Read Bombs Away by John Steinbeck Online


A magnificent volume of short novels and an essential World War II report from one of America's great twentieth-century writers On the heels of the enormous success of his masterwork The Grapes of Wrath-and at the height of the American war effort-John Steinbeck, one of the most prolific and influential literary figures of his generation, wrote Bombs Away, a nonfiction acA magnificent volume of short novels and an essential World War II report from one of America's great twentieth-century writersOn the heels of the enormous success of his masterwork The Grapes of Wrath-and at the height of the American war effort-John Steinbeck, one of the most prolific and influential literary figures of his generation, wrote Bombs Away, a nonfiction account of his experiences with U.S. Army Air Force bomber crews during World War II. Now, for the first time since its original publication in 1942, Penguin Classics presents this exclusive edition of Steinbeck's introduction to the then-nascent U.S. Army Air Force and its bomber crew-the essential core unit behind American air power that Steinbeck described as "the greatest team in the world."...

Title : Bombs Away
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ISBN : 9780670177592
Format Type : Hardcover
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Bombs Away Reviews

  • Brian
    2019-01-12 04:30

    Hemingway said he would willingly cut three fingers off his throwing hand rather than write a book like this one. I think he was being generous.

  • Charles Moore
    2019-01-14 03:17

    Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team by John Steinbeck. (Penguin Classic, 156 pages, paper, 1942) Never heard of Bombs Away by Steinbeck? (Neither had I. I found this at the Johnson City Public Library book sale.) Probably because you never thought Steinbeck would write such a bias pro-military book. Which this is. Bombs Away is hardly a masterpiece on the order of Canary Row or The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck wrote this for the military to help bolster support for the Air Force in 1942. Steinbeck had two goals in mind: to show the public that our air crews were the best of the best and the country will win the war because of your support! Bombs Away is just about that heavy handed. Hemingway thought it was trash.But there is an interesting story at work here. Steinbeck is fairly honest in telling us about the teamwork and effort that goes into training a crew to deliver the payloads. He’s a bit short with the ground crew and the command structure and barely mentions the co-pilot. But he does praise the average American kid for having talents and skills to do more than just march and shoot. He gives praise, I think where praise is due. Hemingway was all about “the manly man” and his role in war. Steinbeck would probably have been more pacifist with an edge towards socialism. But the tables are turned here. Steinbeck doesn’t support the war. He supports the warrior. The style is too sparse for my liking. It’s written I think more for the style of the Army Air Force public relations campaigns than for a great novel. But, in the time, that may have all that was needed. When you send your boy off to fight and die do you really want flowery language?

  • Borge Arild
    2019-01-12 08:27

    Bombs Away is a little known work of Steinbeck and for good reasons. The positive view of air power and the prowess of the heavy bomber was disputed over Schweinfurt barely a year after the book was written and in modern times the overt propaganda style is not in good taste. However, this book is interesting because of the vision Steinbeck has of the American society in the 40s. Gone are the time of the depression and young American men are given the chance to rise to the occasion (women are barely mentioned). On the surface this book makes life in the air force sound like a kind of scout camp; but beneath is a real sympathy for the fighting men and their individuality and skill. How the survivors of the Schweinfurt raids felt about this book I can only guess (Martin Middelbrook's excellent book "The Schweinfurt–Regensburg Mission" gives a good description of the first raid); but this book must be read as a time capsule from 1942 and not as an enduring piece of art.

  • Paul Haspel
    2018-12-29 06:03

    Be advised, if you read Bombs Away, that you will not find it to be the "typical" John Steinbeck book -- if indeed there is such a thing. It is not an epic novel like The Grapes of Wrath or East of Eden, nor is it a short tale on the order of Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, or The Pearl. Rather, Bombs Away is a nonfiction work chronicling, as its subtitle indicates, the story of a bomber team from World War II. Steinbeck wrote the book in 1942 on behalf of what were then called the U.S. Army Air Forces; its intent was not only to tell the story of the young men who flew planes like the B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators, but to encourage qualified candidates to join the Air Force and share in its high-risk work.As U.S. Air Force Academy professor James Meredith points out in a perceptive foreword to the Penguin Books edition of this book, Bombs Away can be regarded as propaganda, but propaganda with a "politically benign purpose" (xiii). It strikes me that Bombs Away is only propaganda in the same sense that Laurence Olivier's 1944 film of Henry V, funded in part by the British Government and made in consultation with Winston Churchill himself, can be called propaganda. In spite of propagandistic qualities, Olivier's Henry V works as a film, and Steinbeck's Bombs Away works as a book.Steinbeck's style is not always to my liking; he often writes "which" where he should write "that," and every time he does so I imagine his original English teacher at Salinas High School cringing and saying, "Oh, no, not again." But then there are passages of pure poetry, like this one from the chapter "The Pilot":There is nothing like the first flight. It can never be repeated and the feeling of it can never be duplicated. It is a new dimension discovered....The great law has been broken. Probably men have wanted to revolt against the law of gravity since they first noticed that birds and some insects are given a dispensation against it. The great envy that children have of birds, the dreams of flying if one only knew a trick with the hands or could press a magic button under the arm, the complete hunger for flight that is in all of us -- all these are answered in the first take-off. Later the preoccupation will be with methods and techniques and instruments, but the first pure joy in release, there is nothing like it. These things, these thoughts and words, have been trite until it happens to you and then the feeling is ringed with fire. (96)The book starts with the bomber itself, and then devotes chapters to the work of the crew members: the bombardier, the aerial gunner, the navigator, the pilot, the aerial engineer/crew chief, and the radio engineer. Steinbeck tells the story of each crew member through semi-fictional, Everyman-style vignettes that set forth a "typical" young American's journey out of civilian life and into membership on a bomber crew. The last chapter, "The Bomber Team," emphasizes the crew's coalescing as a unified team capable of carrying out the dangerous work of bombing operations against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.Bombs Away is well-illustrated with many photographs that bring to life the era in which the bombers were made and the men were found to fly them. It is not a perfect book, but for Steinbeck fans, or for readers with an interest in World War II aviation history, it is likely to be a rewarding book.

  • Falina
    2019-01-17 08:13

    I didn't really expect to like Bombs Away--it's a propaganda novel, and I'm not American, I'm not in the middle of a war, and I know that the details described are so outdated that they must have very little modern relevance. However, despite all this, the book turned out to be fascinating. I liked the blow-by-blow descriptions of how each member of the team is selected and trained. I like the hint of Steinbeck you see in the novel, even though he is trying to keep his opinions to himself and play things pretty straight. I haven't looked into his life much yet (I have a biography that I'm saving for a rainy day), but I know he was essentially a pacifist and so writing these propaganda novels must have produced a lot of ambivalence in him. I wish he had also written some more balanced depictions of World War II after it was over.

  • Daniel Bratell
    2018-12-26 01:30

    This is Steinbecks attempt at helping the allied during the war and he might have chosen the worst possible way of doing it by writing propaganda to recruit people to the American bomber force. He wrote this book, some 150 pages, of descriptions of the life of every member of a crew of a heavy bomber with real people (or made up real people) as examples.There are a few problems here. First, what the heavy bomber crews did might have been heroic the same way as it is heroic swimming with sharks when you are bleeding, but they performed atrocities. There was no precision bombing of only military targets even when they tried, and some did not even try. Instead it was terror bombing of civilians, killing women and children and making millions of people homeless. The heavy bomber fleet made way more damage and killed way more innocent people than the nukes did and as far as I know the terror bombings didn't shorten the war by a single day.Secondly, that being on a heavy bomber is as safe as Russian roulette is barely mentioned. I think only once and then in a way to downplay the risks. During the war the American Army lost 400k men. A fifth of those were fliers, mostly on bombers, despite the relative rarity of flight crews compared to infantry soldiers or other ground troops. The chance of surviving all mandatory missions in a single tout was statistically about 25%. Thirdly, he tries to present every role as a unique opportunity to make a difference in the war by being carefully selected and trained. In reality they took everyone and gave them a minimum of training (increased towards the end of the war). For instance, the gunners of the planes are described as marksmen shooting down enemy fighters one shot at a time thanks to the American practice of shooting squirrels with .22 guns or air-rifles. Yeah, that is not what it was about. Gunners were more or less useless cannon fodder (and not included in post war planes). Their only purpose was to spew out enough lead that fighters attacked from non-optimal distances and angles, increasing the chances a little bit.Then it is the "real world" people who are so happy and feeling so home in the bomber crews. Carefully selected "real world" people I guess. Or not real people. Or really stupid people. Real people should have been afraid, scared and worried.I don't know how much Steinbeck knew about this during the war but he should have had plenty of time after the far to do something about the book and he did not. By the way, Hemingway said, about this book, that he would rather have cut off three fingers than write this book. Before reading it I dismissed that as theatrics, but now I get it.In summary: No literary value, no science value and no historical value except as an example of war propaganda. An easy 1 star.

  • David Macpherson
    2019-01-08 09:27

    This book was fascinating and engaging,but not for the reason intended. This was written as a recruitment tool in 1942 to get the kids in the bombers instead of back on the farm. The writing is clunky and everything is peachy and perfect, but it was so damned funny. Thisis the perfect thing to read while reading Catch 22. Everything Steinbeck says here is shown to be false in Heller. I loved when Steinbeck wrote that the officers are all intelligent and thoughtful. It is the ideal that the Catch 22 Mocks and shows to be such baloney. Thank god this book was short.

  • Angeliki
    2018-12-21 09:18

    Προπαγάνδα του Β'ΠΠ για εσωτερική αμερικανική κατανάλωση τύπου "στείλτε τα παιδιά σας στον πόλεμο θα είναι τέλεια!". Μέτριο.

  • Antonio De Cunzo
    2019-01-08 07:30

    Uninspired propaganda.

  • Steven Hull
    2018-12-19 03:19

    I found this book by chance at a local bookstore skimming the stacks. In Dubious Battle was my introduction to Steinbeck forty-five years ago. I liked it. Over the years others followed—The Moon is Down, East of Eden, and the timeless Grapes of Wrath. I read Ayn Rand too. Steinbeck was an antidote to Rand. Bombs Away is unique—a historical treasure, freezing for all time a prominent American writer’s perspective on the cutting edge World War II bomber war, and the training for the American warriors fighting it. It is also an undisguised patriotic celebration of the men and machines that were going to win the war. Commissioned by President Roosevelt and General Hap Arnold to write the book, Steinbeck’s ‘mission’ was to explain to the parents of those in bombers the training regimen their precious sons had completed or were completing; and to the population at large about this then-new technology for bringing death, destruction, and defeat to the enemy. The organization of the book is simple. Steinbeck takes the crew positions of the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator, America’s leading heavy bombers in 1942, and devotes a single chapter to the qualifications and training of each. The bookends of these chapters are first, an introduction to the B-17 and B-24, and lastly an explanation of the Air Force’s functional and tactical organization for taking the bomber war to the enemy. We learn that the B-17 is ‘graceful and serene’ in flight while the B-24 is a ‘deadly-looking ship—pugnacious (and) stubby’. Aerial gunners best be small and wiry. They operate in the physical confines of turrets and tail sections and their size and quickness are leveraged in these cramped fighting perches. The best bomber pilot is the team leader who orchestrates the skills of his highly trained crew in a democratic way that siphons off the best the crew has to offer collectively and individually. Crew Chiefs ensure an aircraft is prepared for flight and once airborne has all systems operating in calm and in combat. He can do all or part of every other crewmember’s job, a utility player of the highest order. Final bomber training molds all of these disparate parts together into a team that must learn to act as one for survival and mission accomplishment. Being Americans faced with grave threats to the nation’s survival, they rise to this challenge. Bombs Away is a celebration of the American spirit circa 1942, the darkest days of World War II. It is Steinbeck’s contribution to the war effort. Today it might be called naïve, even mocked, for we have no reference points for understanding the dire threat of global fascist domination that 1942 America faced. Steinbeck captures the mood of the nation—confident and determined to overcome. He praises the country’s most precious resource if victory is to be achieved—its young men. They are athletic, smart, patriotic and determined to win. They are all All-Americans. They operate the world’s most advanced technology in the war’s most unforgiving battlefield. Only the best men America has to offer make it into the Air Force’s bomber training pipeline. This America Steinbeck portrays rivals the America of Frank Capra—an America the common man and his comrades are willing to fight and die for. It is unlikely there will ever be such a book again. Today the threats facing the United States are miniscule in comparison with those of 1942, full mobilization for war is unnecessary, and we have lost our innocence. Steinbeck wrote in the ‘good war’. The enemy was evil. The sound of ‘bombs away’ over the bomber’s intercom meant, in Steinbeck’s own words, ‘…that the mission is completed, that…it is time to go home. Someday the call will ring above a broken enemy and then it will be time to go home for good’. 1942 America—determined, confident, enduring.

  • John
    2019-01-17 09:31

    A few years ago I saw an exhibit and lecture on war photography at the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Included were aerial combat photographs by John Swope. Swope's photographs also illustrated a book called "Bombs Away" by John Steinbeck.A page from the book was on display in a vitrine and I was immediately struck by Steinbeck's simple, direct prose. His words were like rivits holding pieces of metal together: perfectly positioned, aggressively applied, just large enough and just numerous enough to hold it all together. I wondered if I could ever read the entire book.I finally found a copy (appropriately enough in San Diego). "Bombs Away," published during in 1942, is an introduction to the Army Air Force as well as a mildly propagandistic celebration of the American character. Readers are meant to feel comfortable about entering the Army Air Force and feel justified in fighting the war.I think this is the passage that caught my interest:"Bill had planned to ask his father to come down for it (Bill's Air Force graduation), but he hadn't. There was too much work to do. There is a sense of hurry over everything. The nation is at war. There isn't time for ceremony and parade. This isn't a war of flags and marching. It is a war of finding the target in the cross hairs of the bombsight and setting the release, and it isn't war of speeches and frothy hatred. It is a technical job, a surgeon's job. There is only time for hatred among civilians. Hatred does not operate a bombsight." p.66One theme jumped out at me right away:ALWAYS PREPARED, or SERGEANT YORK and LUKE SKYWALKER GO TO WARIn the film "Sergeant York," Gary Cooper plays an Appalachian ruffian who excels at turkey shooting. When fighting the Germans in France, the Germans helpfully line and hide just like the turkies seen earlier in the film. York/Cooper picks them off and becomes a hero.In "Star Wars" a technical briefing precedes the climactic attack on the Deathstar. There is general uneasiness among the pilots that their target--an exhaust duct--is only a meter wide. But Luke is not perturbed. He offers how he used to shoot "womprats" no bigger than that on his home planet.The lesson? The American's native skills are sufficient to succeed in world--or even interplanetary--war. Americans do not have to change themselves into something different in order to win at war. We don't have to become a different people to win. Whatever we need is already within us.Steinbeck develops this theme at length in "Bombs Away." He describes how all the technological skills required to win the war are already American specialties, how hunting game and souping-up hot rods have made American boys ready for industrialized warfare. He compares being a good horseman to being a good pilot.It goes even deeper: "...our boys and young men of the towns and farms have machinery in their souls."Americans are prepared to win right down to our very souls.

  • sdw
    2018-12-24 06:08

    "Ernest Hemingway once said he 'would rather have cut three fingers off his throwing hand' than to have written such a book asBombs Away(Baker 371)" (xi).Written in 1942,Bombs Awayis a promotional piece for the airforce. It idealizes and glamorizes the work of the bombing squadron, in part as a recruitment effort. The insightful introduction by James H. Meredith contrasts Steinbeck's glorification of American teamwork and the collective man (a familiar trope in Steinbeck) to Hemingway's work which "emphasized indiviudalist heroism and the personal lienation and despiar from mechanized modern warfare and the new technological instruments of terror" (xii).If you are a fan of Steinbeck you'll certain recognize the similarities Meredith identifies between the styles and interest in collectivity expressed inThe Grapes of WrathandCannery Rowwith Steinbeck's take on military propaganda. We meet each member of the team individually. Bill, who become a bombardier, "was born and grew up in Idaho. His father was a railroad engineer and their home was a comfortable one. In the town where they lived the family was liked and respected." Al, the aerial gunner, "is a tough little man from a small town in the Middle West. . . .He was gunner material. he was small, he was tough, and he wanted action." "Joe was a big, slow-talking boy from South Carolina. . . [the air force:] discovered that his big, unharried hand and his slow speech were no by no means indications of a slow mind" and he was hurried off for training as a pilot. Just as there is a move inThe Grapes of Wrathfrom "I" to "We," the everymen trained in each role for the Bomber Team are transformed into a new unit when united together. The United States will succeed in World War II, we are told, because such a team draws on the best values in American democracy as "The effectiveness of its mission rests on the initiative and judgment of each one of its members." Americans, Steinbeck tells us, are particularly skilled in such forms of democratic transformation due to their love of team sports like football, basket ball, and baseball. Just as not everyone gets to be the quarterback, not everyone gets to be the pilot. Unless you have a fascination with Steinbeck or an obsession with the military and depictions of the air force, I can't imagine why you would read this book.

  • Christie
    2019-01-14 01:03

    For the purpose this book was written for, it was extremely insightful. My father served in WWII as an aerial tail gunner in a bombardier group and it was extremely fascinating to get a glimpse into what he went through in terms of selection and training. The book was considered propaganda when it came out, before the term had such a negative connotation. The definition of propaganda is information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause. There had been much talk about the mortality rate of a bombardier crew member and the intent of the book was to correct some of the misconception about the death rate, especially in comparison to infantry men. Steinbeck actually spent time going through the entire process of selection and observed the specific training for each of the members of the newly formed Army Air Force Bombardier Group. His hope was that the expose would help family members better understand what their son would be going through, beginning with the psychological and personality assessments that helped determine if the candidate was a good fit for a bombardier group. Steinbeck then observed the training each member would receive once they were selected. The training was intense and he wanted the family members as well as a potential candidate to have an idea of what the program would be like. This is not a novel and was not intended to be a novel. One insightful piece that Steinbeck mentioned was that even as he was writing this, things in the war were changing so rapidly that some of the information would already be outdated by the time it got to print. He still felt it was important to proceed. A very informative book and Steinbeck's writing style takes something that could have been dry reading and adds the human element.

  • Emily
    2018-12-28 01:13

    First I should say that I would read a book which narrated paint drying if it were written by John Steinbeck. The man was a genius, narrative magician, and American master. There are very few things I know with absolute certainty, but Steinbeck's awesomeness is one of them.That being said, OF COURSE this story is a little dry. Published in 1942, the year after the attack on Pearl Harbor and America's entrance into World War II, Bombs Away is propaganda written by the writer of the American people. This man had written about Okies suffering through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, a group of men on the California coast, and would later go on to write the allegorical story of Cain and Abel. Although some may think it dry, the reverence that Steinbeck communicates through this piece of work is genuine. He gives the story of boys from Anytown, USA and how they too could achieve greatness through the Air Force. With the use of airplanes in warfare expanding not only did a volume like this share to the boys it was trying to recruit the prestige of the Air Force, but showed the American public just exactly what the boys they were sending to war were training for. A true Steinbeck and history fan will completely adore this piece for what it is, and respect the reason it was written. (And totally want to punch Hemingway in the face for suggesting writing a story like this would somehow be construed as shameful.)

  • Tony
    2018-12-31 02:20

    Steinbeck, John. BOMBS AWAY: THE STORY OF A BOMBER TEAM. (1942). ***. A few months after America entered WW II, the United States Army Air Force asked Steinbeck to aid the war effort by writing a report to help recruit airmen. Published in 1942, “Bombs Away” the result of this endeavor, is much more than typical army recruiting propaganda. Instead, Steinbeck produced a chronicle documenting the real life of a bomber crew based on a conglomerate of all the men he talked to during his research. The bomber crew was, typically, a six-member team. He concentrated on the selection and function of pilots, navigators and bombadiers, from their courses of training and selection to their final test runs before heading on to actual missions. Steinbeck managed to make the jobs sound exciting without down-playing the ultimate dangers of the team in actual combat. Although issued to most potential airmen and to potential enlistees, the book became a best seller among the civilian population at the time – helping them to understand what was involved in becoming part of a bomber team. This is not great literature, but he manages to do the job he was assigned in such a way that the product had a broad appeal and, hopefully, was of help in the Army’s recruiting efforts.

  • David Patrick
    2019-01-12 08:15

    The common review of this book is that it is plain propaganda for the U.S. department of war and for recruiting. I'd like to comment on its narrative quality. Claiming the need for secrecy, it's stated somewhere in the book that the men he profiles are amalgamations of people he met. I don't know if he actually met the men in the Army Air Corps training or not, but there is something weak about the writing that makes me think he may not have. Or that his heart wasn't in the project. He never really gets into his characters or setting like any of his other nonfiction or fiction. Seriously, I kept wondering when he was ever going to tell a complete story. The profiles are general surveys of roles men play in a bomber, beyond what would simply mask their identities. I was disappointed in the writing quality of the book. It seemed like he kept me at an arm's length from what he knew. Most of the time the writing didn't even have the voice of Steinbeck, which is pretty hard to hide. If the complaint is that his book was propaganda, I'd say there's not much anyone could've worried about. Such poor writing seems hardly likely to convince anyone to sign up at the local recruitment office.

  • Kent Winward
    2019-01-03 01:20

    This was interesting as a World War II propaganda piece by an amazing writer. Seeing how Steinbeck pandered to the ideas of American exceptionalism at the time of war is why you would read this book. The relentless advance of technology is also abundantly clear when comparing the bomber crew with foot pedals, skylights for navigation, and wires as bomb tripping mechanisms to today's drones. The book should probably be read in conjunction with Slaughterhouse-Five and Islands in the Stream (Hemingway's account of antisubmarine activity in the Caribbean during WWII) for a more realistic look at the war's impact. Steinbeck does his humanist best to condemn the bombing of civilians and put a happy face on just bombing munition plants and supply lines, along with one account of a submarine bombing in the Gulf of Mexico, but this is a pro-Allies, pro-America, anti-Axis propaganda piece.

  • Tyson Call
    2019-01-04 08:31

    In order to enjoy this book, one must have a strong interest in the history of aviation and the U.S. Air Force, as well as a love for Steinbeck's writing. There is not much story beyond the general "men enlist and go to war, here is where they are from and what they are like" theme. It is a very detailed account of the training process for all the members of a bomber team, including pilot, crew chief, gunners, bombardier, and navigator. This information is of course dated to the early 1940's, so those looking for a modern account should look elsewhere. In essence this book is a snapshot of a moment in time. A moment which turned out to be quite pivotal in the history of the world. Long range bombers won the war for the United States, and therefore changed the course of history. I would recommend this book to others, though not those with short attention span or no interest in history.

  • Joe Frankie
    2018-12-26 01:31

    What is key and interesting in this book?It is John Steinbeck's, one of America's Nobel Laureates for Literature, view of what made America great from a people perspective. He relates why America was going to prevail in World War II. We should all take note, given our current times, of the kind of leadership and individual responsibility prevailed in the pre-World War II years.John Steinbeck wrote this work in 1942 with America embroiled in World War II. It is a plainspoken description of what a "Bomber Team" or "Bomber Crew" was (and still is) to the American people who were not familiar with requirements and needs for production facilities, aircraft, equipment and personnel. It was designed by the author to be read in sections or from an end to end, in which case there is some redundancy. Either way, a superb expose' about individual competence and working as a team to collectively tackle large, complex tasks.

  • Tom Leonhardt
    2019-01-15 03:26

    This is a wonderful piece of journalism and shows Steinbeck's versatility and understanding of the American psyche in the early 1940s. I am not sure that anyone could write about military training today and certainly not as well. Besides, we are a different country now, one that would likely make Steinbeck uncomfortable.Bombs Away is also propaganda but is it intentionally misleading or simply extended hyperbole intended to help Americans understand what it took to use the Flying Fortresses (B-17s and B-24s) effectively.I found myself caught up in the rhythm and tempo of the book and almost wishing that I would have been of age then and qualified for any of the duties as any member of the team.

  • Al
    2018-12-24 06:22

    A magnificent volume of short novels and an essential World War II report from one of America's great twentieth-century writersOn the heels of the enormous success of his masterwork The Grapes of Wrath-and at the height of the American war effort-John Steinbeck, one of the most prolific and influential literary figures of his generation, wrote Bombs Away, a nonfiction account of his experiences with U.S. Army Air Force bomber crews during World War II. Now, for the first time since its original publication in 1942, Penguin Classics presents this exclusive edition of Steinbeck's introduction to the then-nascent U.S. Army Air Force and its bomber crew-the essential core unit behind American air power that Steinbeck described as "the greatest team in the world."

  • Fabio Pontiggia
    2019-01-09 05:05

    Propaganda SteinbeckIntendiamoci, il libro è propagandistico, ma non nel senso deteriore del termine: vuole illustrare compiti ed addestramento dell'equipaggio ( o meglio, della "squadra" ) di un bombardiere, quando l'America era appena entrata in guerra e l'aviazione era ancora in sviluppo. Insiste molto sulla "naturale" capacità degli americani di fare gioco di squadra, tema presente anche in altre opere dell'Autore.Certo, non rappresenta il vertice della sua produzione, ma risulta comunque una lettura interessante e scorrevole - a patto di tenere bene a mente il periodo e il motivo per cui l'opera è stata scritta.

  • Pote
    2018-12-19 04:14

    Curious Lines:"Because they are healthy young men they will like girls very well indeed. Because their co-ordination and sense of timing and rhythm is acute, they will generally be good dancers and will like to dance." - From the chapter 'The Bomber'I instantly am disgusted at the introduction of our bombardier. His depiction of the wholesome and assumed correctness of his upbringing is vomit inducing. I enjoyed the descriptions of what the men had to go through, but not the descriptions of these fictitious men. His attempt at relating to the target reader and trying to draw him in made for some discouraging reading.

  • Brandon O'Neill
    2018-12-20 09:32

    This is a non-fiction Steinbeck book, but one in which he is not a character. Originally written as a propaganda piece for the Air Force during WW II, it is an interesting glimpse at the positions that make up a bomber crew. While Steinbeck's voice is there, I wonder if an editor really looked over his words. He is very repetitive at times (ex. - The gunner needs to be a smaller guy. He goes on and on about the little guy having a complex and how he can be respected as a gunner. I get it - he is small, a shortstop, etc.)

  • SpaceBear
    2019-01-01 03:19

    I really didn't enjoy this book. It is propaganda, though I think Steinbeck openly acknowledges this. Steinbeck's love for the American 'everyman' and for Smallltown USA seem grossly out of place when talking about WW2, and his constant celebrations of US soldiers as the finest people on the planet get old after the second page. Also, the constant comparisons of military units to sports teams get quite repetitive.

  • Adam Burnett
    2019-01-09 03:26

    John Steinbeck is my favourite author of all time and I have read all his books save two (Log from the Sea of Cortez and The Acts of King Arthur) and I can say with absolute confidence that this is his worst book by far. There is absolutely NOTHING redeeming in it. As others have said, pretty much reads like an extended pamphlet of propaganda. Save yourself some time and go back and read East of Eden again instead.

  • Brian Willis
    2018-12-21 05:20

    An authoritative study of the bombers of World War II, Steinbeck examines the various roles and crew members that go into a bombing mission. It certainly is thorough and it paints a vivid portrait of these important missions. It may be a bit dry for some, but it is generously full of photographs that detail the technical side. An accomplished report.

  • Scott
    2018-12-24 05:21

    This may not be the typical Steinbeck read, but I knew that going in. It was fascinating exploration of the training required for each man of a WWII heavy bomber crew. Although it lacks the characterization and other things I love about Steinbeck, it is tightly written and is never dull.

  • Meegan Rourke-McGill
    2019-01-04 08:04

    It's an interesting piece of propaganda for the American war effort, intended to make parents feel more at ease when sending their sons to war. Not a complicated (or enthralling) narrative - I got two thirds of the way through and just couldn't stay awake for the rest.

  • Jeremy
    2019-01-19 05:32

    Definitely dated and probably seen as less than PC in today's world, Steinbeck's essay is a fantastic homage to teamwork and understanding the strengths and diversity that help make successful teams function at the highest level.