'Gritty, funny and rich with authenticity.' - Robert Olen Butler 'Sam Halpert shines his light on a well-worn subject and gives us material glowing with stoic humour and a crusty humanity. A unique and moving book' - Susan Minot Engrossing...evokes the fine line between a close call and a tragedy, not to mention the way guilt is detonated by war's ...
'Gritty, funny and rich with authenticity.' - Robert Olen Butler 'Sam Halpert shines his light on a well-worn subject and gives us material glowing with stoic humour and a crusty humanity. A unique and moving book' - Susan Minot Engrossing...evokes the fine line between a close call and a tragedy, not to mention the way guilt is detonated by war's deadly absurdity' - New York Times.
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Publishers Weekly, 1997-10-13 Echoes of Memphis Belle and Catch-22 haunt Halpert's absorbing debut about WWII Air Force men. Sent to England in the summer of 1944, the 10-man crew of a B-17 flying fortress know they are replacements for the U.S. Eighth Air Force, which has suffered heavy casualties in the air war over Nazi Germany. Fearful and uncertain, these brash young aviators know they must complete 35 missions before they can go home, and the odds are not good. Booze, women and gallows humor help them cope with the terror of flying massive, daylight bombing missions in bad weather, heavy anti-aircraft fire and clouds of swarming enemy fighters. The characters are an unsurprising lot: the innocent, unnamed navigator (the narrator), the competent but socially awkward pilot, the unnervingly scared copilot. Others fill out a crew of frightened 19- and 20-year-olds praying to survive the conflict. Since Halpert was himself a B-17 navigator in Europe during WWII and his unnamed narrator tells the story in the first person, one can easily assume this to be a self-portrait. It is gripping fiction in any case. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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