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Serenade to the Big Bird (Schiffer Military History) Hardcover – 9 Sep 2004


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Schiffer Publishing Ltd (US) (9 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764313967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764313967
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie on 16 Jan 2004
Format: Hardcover
Such a great story. My husband was so inspired that when he was in Denver recently from the UK, he went to Bert Stiles old school and was shown around. He's now bought a 2nd copy from Amazon to send to the school as they didn't have a copy in their library. What an amazing man Bert Stiles was.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A well written journal of bert stiles air war. The size of the book an A5 paperback disappointed me but did not distract from what was written.
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Format: Unknown Binding
My husband was more than pleased with this gift, and couldn't believe that I had managed to find it for him so quickly! THe condition of the book was perfect, considering it was so old. Many thanks!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 48 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Serenade To The Big Bird by Bert Stiles: a must read 6 Jan 2002
By John W Jacobs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In 1969 I had the pleasure to visit with Richard White a co-pilot in a B-17 during World War II. His plane was shot down over Berlin in 1944 and he spent some months in a German Stalag. He told me that if I really would like to know how it was that I should read this book. I have read it. It is awesome! It is written in a style that had me totally engrossed from start to finish.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Truly a most poignant, heartfelt book - true life irony. 16 Oct 1998
By Joseph Buckley IM1hkr@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was born ten years to the day after the first 8th Air Force mission against Berlin (March 4, 1944). I was a fourteen year old boy when I first read Serenade to the Big Bird by Bert Stiles. I was touched deeply by this real life account by a real and genuine man - not a hero or a warrior - but a young man just doing his duty.
This book is ironic in the true sense of the word. Bert Stiles didn't know he was writing his masterpiece. He was just recording his thoughts about life, love, war and death - without the slightest bit of selfconciousness. What he delivers is brilliant; an honest look into the heart, mind and soul of a real citizen soldier, a twenty-three year old in world gone insane.
This small volume is packed with all the emotions of war. There are highs, lows, and the dull boredom of military existence. Through it all, Stiles expresses his humaness and shares his observations. His skillful writing lets the reader experience the pain of loosing buddys in combat as well as the simple pleasure of enjoying fresh strawberries in English countryside - all within a few pages. Hanging over the entire narrative is the readers awareness that Stiles is writing his own epitaph.
This book survived the war. Bert Stiles did not. He's buried in Belgium along with thousands of his comrades, a victim of the carnage he had to experience in order to create such a beautiful literary legacy.
Find this book and read it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Bert Stiles 6 Oct 2008
By James A. Rosati - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
First, the author was in my dad's squadron when he was killed in action. But his thoughts about the war while he was a bomber pilot sounded a lot like some of the times that are being saidnow about the current conflicts around the world.

Bert's narrative of the different missions he flew showed the fear or devil may care attitude of other people who also flew bombers during WWII.

Overall.. after 64 years the insite is remarkable.
25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Not the first 29 Dec 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is not close to the first review of this book. Read the other listings for much more detail.
I gave the book 5 stars, but it isn't at that level as a piece of literature. However, it is well beyond that level as an artifact of history. As I write this in late 2003, the Denver Post has almost daily obituaries for the WWII generation. Soon they will all be gone. In another 30 years the Vietnam vets, in another 50 the Gulf kids. Each will leave some worthwhile fragments of their experience, this is one of the better ones I've found from the WWII group.
As a Denver kid that had problems with Denver Pub Schools, sat on the bench for high school football, went off to war in Vietnam, flew in the Navy, I found Stiles' book to be a godsend, to understand MY life, and my relationship with my father's generation. Read it because it is a ROUGH manuscript, obviously not well edited, and it is honest, and for any number of reasons, it seems that honesty comes at a premium and probably always has.
The current President, who had the opportunity to really be a combat pilot and did everything he could to avoid it, now poses on flight decks. The current Governor of Colorado, who never did a day in the military, passed out pictures of himself in a flight-suit climbing down from a aircraft wing to associate himself with a strong defense. What a miserable collection of mutts compared to their father's generation.
The remarkable thing about these kids wasn't that they were courageous heroes, but because they weren't and they still got the job done. One bloody, gut-wrenching day at a time. Spin that.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A COMBAT PILOT'S INTIMATIONS ON LIFE & DEATH IN WAR 1 Oct 2011
By KOMET - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
11:27 PM EST. Two minutes ago, I finished reading this book. In its 207 pages, it fully and richly conveys the thoughts and feelings of the author, a young American bomber pilot enraptured with the beauty of flying coupled with the sheer terror of combat in the central blue. For it is there that death exacts its toll of friend and foe alike.

The author describes death as "sometimes lovely... and sometimes she's a screaming horrible bitch... and sometimes she's a quiet one, with soft hands that rest gently on top of yours on the throttles." He also conveys his growing love for the English countryside, his hunger for knowledge, to embrace humanity, and to seek and help make a better world after the war.

Stiles speaks candidly and in earnest about his life, his squadron mates, and the pressures of trying to keep sane and complete one's combat tour. A combat tour in Europe was 35 missions. Any crew who completed a tour was given a reprieve from combat and earned the right to return safely to the U.S., job well done.

This is a book I would recommend for any reader who wishes to understand how war forces a person caught up in it to live his/her life to the full amid the wonder and madness of it all.
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