jumping from character to character. the story is very interesting, though, about being in the team that flew the b-24s at the very end of the war. don't really recommend unless you're passionate there though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed | 12/22/2013

    " A superb tale of the B24 air crews and their mission in 1944-45 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nate | 12/19/2013

    " A small slice of what just one group of men did during WWII. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jon Box | 12/18/2013

    " Enjoyed this history of B-24s and George McGovern very much--I like him much more as a bomber pilot. Reminded me of my days commanding crews in the KC-135A/Q aircraft around the world--crew dogs experience something no one else ever will . . . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Greg | 11/13/2013

    " Great account of what it was like to be on a bomber crew in WWII. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brooks | 10/30/2013

    " Interesting set of stories on the airmen flying the B-24. Focus is on George McGovern and his crew, but pulls stories from many veterans of the Army Air Corp and Navy fliers. To be honest, there really is no narrative, just a jumble of stories. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jmswtsn | 10/4/2013

    " Interesting subject matter. Poor writing. Not enough detail. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve Crane | 8/30/2013

    " It's a good book, giving an idea of what it was like to fly daylight bombing missions in WW2. I learned that although we usually think B-17 in this context, the B-24 was actually more prolific, newer and could carry a bigger bomb load; never knew that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bob | 8/15/2013

    " good -- enjoyed a couple of his other books better. This one is mostly about George McGovern "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renny | 7/10/2013

    " A docu-journal style book largely about the experiences and phenomenal struggle of particularly those in the AAF in WW II. It was written largely from the experiences and perspective of George McGovern who piloted the B-24 in flights over Germany... a highly readable and informative narrative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evan | 6/8/2013

    " Good stories about what you'd expect from Ambrose. WWII B-24 bomber missions and strategic bombing, from volunteering to the end of the war it follows George McGovern's experiences as well as his crew's. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Don | 4/3/2013

    " Provided some amazing numbers to me about the air war in WWII, but this seemed like Ambrose just stuck together paragraphs and chapters written by his research assistants. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brent Woodson | 12/18/2012

    " Gave me different perspective on war from Army power. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly B | 12/15/2012

    " These guys were nuts! Or they were just young guys who thought they were invincible...ah the illusion of youth! The part where they are deciding where to crash into the English Channel is truly a nail-biting experience. I think I held my breath when I was reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Skyelr | 9/2/2012

    " If I could live during any other time period period, maybe I'd want to be pilot a B-24 Liberator in WWII. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jose | 11/21/2011

    " audio book, abridged, nonetheless good...still ambrose likes to justify bombing...sweeps over all the human loss and suffering, along with the racism... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brett Meyer | 10/10/2011

    " This book calmed my fear of flying. Much like the movie "Memphis Belle" this is a great story of the bombers of World War II. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scot | 2/17/2011

    " Who knew George McGovern was a war hero. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jose | 1/16/2011

    " audio book, abridged, nonetheless good...still ambrose likes to justify bombing...sweeps over all the human loss and suffering, along with the racism... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lacey | 11/8/2010

    " Very dynamic book. Was very humbled when I got to travel by train through Romania and got to see some of the area in which these men gave their lives to liberate. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Devon | 9/28/2010

    " it was okay for being a historical fiction. in my opinion it was really boring but not so bad that i couldn't finish it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dennis | 9/14/2010

    " I enjoyed this book partly because my father served in the Army Air Corp and was station at the same air base in Cerignola Italy where much of this book was based. Gives a good feeling for what it must have been like for those flying in the B-24's under such extreme conditions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evan | 9/7/2010

    " Good stories about what you'd expect from Ambrose. WWII B-24 bomber missions and strategic bombing, from volunteering to the end of the war it follows George McGovern's experiences as well as his crew's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod | 6/10/2010

    " I admire Ambrose for what he did--I don't fault him for writing popular history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 6/4/2010

    " A bit dissapointing of a book not up to the standard I expect from Ambrose. A good if brief overview and insight though. Just seemed a rushed book to me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marshall | 5/25/2010

    " I had to read this book for school and it had cussing and stuff in it. "

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