The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot
Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater
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 Germany shortly before his birth.
(And the dude was a Mormon, which I think is also a little bit unexpected.)
So… the U.S.
government was a little bit weirded out about what would happen if:
thus creating a huge p.r. coup for the bad guys, or
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
Holy crap. That’s all
So that whole story is downright unbelievable (except it’s true).
|(photo credit: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs)|
And then add to the mix the B-17 lore the author tosses in for
At the EAA Museum in Oshkosh,
there’s a B-17 you can walk through (actually: crouch through) and I
can tell you, those are some seriously tight quarters. Not only that, but they
were flying at 30,000 feet, and it was hella cold up there. And then they’d get
shot at, and lots of them went down in flames. Not great.
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
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.