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An Ace of the Eighth: An American Fighter Pilot's Air War in Europe

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An American Fighter Pilot's Air War in Europe FOR A FIGHTER PILOT IN THE MIGHTY EIGHTH, DEATH WAS ALWAYS A HEARTBEAT AWAY.When the skies of Europe blazed with the fiercest air battles in history,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

I have not received this book. I will need to request a refund.👎☹️

I have not received this book. I will need to request a refund.👎☹️

One of the Best

This is one of the finest memoirs of combat I have ever read, from any era. It is well written, insightful, and a great addition to any library. Fortier's descriptions of combat in the air and boredom on the ground ring true, and provide a first-hand view of the air war over Europe from 1943 through 1945.

Unexpectedly excellent - highly recommended for a 1st person account

Ditto the comments and observations by Mezza. I picked this up at a book store to kill time on the plane while I was travelling. It far exceeded my expectations. Even the content attributed to other sources provides a reader with a real 1st person feel for the whole WWII European theater figher pilot experience. An excellent mix of in the air/ on the ground exploits. The author's stories and comments directly echo what I have heard from other WWII aviators and paint a much more complete picture of their lives overseas (ground and air) than what you might have concluded on the basis of Hollywood movies and historical accounts of air battles alone.

The fascinating adventures of a WW2 aviator

"An Ace of the Eighth: An American Fighter Pilot's Air War in Europe," by Norman "Bud" Fortier, is a memoir by an aviator who served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. Specifically, he served as part of the 355th Fighter Group of the Eighth Air Force. This is a well-written narrative. Fortier creates a vivid and engaging portrait of the men and aircraft that helped to defeat the Nazi empire in Europe. The author strikes a particularly effective balance between fascinating technical details of military aviation and human details that bring his cast of characters alive. The story is frequently punctuated by accounts of crash landings, deaths, and injuries; Fortier also often writes of aviators who became prisoners of war. Such details underscore the extreme danger of the combat aviators' lives. However, Fortier also details the happy milestones and events shared by the aviation community. Fortier enriches his own narrative by incorporating quotes from other veterans' accounts of the air war; especially interesting is an extensive passage from a German airman's encounter report. Fortier cites some of the secondary sources in his acknowledgements section. The book is full of colorful, and sometimes humorous, details about life in the WW2 Army Air Corps: a "VD" inspection; a personality clash between a tobacco-chewing Texan and a proper English pilot; crossing the Atlantic on the "Queen Elizabeth" ocean liner; a near-disastrous attempt to light a pot-bellied coke stove with napalm; etc. The technical details about aircraft, tactics, and weapon systems are very interesting, as are the accounts of aerial combat. Also worthy of note is Fortier's dramatic portrait of wartime London. The book is further enhanced by a helpful glossary of military aviation terms and by a section of black-and-white photographs of Fortier, his colleagues, their aircraft, and the air base that served as their wartime home. This is a robust, informative narrative told in a likeable voice. Fortier has written a fine addition to the great canon of WW2 literature.

The Truth about Flying Combat as a WWII Fighter Pilot

The best single book about being a World War II combat Fighter Pilot. Maj. Fortier flew over 100 missions against Nazi Germany, first in P-47 Thunderbolts, then in the legendary P-51 Mustang, the long-range escort Fighter that enabled American Bombers to attack targets anywhere in Germany, with P-51's protecting them against enemy Fighters all the way to the target and back.(When Goering first saw the P-51's over Berlin he "realized the war was over". Fortier was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star for Gallantry and the Distinguished Flying Cross.Riveting first-hand accounts of aerial battles make you feel you are flying with the author. Fortier pulls no punches, tells what it's really like to kill or be killed, to grow in skill and confidence with combat experience. One of the few books that demonstrates how seemingly ordinary (but very carefully selected) American 19 yr. olds and young '20's risked their lives on every mission, performed heroic deeds as a matter of course, yet had few psychological or physical problems throughout their combat tours despite the randomness of survival.Fortier's vivid descriptions of flying the P-51 are unlike what you see in the movies because they are r-e-a-l, not Hollywood-pretend. This book makes all books about combat flying not written by actual Fighter Pilots pallid by comparison. I recommend it as required reading for anyone wanting trhe truth well told.

A New Classic?

I've just finished reading "An Ace of the Eighth," and I have to say it ranks up there with books like "Thunderbolt," and "1,000 Destroyed." I've read just about every book on the Eighth Air Force that I could find, and I was starting to think we would never see another first-person account of what it was like to serve in the Mighty Eighth. Mr. Fortier does an excellent job of bringing those days (some 60 years ago) back to life. He spends very little time with his early life, instead plunging right into flight training. He describes what it was like in that different era: the comaraderie, learning to fly (then) state-of-the-art high-performance fighters, going head-to-head with the best the Luftwaffe had to offer, and how it felt to lose a friend in combat. It is also refreshing that he describes his heroic, Top Gun-type expoits with such modesty and humility. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in WWII aviation. I've always looked to the heavens for my heroes, and Norman J. "Bud" Fortier is a welcome addition to the likes of Bob Johnson, Chuck Yeager, "Bud" Anderson, "Hub" Zemke and the rest.
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