Crop Duster, a Novel of World War Two
Author: John D. Beatty
Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc. (2014)
Binding: Paperback, 324 pages
Fast-moving “Crop Duster, a Novel of WW II” follows two flyers in the European theatre. One, B-17 pilot Miller, the son of a Midwest crop duster, is stationed in the UK in 1942-43. The other protagonist, Thielmann, is a German fighter pilot flying JU-88s whose mission is to stop the giant American Fortresses from destroying German cities and factories.
Beatty paints an evocative picture of the relationship between a pilot and his plane as he describes Miller: “… running a hand along the leading edges of the tail, Miller reassured himself of the plane’s airworthiness before each launch. … he regarded the checks as … a communion between him and his machine. It was a sort of a prayer, a silent communication between the metal and fabric of the plane and the muscle and bone of the man that flew it.”
German patriot and fighter pilot Thielmann is troubled by Nazi atrocities he has observed, yet loves his country and flying. When a wounded U.S. pilot lands a crippled plane in a field near his base, Thielmann insists the pilot be given medical attention and food. He hopes the Americans will do the same for his brother whose weather observation plane is MIA.
Author Beatty immerses the reader in the war experience – from hygiene, pre-flight meals, briefings, loading the planes, communication and casualties – the reader is there for every excruciatingly vivid minute of a mission.
WWII Army Air Corps veterans and military history aficionados will be captivated by the detailed descriptions of what it was like to fly in the early days of “precision bombing.” Readers unfamiliar with WWII airplanes will gain a more informed appreciation of the brave souls who took their battleships into the skies.
Reviewed by:Candace George Thompson;(2014)
After the carnage of WWI, the world turned away from that horror: the next war would be fought in the air. That decision changed the fates of the next generation. This is a story of their love, courage, passion, survival and mercy in the Bomber War over Europe in 1942 and 1943.