Daring Young Men: The Heroism and Triumph of the Berlin Airlift, June 1948–May 1949

Richard Reeves, Author . Simon & Schuster $28 (316p) ISBN 978-1-4165-4119-6

Re-evaluating what has been called the first battle of the cold war, noted presidential biographer and syndicated columnist Reeves (President Kennedy ) takes a closer look at the courageous young American and British pilots who, in order to bring food, fuel, and medicine to a Berlin blockaded by Russia, flew aging cargo planes into Soviet airspace in the fragile post-WWII years. Vying with the West for control of Berlin and Germany , Stalin choked off the defeated German capital with 400,000 Red Army soldiers, and the Washington hawks called for war with Moscow. But Truman, whom Reeves calls a hero for persevering against skeptics, pursued the airlift instead. Using diaries, letters, and government documents, Reeves shows the suffering of the vanquished German people, the calculated coldness of Soviet officials, and the individual pilots who risked their lives to save their former enemies. This probing book reveals the intricate talks that led to the unraveling of Stalin's demands, the partitioning of Germany, and the creation of NATO. Reeves gives us a mesmerizing portrait of America at its best when challenged by Russia's tyranny. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
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