Hell Above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater
OK, this story is nothing short of amazing. And the fact that it’s true is just flipping me out.
Here’s the deal: #2 Nazi Hermann Goring’s nephew was an American B-17 pilot. The young fellow was named Werner Goering, and he was born in the States to parents who’d emigrated from
- Young Werner’s plane went down and he got captured by the Nazis, thus creating a huge p.r. coup for the bad guys, or
- Young Werner decided to join his uncle Hermann’s cause, mid-war, in his highly valuable B-17.
So the government found a guy who’d agree to shoot Werner if either thing were to happen. And this guy—Jack Rencher—became Werner’s best friend.
Holy crap. That’s all I’m saying.
So that whole story is downright unbelievable (except it’s true).
|(photo credit: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs)|
Those were some tough fellas.
So the book doesn’t stay on course, because the author deviates plenty to tell all kinds of great B-17 stories. And for me, that really worked. But if you’re wanting just the narrative of Werner and Jack and the rest of the crew, you just might frustrated by the other tales that accompany their strange story.
But if you’ve got the aviation bug, you’ll just marvel at the ways people can survive (and the valiant way others died to save their buddies).
Of course, in the end, we learn that some of the story was indeed too good to be true.
But still. I’m stunned by this book.
(If this sounds intriguing, you can cruise on over to Macmillan, where there's an excerpt available.)