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Hell's Angels : The True Story of the 303rd Bomb Group in World War II Hardcover – 19 Feb 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: BERKLEY - US (19 Feb. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425274098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425274095
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,038,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for "Fighter Group: The 352nd "Blue-Nosed Bastards" in World War II"

"This may be the finest book yet written about the air war over Europe during World War II."--"Air & Space Smithsonian"

"A magnificent work that seems to pull voices from the grave. Stout's aviation expertise sorts fact from fiction and drives to the bone and heart of the fighter pilot in World War II."--Michael Franzak, author o"f A Nightmare's Prayer "

"[An] epic tale of the World War II aerial campaign over Europe... "Hell's Angels" is a gripping and awe-inspiring book. "--Nathaniel Fick, author of One Bullet Away
"It's all there--the boredom, the devotion, the horror and even the humor in an industrial war fought on a global scale that we'll never see again. Unit histories just do not get any better."--Barrett Tillman, author of "Whirlwind "and "Forgotten Fifteenth."
"Jay Stout is a triple-threat aviation historian--an experienced combat aviator, a meticulous researcher and a compelling story teller. His uncanny eye for authentic detail allows" Hell's Angels" to be the incredible story of the 303rd Bomb Group and the bombing campaign that crippled Nazi Germany. Stout makes a hard-ridden topic seem fresh and new again. Highly recommended."--Walter J. Boyne, Author/Historian
"Jay Stout's reputation as a hard-hitting, authoritative, yet easy-to-read aviation author is upheld with this book. Readers looking for new insights and material will not be disappointed. Highly recommended." -Donald Caldwell, author of "JG 26: Top Guns of the Luftwaffe"
"A well-researched, beautifully written, and deeply evocative paean to the 303rd Heavy Bombardment Group--and all the young American heavy-bomber crewmen who, from 1942 to 1945, went out, facing a high probability of death or imprisonment, to grind the German industrial base to dust." -Eric Hammel, Author of "The Road to Big Week"
"Jay Stout has done a masterful job. The life and death struggles are told using the mission records, personal writings and experiences of one of the Eighth Air Force's most successful bombardment groups. All who wish a complete understanding of the role played by the Eighth Air Force and the strategic bombing of Germany should read this book."--Keith Ferris, Artist and Military Aviation Historian

[An] epic tale of the World War II aerial campaign over Europe "Hell's Angels" is a gripping and awe-inspiring book. Nathaniel Fick, author of "One Bullet Away"
It's all there the boredom, the devotion, the horror and even the humor in an industrial war fought on a global scale that we'll never see again. Unit histories just do not get any better. Barrett Tillman, author of "Whirlwind "and "Forgotten Fifteenth."
Jay Stout is a triple-threat aviation historian an experienced combat aviator, a meticulous researcher and a compelling story teller. His uncanny eye for authentic detail allows" Hell s Angels" to be the incredible story of the 303rd Bomb Group and the bombing campaign that crippled Nazi Germany. Stout makes a hard-ridden topic seem fresh and new again. Highly recommended. Walter J. Boyne, Author/Historian
Jay Stout s reputation as a hard-hitting, authoritative, yet easy-to-read aviation author is upheld with this book. Readers looking for new insights and material will not be disappointed. Highly recommended. Donald Caldwell, author of"JG 26: Top Guns of the Luftwaffe"
A well-researched, beautifully written, and deeply evocative paean to the 303rd Heavy Bombardment Group and all the young American heavy-bomber crewmen who, from 1942 to 1945, went out, facing a high probability of death or imprisonment, to grind the German industrial base to dust. Eric Hammel, Author of "The Road to Big Week"
Jay Stout has done a masterful job. The life and death struggles are told using the mission records, personal writings and experiences of one of the Eighth Air Force's most successful bombardment groups. All who wish a complete understanding of the role played by the Eighth Air Force and the strategic bombing of Germany should read this book. Keith Ferris, Artist and Military Aviation Historian"

About the Author

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Jay A. Stout is a retired fighter pilot who works as a senior aviation analyst for one of the world s preeminent defense corporations. During his twenty-year military career he logged a remarkable 4,700 flight hours, including thirty-seven combat missions during Operation Desert Storm. His writing has been read on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and he has been widely hosted as an aviation and military expert on various television and radio news shows including Fox, NPR, and Al Jazeera. He is the author of "Unsung Eagles: True Stories of America s Citizen Airmen in the Skies of World War II; Fighter Group: The 352nd Blue-Nosed Bastards in World War II; The Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe: The U.S. Army Air Forces Against Germany in World War II; Slaughter at Goliad: The Mexican Massacre of 400 Texas Volunteers; Hammer from Above: Marine Air Combat Over Iraq; To Be a U.S. Naval Aviator; Fortress Ploesti: The Campaign to Destroy Hitler s Oil Supply; The First Hellcat Ace"; and "Hornets Over Kuwait. ""


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of the many US bomb groups that took up home in England from 1942-1945, the 303rd undertook the most missions from their base at Molesworth. Jay Stout's book covers the groups history from formation through to the wars end. It is not just a book recounting the missions, it is about the Group, it's people, the base and everything that goes to make one bomb group. Of course there is mission tales and they are all as vividly described as you would expect with a lot coming straight from the mouths of the veterans who survive. If you have an interest in aviation and WWII, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Once you have read it go to Molesworth and visit the memorial to the crews just by the main gate. A stunning memorial to a (primarily) lost generation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 127 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding history of a B-17 unit, and a great read! 8 Jan. 2015
By Koba - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the story of the 303rd Bombardment Group in World War II. The story begins with the 303rd being activated in Oregon in 1942, and shows how a bunch of green youngsters were transformed into the expert professionals who destroyed Germany from British bases from 1942 to 1945. Stout tells the story primarily from the standpoint of veterans; this may be one of the last works about air warfare in WW2 that incorporates interviews with veterans themselves. He does not just focus on the aircrew and discuss their combat experiences, but also relates the experiences of the maintenance and support personnel who, after all, made it possible for the air war to be fought but don't get much attention in books about air combat.

"Hell's Angels" is not merely a "men in combat" narrative. The author provides a good account of the strategic context -- i.e., what was the USAAF trying to do in its strategic bombing campaign against Germany, and what role did B-17 groups such as the 303rd play. He also provides excellent descriptions and analysis of the clothing, guns, aircraft, antiaircraft, tactics, gunnery, and formations that made the Eighth Air Force such a formidable fighting machine. He supports his analysis with compelling examples from actual combat. Jay Stout's background as a combat-experienced Marine Corps fighter pilot provides extra credibility to this work, as it does to all his many fine works about air warfare.

The book is extremely readable and engaging. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in World War II, air warfare, or the B-17.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't put this book down! 12 Jan. 2015
By Steven Mace - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up listening to my father recount stories of life as a crew member in the 303rd, so when this book was announced I preordered it right away. I have not been dissapointed. The author writes in a style that is part history book and part story book, drawing you into the action, and painting a picture of combat in the air over Europe unlike anything I have read before. I particularly enjoyed how Stout wrote of the prewar years in America, and what life was like for potential young recruits who later would engage in the bloodiest air campaign ever waged. The book reinforced my father’s stories of training at Jefferson Barracks, of life at the base in Molesworth, and the terror of battle in the sky over places such as Schweinfurt and Oberschleben. It is hard to imagine what it must have been like embarking on 8 hour missions over enemy territory, fully knowing that only by the grace of God will you return to fight another day. Lieutenant Colonel Stout depicts this with the stark imagery and authority that only one who has experienced it can portray.

Finally, I would like to thank the author for the gift he has given to my family by sparking memories and provoking new stories from my dad, who not only graces the front cover, but has listened to the audio book. My father is 98 years old, a veteran of the 303rd, and a crew member of the Knockout Dropper, Eight Ball, Rambling Wreck and other aircraft. While listening to the audio book, sometimes through tears and sometimes not, he has told me new stories that if not for Stout’s excellent storytelling prowess, I would never have heard.

So I urge you to buy this book, test fire your .50 caliber and strap on your oxygen mask, because you are heading deep into enemy territory.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! 29 Jan. 2015
By G. Cottrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have just become a Jay A. Stout fan! What a story! I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in any aspect of WW II history. For those of us who didn't serve in WW II and didn't participate in aerial combat, I don't suppose we will ever truly know or understand the experiences of those who did. But as I read this book, I could almost feel the bone-chilling and mind-numbing cold of the drafty bombers while flying in the thin air above 10,000 feet; I could almost hear and feel the monotonous thrum of the engines; and I could almost smell the exhaust fumes coming off of those engines. Jay does an exceptional job of putting the reader in the story and making him/her feel as though they are not just reading the story but rather, experiencing the story. This is not just a story about bombers or even about a bomb group so much as it is a story of the men who served. As others have mentioned, he wrote not just about the flyers but the support personnel as well. All contributed to the victory. But the flyers represented the point of spear. They delivered the bombs that degraded the ability of the Nazis to make war. As the author points out, these flyers were all double volunteers, having volunteered first for the service and then volunteered for aerial combat. I remember years ago hearing my step-father (Paul Sersland) saying that they didn't always report to sick call when they didn't feel well because they always felt sick... probably nerves. And he said they were always scared... and in spite of it all, they flew. It was great to get to know these men although it was also painful to feel their loss as some of the various airmen Jay introduced died... sometimes horrible deaths. My hat's off to the author for documenting these experiences before the last of these men have departed.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll really enjoy this one 8 Jan. 2015
By Thomas Cleaver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you've read "Fighter Group," Jay Stout's masterful account of the top-scoring 352nd Fighter Group of the Eighth Air Force, "The Men Who Killed The Luftwaffe," "Unsung Eagles" or "Fortress Ploesti," you know retired fighter pilot LCOL Jay Stout knows how to tell you the complete story: the leaders, the aircrew, the guys on the ground who made it all possible who everyone else forgets, and does it in an eminently-readable style based on solid research and interviews with those who lived the story. So far as I am concerned, Jay is the Gold Standard for Military Aviation History. "Hell's Angels" is the story of one of the leading B-17 groups of the Eighth, and it solidifies that reputation. I have read just about everything written about the Eighth Air Force over the past 50 years, and "Hell's Angels" ranks right up at the top. Jay's background as a combat pilot gives him a unique perspective other writers can only wish for, allowing him to present the story in a way nobody else could do. Buy. In. Confidence. You'll really enjoy this one.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! NEVER read a book like this one. Reader feels as if they are living the horrific air battles with these brave men. 5 Feb. 2015
By sgsfwt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
WOW. A very emotional book for me. This book had me gripping the cover tightly, saying a prayer for these brave men, reaching for a tissue and telling myself I’ll just read one more chapter before I turn the light off........ and ending up reading several more......I’d say it’s not just good, it’s excellent. This is not just about the missions they flew; Jay Stout has taken the accounts told by the very men who witnessed the horrific air battles, and has placed the reader inside these huge, cold, B-17s as these men valiantly fought. From the ground crew, the navigators, bombardier, gunners.......the men whose duty was to gently wake up the men who had missions to fly of mornings and knowing many would never return..........the electrically heated suits worn and the meaning of an oxygen mask.....The freezing cold; sweat freezing on skin... I could go on and on but you just have to read this book. So proud of my Daddy and ALL OF HIS BROTHERS. If you enjoy history, this is a true story about the brave men of Hell’s Angels at Molesworth, England. While I enjoy history, often it is a dry account of this and that...never read a book quite like this one. Thank you Jay Stout for bringing this history story to print and sharing for all to read. God Bless you Jay and God Bless America
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