The Mighty Eighth in WWII: A Memoir

J. Kemp McLaughlin, Author University Press of Kentucky $25 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8131-2178-9
In 1942, then Lieutenant McLaughlin went to Europe as a B-17 pilot of the 92nd Bomb Group, or ""Fame's Favored Few""--the first active unit of the Eighth Air Force. He returned as a lieutenant colonel in 1945, having survived 40 combat missions and serving as group operations officer; later, he led the West Virginia Air National Guard from 1947 to 1977, including a stint of active duty in Korea. McLaughlin, now retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve, here links chronological anecdotes of life in and out of combat during his stint with the Eighth, adding explanations of how the air force actually functioned and grew in experience and size to achieve victory, along with very generous dollops of veterans' gossip. Colleagues contribute substantial commentaries on exploits or maneuvers. McLaughlin himself comes across as a jaunty bomber-jock who let little get by him. (For example, McLaughlin explains the origin of combat film collected by William Wyler and used in film classics like Twelve O'Clock High and Memphis Belle). Fans of I-was-there testimonies will find the general an amiable, well-spoken guide to his corner of the war (""To this day I remember walking up the fuselage to the belly hatch under the cockpit, where Tyre Weaver had bailed out and where Lt. Bob Campbell had died""), but the book won't generate interest outside of the genre. Illus. not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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FORMATS
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-8131-9159-1
Open Ebook - 244 pages - 978-1-306-45247-2
Open Ebook - 248 pages - 978-0-8131-4574-7
Open Ebook - 248 pages - 978-0-8131-4573-0
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