Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Review

Recently I read a book titled "World War II 50th Anniversary Bombing Fortress Europe"  The book had a very interesting cover photo, featuring a flight of B-24 Liberator bombers, flying at low altitude making a bombing run.

The book is only 48 pages long, and is written for teens, between junior and high school level.  Why was I, a 52 year old adult reading this book?  Besides the cover art, I have always had a fascination with World War Two and especially the air war.

The book starts off well written, yet even at the beginning you are asking questions about some of the facts contained in the book.

When it discusses the beginning of the war, it mentions how Germany took back the Memel region on Germany's northern border.  I have read many books on World War Two and had never heard of this, territory.

One huge error was in the stating that the RAF carried out a 1,000 plane raid, first in 1941 page 14, then near the bottom of the same page it states that the mission was flown  in May of 1940, long before the battle of Britain even took place. In fact the 1,000 plane mission wasn't flown until 1942.

On the same page (14) it states that "The RAF had to beg, borrow, or steal the planes for this mission."   Who did they beg, borrow or steal these planes from?   Since the United States wasn't in the war as yet, and the Royal Air Force, was the only major air force that England had, there was no one else that the RAF could beg, borrow or steal these planes from..

At a later point, the authors state that between 1942/43 the U.S. Army Air Force did not have sufficient numbers of       P-38's or P-51's to give long range escort to the heavy bombers of the 8th and 9th Air Forces.  Problem is the P-38 Lightning had limited range and could not escort the heavy bombers into Germany and until late 1943 the U.S. did not have P-51's in their inventory in England as yet, the plane in England was still being used by the RAF until mid to late 1943.

Mistakes like these make you wounder if the authors Wallace B Black and Jean S Blashfeld ever did any full research.

They do a page on the Ploesti air raid in August 1943, a raid made by B-24 Liberators flying from Lybia, and part of the 15th Air Force, not 8th, they give incorrect information on how the mission was executed and why it failed.  

Overall the book is mixed, there are photos that have rarely been seen, but much of the information is just not researched enough.  Overall, the book is disappointing and lackluster and should not be used as a reference except for its' photos.

Out 5 stars this gets half of one.


  1. Looks like the authors and the editor could have used some fact checking.

  2. Bob, true enough. What is sad, is that many young people who read this, will not be aware of the mistakes and will take this as fact.