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Book Review: Hell Above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater

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Hell Above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater is a non-fiction book telling another amazing story to come out of World War II. This is an easy to read, personal and gratifying military history book that is not for military buffs only.

Werner Goering, a United States B-17 pilot during World War II for the Mighty 8th Air Force, had a hurdle to overcome – his uncle is Reich Marshal Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe and Hitler’s second in command. Unbeknown to him, Goering’s co-pilot, Jack Rencher had a standing order from J. Edgar Hoover to kill Werner in case they got shot down or if he was trying to commit an act of treason.

Jack, a poor boy with a difficult childhood, found Werner to be a soul mate, his only friend in life. The author’s research brings this decades old secret, which is profound and deeply personal, to light.

Hell Above Earth: The Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater is an exciting book which proves the old adage that “truth is stranger than fiction.” This is an epic buddy story which would have seemed absolutely ridiculous, if it wasn’t true.

Werner Goering, nephew to Reich Marshal Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe and Hitler’s second in command, and co-pilot Rencher flew 48 missions bombing German cities. While Captain Goering was recognized as a brave, highly skilled, competent and exceptional pilot he was considered a propaganda risk and Lt. Rencher was secretly ordered to shoot him if downed over Nazi territory.

Mr. Frater takes gruesome air combat stories and packs them with impressive historical detail and unforgettable characters. The terror men faced in the air for hours at a time comes across in this outstanding work.

Using clear writing and ending in an unexpected twist, Hell Above Earth not only captures the drama in the air but also the inner turmoil of men. This is history at its best, a gripping tale of adventure that mixes an array of general history topics without inundating the reader with many mind boggling, eye popping statistics.

  • 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312617925

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