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Belgium ... February 8, 1944 ... Shot Down and Alive For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the: Belgium ... February 8, 1944 ... Shot Down and Alive For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the:• separation for young families as men went off to war; • training before heading to foreign soil; • military combat operations; • underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it; • German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians; • behind-the-scenes stories of the Belgium civilians who risked all to save American flyers who were in the air one moment, spiraling down in flames the next; • creation and dedication of the monument to the Susan Ruth and its crew located in Macquenoise, Belgium in 1989.Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating.For most, 70 years is a long time ago. World War II fades in importance as each year goes by. Shot Down moves history out of the footnotes into reality, keeping the stories of real people alive as they experience being shot down. You are there, almost holding your breath as Lt. Snyder gets his crew out of his B-17 when bailing out over Nazi occupied Europe.


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Belgium ... February 8, 1944 ... Shot Down and Alive For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the: Belgium ... February 8, 1944 ... Shot Down and Alive For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the:• separation for young families as men went off to war; • training before heading to foreign soil; • military combat operations; • underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it; • German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians; • behind-the-scenes stories of the Belgium civilians who risked all to save American flyers who were in the air one moment, spiraling down in flames the next; • creation and dedication of the monument to the Susan Ruth and its crew located in Macquenoise, Belgium in 1989.Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating.For most, 70 years is a long time ago. World War II fades in importance as each year goes by. Shot Down moves history out of the footnotes into reality, keeping the stories of real people alive as they experience being shot down. You are there, almost holding your breath as Lt. Snyder gets his crew out of his B-17 when bailing out over Nazi occupied Europe.

30 review for Shot Down: The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

  1. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    I found this to be a wonderful book about the aviation effort of WWII, it really told a lot about what the pilots went through, the significant losses compared to other groups. But it also told the story of the author's father Howard, the pilot of the Susan Ruth, (named after Steve's sister). How he and his crew were shot down over Belgium that 8th of February, 1944, and what happens to everyone after that. Then it really gets good! But you'll have to get it and read it for yourself to find out w I found this to be a wonderful book about the aviation effort of WWII, it really told a lot about what the pilots went through, the significant losses compared to other groups. But it also told the story of the author's father Howard, the pilot of the Susan Ruth, (named after Steve's sister). How he and his crew were shot down over Belgium that 8th of February, 1944, and what happens to everyone after that. Then it really gets good! But you'll have to get it and read it for yourself to find out what all they endured, and all the things that happened with them. Its surely worth the read if you like this kind of book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carole P. Roman

    Meticulous and endearing tribute to the crew of the B17 Flying Fortress, the Susan Ruth during World War II. Complied by letters and records left behind, author Steven Snyder, son of the pilot, Howard Synder, recounts the exploits of the crew from their family background, to training to the fiery crash that caused them to parachute and survive in enemy territory. In a clear and crisp voice, Synder describes both his father and the world he lived in. The budding romance with his mother, courtship Meticulous and endearing tribute to the crew of the B17 Flying Fortress, the Susan Ruth during World War II. Complied by letters and records left behind, author Steven Snyder, son of the pilot, Howard Synder, recounts the exploits of the crew from their family background, to training to the fiery crash that caused them to parachute and survive in enemy territory. In a clear and crisp voice, Synder describes both his father and the world he lived in. The budding romance with his mother, courtship and finally marriage is tenderly told through personal letters that paint a vivid picture of their relationship. Training, deployment to England and the grueling and dangerous conditions are described in harrowing details. This is how we should learn about war, through the eyes of those who sacrifice so much to keep others safe. The book tells of their insecurities and fears, the heartache from being away from loved ones, missing births and other milestones in the home front. I loved this band of brothers, their camaraderie and courage, and when I read the parts of the outcome, the unfair vagary of fate, I was saddened by the wastefulness of war. Heartbreaking and poignant, families and wives at home, showed equal bravery and support. This was a memoir, a love letter from son to father, honoring him for his quiet dignity and courage. It is a wonderful snapshot of people preforming admirably under the worst of conditions, where some gave everything they had to give.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Johanna

    Author Steve Snyder pens the exciting true account of the WWII B-17 Susan Ruth and it’s crew, piloted by his own father Howard Snyder. Utilizing information taken from personal letters, interviews, declassified military records and verbal and written accounts, Steve Snyder has crafted together a fascinating and incredibly vivid account of the life and events of the crew of the Susan Ruth throughout the bombing campaigns in Europe during WWII. Exhaustively researched and full of vibrant detail, Author Steve Snyder pens the exciting true account of the WWII B-17 Susan Ruth and it’s crew, piloted by his own father Howard Snyder. Utilizing information taken from personal letters, interviews, declassified military records and verbal and written accounts, Steve Snyder has crafted together a fascinating and incredibly vivid account of the life and events of the crew of the Susan Ruth throughout the bombing campaigns in Europe during WWII. Exhaustively researched and full of vibrant detail, Snyder gives the reader a very real feel for what it was like living in the tumultuous period of history- especially for the pilots and crew members. Shot Down follows the story of Howard Snyder, who recorded much of his harrowing story in a personal journal he kept, chronicling the events leading up to and including being shot down over Belgium, hidden from the Germans by local townspeople, and eventually making his way across the border into France to join the Maquis (French resistance fighters). Along with this journal, the author used extensive research to fill in any blanks and bring this full story to light. Even readers who aren’t particularly drawn to books on history will appreciate the incredible tale of these true American heroes during one of the darkest periods the world has ever known. What I absolutely loved about this book was the author’s remarkable attention to details in describing air combat and what it was like for the pilot and crew to be up in the air during a raid, the challenges they faced, and the hazards they had to overcome. Shot Down is a remarkable book that leaves the reader with a profound sense of awe and gratitude for all those who fought in WWII for the cause of freedom. A must-read, highly recommended! Rating: 5 stars I have received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Check out this review on my blog: EpicBookQuest.com

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richard Buro

    The revised, edited version first . . . If I could only write one thing of which I am a diehard fan my immediate answer would be aircraft, specifically Boeing’s B-17 Flying Fortress. My love affair with these planes started when I was young with a TV series about a fictitious English hamlet, Archbury, England, with an American bomber group (the 918th) commanded initially by Brigadier General Frank Savage, and later commanded by Colonel Paul Gallagher. The first commander and the entire, initial The revised, edited version first . . . If I could only write one thing of which I am a diehard fan my immediate answer would be aircraft, specifically Boeing’s B-17 Flying Fortress. My love affair with these planes started when I was young with a TV series about a fictitious English hamlet, Archbury, England, with an American bomber group (the 918th) commanded initially by Brigadier General Frank Savage, and later commanded by Colonel Paul Gallagher. The first commander and the entire, initial setting was originally written as a novel, Twelve O’clock High!, written by Beirne Lay, Jr. and Sy Bartlet , as well as which first became a 1949 motion picture of the same name starring Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Dean Jagger, and Gary Merrill. The planes flown in all of the iterations of Twelve O’clock High! were always either B-17F or B-17G variants. Of course, little kids could not read the books since they contained bad language and sometimes mature behavior not meant for the eyes of youngsters still in elementary school. We made models of the B-17s and the P-51 fighters, all 1/72 scale to match up with our outfits of the same scale soldiers and Matchbox military vehicles. We played for hours with these items, blissfully unaware that our fathers had both fought in World War II and our grandmother had worked in a plant making the 500-pound General Purpose bombs the very planes dropped on Nazi held Europe. The children we were matured as all things in an ideal world are supposed to be. We got old enough to remember the names and authors of books we wanted to read when we “grew up.” Our ideal world was suddenly, and irrevocably, transformed into a world of death, destruction, attrition, hardship, Final Solutions, and unspeakable horrors that no one should ever have to behold in any way whatsoever. As our youth matured into teenagers and eventually high school graduates, I experienced a 10-minute event on my way to work my first year in college, an event that was to bring back forever the feelings I had for B-17s. On one of the clear days in early fall, I was riding my bike when an unusual, life-changing moment occurred. I heard a low rumble coming from behind me, like something I had never heard before. I slowed down, pulled off the roadway beside an open field where I parked my bike, and I turned to see what was the source of the rumble. The volume increased couple with an almost earth-moving vibration, I saw an apparition. It was almost certainly something that shouldn’t be flying since it was the 1970’s, and World War II was 3 decades, almost twice my age, in the past. But there it was serenely, with stately grace, moving though the sky. It was an actual B-17G flying. My heart raced, my eyes watered with tears of absolute elation, and I stood mesmerized by the sight of this real piece of flying history. Any thought of forgetting my childhood imaginings about these planes was soon hammered into cold steel and fabric truth as I watched the plane in full World War II colors with what looked like guns in all the positions as there should be. I watched as it continued moving to the south away from me, and I resumed my trip. But that was just the beginning… Now we are well over seven decades beyond the war, but still there are a few of the old airplanes lovingly restored to flying status and presented for rides and walk-throughs for a price to help defray the costs of fuel, oil, and all the other components that these machines need to operate safely and efficiently as they did so long ago, in other places and other conditions, far less hospitable that the air shows and fly-ins of today. Even in the interim from my “first sighting” until last week’s air show, I am still enamored with these stately craft of bygone times. In the interim since my first siting, I had gone to college where history was my first teaching field, followed by political science, and I taught for 35 years in the local school district, and with that training as well as a private pilot’ license, I am able to appreciate not only the airplanes themselves appreciate but also well written biography and history. Those loves have led me to a book like I had never found before, a book that told the story of B-17s and their crews, about a war three quarters of a century in the past, and how these planes and men still remember the way it was. This new book did not just tell a story, but it set me on a course of far greater understanding about what it was we were really fighting for in World War II, for example, what was so bad about Adolf Hitler (plenty as we have all learned), why did we use the planes and bombs and execute the destruction of the Axis Powers (exceptionally good ones as again we all have learned), and what better way to learn all these things, even immerse oneself in all of these situations to help the reader know by other’s eyes and experiences, just exactly what was World War II all about. Now we come to the culmination of my musings about my past with B-17s, not all of that past, but without going into more detail, the book is what you want to know about so, here we go. It is Shot Down: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth by Steve Snyder. The things I look for in written history are use of primary sources. These sources are those documents prepared by the actual people who made them, using the actual documents from the time, the characters’ stories as they either wrote them down at the time in letters and diaries, the reports of exploits in which the characters participated, and the supporting information to lend substance, context, and undeniable validity to the characters recounting the events and their participation in them. These are considered to be the primary source documents that a writer must research in order to convey a valid, accurate picture that resonates with the images the reader has in the mind’s eye about what things were then as previously learned by other means. After the written primary sources, next the researcher should consider any available oral primary sources, interviews with the actual participants if they are available and willing to help recount their stories from memory, or their knowledge of the original letters, diaries, and other written primary source documents to gather their insight, thoughts, decisions, and general how were in that past they were so diligently writing into the documents or tales they are telling you the reader as conveyed by the author. The oral history must be obtained remembering that the farther away from the events the more likely to see changes that might not be reflected in written sources made at the time. The second source constellation to be considered is the written documentation made and kept by the other actors in the story – log books, diaries, combat debriefing, court records of deeds alleged and confirmed or denied, and other writers’ historical recounting of the way things were from their perspective, hopefully from several perspectives. The search here is for verification and validation of the primary source documents both aural and visual information obtained from them. These secondary sources will be those that are recorded by persons not immediately involved in the events but the chroniclersos of the principal characters, the other players, doctors, debriefing staff, intelligence officers and their records and recounting of events as recorded within hours after the actual time or as the primary source parties remember those events now, understanding that things might not be as crisp and memorable with the passage of time, or maybe they may see things differently, lending another aspect to the reality of then that is more in line with things you the writer might not have considered, and which you, the reader, look for so you can see the perspectives in 360 degree surround sound and ultra high definition. So how does Shot Down: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth by Steve Snyder measure up? In three words: totally, grippingly, real. This is the stuff that historians and lovers of history long to see in written form. A story about people following their experiences, good and bad, their desires, their longings, their ups and their tragedies, their remembrances of the life they lived, the sacrifices they made, and the decisions that formed their character for all time. Mr. Snyder writes with clarity, passion, compassion, and a reflection of the events he is researching and writing about in such a way as the words on the page play an on-going movie of the mind for the reader. He describes events in such detail you can feel the heat of the desert training sites, the cold, damp, clammy weather that is England in so many ways, the excitement of flying, and the sheer terror of aerial combat against determined adversaries bent on one thing: destroying you before your side destroys them. Mr. Snyder ensures that the story from the characters’ perspectives are verified by the cool reporting of others in their logs and diaries and after-action reports so that you as the reader are clearly, decisively, and unfalteringly convinced of the honesty and truth of what you are reading. This is history as real as it gets, but it has something else that comes through . . . That something is a humanity, a living breathing life of the story itself, of the men, and women, the crew members working as a team and almost as a second family thrust together by the terror, danger, risk, calamity, and reality that was the war in the air. There are many historical retellings of the events from War Diaries gleaned from log books and mission reports, but there is rarely a story that touches the reader as deeply and as discerningly as Mr. Snyder’s book about his father and what it was like to be away from family, safety, warmth, good food, clean conditions and attire to wear, and with the ever present danger of being discovered miles deep in enemy territory with mountain ranges, oceans, and hundreds of miles from anything even closely resembling some modicum of civil thought, caring, support, and peace. The story is at times heartbreaking when a comrade is lost or worse, dies in your arms. It is heartbreaking when you read the first person accounts of living through the ever present fear of being tortured, starved, or slaughtered by heartless automatons of a sadistic, cruel dictator. Real as it gets, dear reader? That is Shot Down: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth. Shot Down is also a story of the humanity of the Belgian people who helped the prisoners with their compassion, sharing their meager fare with total strangers who only differed from the occupation forces by their uniforms, character, and sincere wish to get back to comrades, friends, and friendly territory. The humanity of crews working together to help each other from first aid to fire control and suppression, from helping one another to protecting the plane in which they all flew and which they hoped would bring them back from the terror and danger of aerial combat. You will know as you complete the book the debts that are felt by the crews who were helped, the love and caring of the Belgian and French people for those they helped who joined with them, in Howard’s case, as he fought beside those in the Resistance to try to stop the Germans and to aid and support the prisoners who escaped. As the effects of D-Day occurred and the tide of war turned, the liberators came to each hamlet in turn after the success of the 1944 invasion in Normandy, the final invasion of the European continent with a distance that was smaller to get to the heart of the danger and slay the purveyor of the one of the greatest cases of genocide ever waged on this world. In the final analysis what is there left to say? Of course, my recommendations to others about this book. Shot Down: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth is one of the best books bar none that I have ever read, and I have read a few, not as many as some and more than others. Steve Snyder has researched and presented an amazing story about an intrepid airman and his crew, Howard Snyder and the crew members of the Susan Ruth. His presentation is honest, forthright, and clear. The topics are supported by solid, factual and sobering information from impeccable sources. This one book I can highly recommend to anyone who wants to read a war diary unlike many out there. It stands as one of the top biographies I have ever read, and it is clearly deserving of the 5 stars I have to offer. Finally, Steve Snyder has paid the ultimate compliment to his father by telling this amazing story. It is a celebration of all that Howard accomplished and how he did his part to help bring about the victory that the Allies fought so hard to achieve. It was not without loss, and for several tens of days it looked like Howard was among the missing, but his tenacity, bravery, wit, and courage held true enabling him to carry on in the bravest tradition of the U.S. Army and its World War II Air Forces. Steve Snyder has written a clear recounting of his father’s comrades with whom he fought his part of World War II. It is difficult to take in some places where executions were the norm in the woods of Belgium, and the harsh wasteland that was Germany in the waning days of World War II. Steve Snyder is a wonderful story teller with a great and wonderful story to tell. You can almost hear those four-engine behemoths flying on to victory yet today, still making way for brighter tomorrows for each and every one of us. Thank you, Howard and Steve, for helping us appreciate the sacrifice and service that was rendered by our troops in Europe during World War II. It was an amazing ride. Review of Steve Snyder's Shot Down! The Story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17, Susan Ruth by Richard Buro is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23171636-the-true-story-of-pilot-howard-snyder-and-the-crew-of-the-b-17-susan-rut. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://SteveSnyderAuthor.com.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Maysonave

    Overall, an unusual and eye-opening read. History buffs, particularly individuals interested in WWII pilot training, actual flight bombing / combat narratives, and tribulations of "downed pilots". will find this book fascinating and exceptionally well researched. I rated 4-stars simply because I struggled through some of the dialog, although not repetitious, was very detailed with similar themes. It is amazing what the pilots went through at very young ages, the responsibilities they took on, an Overall, an unusual and eye-opening read. History buffs, particularly individuals interested in WWII pilot training, actual flight bombing / combat narratives, and tribulations of "downed pilots". will find this book fascinating and exceptionally well researched. I rated 4-stars simply because I struggled through some of the dialog, although not repetitious, was very detailed with similar themes. It is amazing what the pilots went through at very young ages, the responsibilities they took on, and how locals risked their lives and their families lives to help and protect downed pilots".

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robin Loves Reading

    A PORTION OF THE BLURB FROM GOODREADS:  For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the: • separation for young families as men went off to war; • training before heading to foreign soil; • military combat operations; • underground an A PORTION OF THE BLURB FROM GOODREADS:  For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the: • separation for young families as men went off to war; • training before heading to foreign soil; • military combat operations; • underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it; • German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians; • behind-the-scenes stories of the Belgium civilians who risked all to save American flyers who were in the air one moment, spiraling down in flames the next; • creation and dedication of the monument to the Susan Ruth and its crew located in Macquenoise, Belgium in 1989 Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating. QUOTE FROM THE BOOK:  This book is a nonfiction, hstorical documentary. Every incident about the crew members has been taken from personal letters, interviews, declassified military records, and verbal and written by the people who were involved 70 years ago. MY VIEWS: Shot Down is a compelling read. It is full of interesting facts and tidbits as to how the pilot and crew man the planes during this difficult time in history. The author began his research with the diaries and letters of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, the pilot of the Susan Ruth, a B17 bomber, and other reference materials, including previous books and even films made about that time. Indeed, a well-researched book. This is the first book of this type for me. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to read it. There were many, many things about the war that I was not aware of. The diaries, photographs and letters that Howard and other crew members wrote to their families were just so tender and sad. This helped to show the humanity that existed behind the war. Kudos for Steve Snyder for presenting things in this manner. 

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cold War Conversations Podcast

    A powerful read. Steve Snyder's passion to tell the story of his father certainly shines through. The small details of the training and the equipment brought it all alive. The descriptive prose is excellent and that takes right to the heart of the action over Germany. Highly recommended. A powerful read. Steve Snyder's passion to tell the story of his father certainly shines through. The small details of the training and the equipment brought it all alive. The descriptive prose is excellent and that takes right to the heart of the action over Germany. Highly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elinor

    I really enjoyed the is book for the following reasons: 1. I learned a lot about the bravery of the Belgian resistance. At times, my jaw dropped when I read about the incredible risks they took to save downed Allied airmen. 2. The personal letters between the crew of the Susan Ruth and their loved ones back home brought the story to life. 3. Finding and interviewing the German pilot who shot down the American B-17 demonstrates the author's enthusiasm for research. 4. This isn't just a personal tribu I really enjoyed the is book for the following reasons: 1. I learned a lot about the bravery of the Belgian resistance. At times, my jaw dropped when I read about the incredible risks they took to save downed Allied airmen. 2. The personal letters between the crew of the Susan Ruth and their loved ones back home brought the story to life. 3. Finding and interviewing the German pilot who shot down the American B-17 demonstrates the author's enthusiasm for research. 4. This isn't just a personal tribute to the author's father, but a serious attempt to explain the air war in Europe, from the American point of view. In his video interview on Goodreads, the author says he was trying to appeal both to military historians and the general public. I would say he has succeeded with flying colours!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    This thoroughly engaging non-fiction story of the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth, shot down over Belgium on February 8th, 1944 is one of the most worthwhile reads anyone interested in WWII history and the air battles will ever find. It's extensively researched, well-laced with photographs and a description of the daily life of the airmen of the Eight Air Force Bomber Groups, without sinking into sentimentalism and shock for the sake of shock. If you want to get an idea of what people lived through u This thoroughly engaging non-fiction story of the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth, shot down over Belgium on February 8th, 1944 is one of the most worthwhile reads anyone interested in WWII history and the air battles will ever find. It's extensively researched, well-laced with photographs and a description of the daily life of the airmen of the Eight Air Force Bomber Groups, without sinking into sentimentalism and shock for the sake of shock. If you want to get an idea of what people lived through under the hobnailed Nazi boot in occupied countries helping the airmen who were trying to set them free, this is one book you shouldn't miss. I just re-read it, and found it just as good as when I first read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Shrier

    [FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] SHOT DOWN: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruthis the story of the author's Father in World War II as a B-17 bomber pilot and his ordeals after being shot down over the Franco-Belgian border in February 1944. The book itself is 335 pages of text with an extensive sources list and index. The text is d [FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] SHOT DOWN: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruthis the story of the author's Father in World War II as a B-17 bomber pilot and his ordeals after being shot down over the Franco-Belgian border in February 1944. The book itself is 335 pages of text with an extensive sources list and index. The text is divided into 40, mostly short, topical chapters. The narrative describes the journey of the author's father to first becoming a bomber pilot and then chronicles his arrival in the ETO, his bombing missions, the loss if his aircraft, and the events and adventures of the crew of the B-17 as they struggled to survive both in hiding and as POWs. This story is a microcosm of what happened to thousands of US aircrew who were forced to crash-land or bail out of their aircraft in the course of the air war over Europe. The book starts out kind of slow with a description of the training process for bomber crewmen and extensive description of the B-17 and its components. If this type of stuff does not interest you then it will bore you but it is a necessary introduction to the bombing campaign. The B-17 was a remarkably tough aircraft and B-17 bomber crews did the lion's share of the US bombing in Europe during World War II and learning about how they worked and how they operated is important to the story. The crew of the Susan Ruth bailed out over the Belgo-Frankish border region. Many locals risked and some even gave their lives to help these men who were so far from home and fighting to liberate people they would mostly never meet. The crew was scattered after the shoot down and the author does a great job of telling the different threads of the story into one narrative without confusing the reader. This is not just one story but eight woven together, some shorter and some longer than others. What I found to be one of the best parts of the book was the final chapters where the surviving crew's liberation is discussed and then the reunions of later years. I found it especially compelling because I have been to a few of the sites mentioned in the book and it is very interesting to learn the backstory behind the memorials. A memorial without context is just stone but the context of the joy and agony behind the memorials brings them to life. The men of the crew endured much while waiting to be either repatriated or liberated and the story of their ordeals and the locals who helped them is inspiring, to say the least. The story of the Susan Ruth's crew happened hundreds of times all over occupied Europe and it is a story worth telling. Shot Down gets off to a slow start but picks up when the crew is trying to survive. The narrative flow well and the painstaking level of research is evident throughout the book. It is obvious that writing the book was a labor of love. It is excellently written and one of the most detailed accounts of the travails of downed airman I have ever read. I highly recommend this book, especially to those interested in the European Air War of World War II.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Just One More Book (Kris Miller)

    Using first hand accounts from various sources, Shot Down tells the true story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth. Author Steve Snyder relays the remarkable tale of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the whole Susan Ruth crew on that fateful day of February 8, 1944. As war became imminent, American Howard Snyder voluntarily joined the army and was called to serve. Newly married and wanting to provide more financial support, Howard chose to train as a pilot. As a B-17 pilot, he was soon Using first hand accounts from various sources, Shot Down tells the true story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth. Author Steve Snyder relays the remarkable tale of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the whole Susan Ruth crew on that fateful day of February 8, 1944. As war became imminent, American Howard Snyder voluntarily joined the army and was called to serve. Newly married and wanting to provide more financial support, Howard chose to train as a pilot. As a B-17 pilot, he was soon flying dangerous daylight missions over a wartorn Nazi occupied Europe from 1943-1944. February 8th, 1944 his plane the Susan Ruth was shot down out of the sky. Howard and his crew members were forced to jump from a burning plane over German occupied Belgium. His parachute caught in a tree, Howard dangled 25 feet from the ground. Luckily he was found not by Germans, but instead by sympathetic Belgium citizens. From there, Howard spent the next 7 months being aided and hidden by various citizens until the Americans liberated Belgium. Written with immense detail, Steve Snyder has procured a fantastic piece of historical literature. No detail is left out as it follows the timeline both prior to the start of war, as well as after. The book is further brought to life by the addition of the numerous pictures, documents, letters and illustrations. The stories of ordinary citizens going to extraordinary measures, while risking their own lives was a beautiful testament to human nature. This book is a must for those who love books either on history or WWII. Definitely wartime courage at its best! ** "I am a certified reviewer for TopShelf Magazine. TopShelf Magazine does not offer a 'paid review service' and TopShelf Reviewers are not compensated for their reviews."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Raven About

    I have a real interest in reading true stories, the more interesting and unique the better. So I was drawn to the story of Lieutenant Howard Snyder during his time on the Susan Ruth which was essentially a flying fortress that was shot down in 1944. Through his own personal tale of survival during the Second World War, you learn so much about how the conflict affected not just one man, but also families, soldiers in other armies, and the atrocities that took place that so many found so hard to f I have a real interest in reading true stories, the more interesting and unique the better. So I was drawn to the story of Lieutenant Howard Snyder during his time on the Susan Ruth which was essentially a flying fortress that was shot down in 1944. Through his own personal tale of survival during the Second World War, you learn so much about how the conflict affected not just one man, but also families, soldiers in other armies, and the atrocities that took place that so many found so hard to forget. 'Shot Down' is the true story of a remarkable man written by his son Steve Snyder, constructed from letters and journals of those her were there. I urge everyone to read this book, or others like it as it is so important to remember what so many people went through to ensure that we live in a free world today. We should never let the memories of those who served in World War II to fade, and books like this will help prevent that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    A Must Read For WW2 Junkies Thanks to Steve Snyder for sharing his Dad's story. I ripped through this very well written book and left it with further admiration for the young men who dealt with fear on a daily basis, what amazing heroes they were. My Dad was on an LST during the same period but unfortunately he never talked about his experiences, many of these kids never did so I appreciate the research here. A Must Read For WW2 Junkies Thanks to Steve Snyder for sharing his Dad's story. I ripped through this very well written book and left it with further admiration for the young men who dealt with fear on a daily basis, what amazing heroes they were. My Dad was on an LST during the same period but unfortunately he never talked about his experiences, many of these kids never did so I appreciate the research here.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Grady

    `It is our duty to remember' California author Steve Snyder studied and gained his BA in Economics at UCLA, using that training in national sales and sales management. Since retiring he has focused his fascination with World War II history, especially those of his father, pilot Howard Snyder and his crew of the B-17, Susan Ruth, named after his older sister. After nearly five years of research he penned SHOT DOWN, and for an `amateur historian' he has won awards and applause form distinguished au `It is our duty to remember' California author Steve Snyder studied and gained his BA in Economics at UCLA, using that training in national sales and sales management. Since retiring he has focused his fascination with World War II history, especially those of his father, pilot Howard Snyder and his crew of the B-17, Susan Ruth, named after his older sister. After nearly five years of research he penned SHOT DOWN, and for an `amateur historian' he has won awards and applause form distinguished authors and historians and he now participates in many World War II associations, in addition to being Vice President of the 306th Bomb Group Historical Association. In 1994 and 2004 he participated in the Anniversaries of the Liberation of Belgium. All of this comes home in this immensely interesting history of an important event too few of us know. Not only has Steve achieved a meticulously researched book, recreating this moment of military history when on February 8, 1944 The B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Roth was shot down, landing in Belgium, but he also molds an empathetic novel that allows the reader to be there, terrified and surviving along side men we come to know through Steve's exceptional writing. SHOT DOWN Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. The build up to the tragedy details training tactics, the increasing tension of the war as it built toward 1944, and the aftermath of the downing of the plane under the beneficent care of Lt. Howard Synder. There is more information here about the underground support of US troops in Europe and the interaction between the citizens of Belgium and the crews of airmen whom they aided in providing protection and friendship. Another aspect that makes this book so very fine is the inclusion of many photographs taken during the war, from intimate images of the crew members to planes in flight to battles to images of telegrams and letters - Steve covers his story pictorially as well as with the written word. This book is a film waiting to be optioned, one of the war films that hopefully will encourage us never to forget the valor of the fighting forces not only in WW II, but in all wars where men and women offer their lives for their country. Highly Recommended.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paragraph And A Half

    This is the true story of US pilot Howard Snyder and his crewmen who were aboard the Susan Ruth, an aircraft named after his eldest daughter and wife’s names. This book started off slow and honestly I found it harder to grasp the military world and all its equipment terms and jargon but I pushed on hoping for the best to come. While in the first half of the book, I learned about Snyder’s life at the U.S. military base in England. His son who is the author of this book describes how the living si This is the true story of US pilot Howard Snyder and his crewmen who were aboard the Susan Ruth, an aircraft named after his eldest daughter and wife’s names. This book started off slow and honestly I found it harder to grasp the military world and all its equipment terms and jargon but I pushed on hoping for the best to come. While in the first half of the book, I learned about Snyder’s life at the U.S. military base in England. His son who is the author of this book describes how the living situation was like: there was booze, parties, girls (British), letters from home, and American media to name a few that served as coping mechanisms for the young soldiers who were new to Europe and the concept of being away from home. Snyder often wrote to his wife Ruth promising his loyalty to her and conveying his best wishes to her and their daughter Susan. The second part of the book focused more on the brutal and grueling experiences of Snyder and his fellow American crewmen who survived the crash of the B-17, Susan Ruth, which was a four-engine heavy bomber that was developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corp. This was when the excitement and the readability of the book set off for me, making me enjoy the book for the first time as I absorbed with sadness and shock the heroic way certain compassionate Europeans looked after some of them and the gruesome details of the harsh treatment the other half got from the Gestapo (the Nazi secret police). It is upon reading these parts of the book that I mentally thanked the Lord for the current peaceful state of the United States as I know in my heart that I would not brave such situations if they occurred to me and my loved ones in this day and age. I admired Howard Snyder’s courage and level of endurance throughout the book. It was a wrench to my heart when I read that some of his crewmen who were taken hostage by the Gestapo were lined up and mercilessly shot in their backs. It was soothing and pleasing to my senses when I later found out that they were given proper burial after the war by the US military. This was a well-researched book and at the end, the author lists all of the books he used as sources for the vast information that is included in it. I applaud Steve for the excellent way he wrote this book, featuring a plethora of black and white photos and data essential for projects having to do with World War II. Howard Snyder and his fellow crewmen are what you would call, true American heroes because they went through so much misery and pain to bring about peace and freedom for the world and those who inhabited the countries that Hitler and his Nazis planned to enslave and subject to genocide. I am so glad that I was given this book to read and review because I then could feel and look through the eyes of these heroic American men and the Europeans who had to suffer through World War II. One can acquire an admirable interest in the notable Howard Snyder, his contemporaries, his relatives, and of course the Susan Ruth aircraft that plays a crucial part in this eventful read. I can tell you now that this is a reliable source for a school project of yours if you are a student looking for information on World War II. If you are someone who is interested in the United States’ role in World War II then look no further than this book.. Be delighted that this book has useful photos of the men it’s about. The sufferings are not described in graphic detail so rest assured. I read this book in five days but you could read it in four days or less because I had a few tasks I needed to work on while I was reading this book. As a final word, I would like to thank and salute Howard Snyder, his Susan Ruth crewmen, and the multitudes of soldiers from the US and its allies for their work and efforts during World War II and any other war that succeeded or preceded it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brian Wilkerson

    Steve Snyder asked me to read his historical book, "SHOT DOWN". It is about the author's father, Howard Snyder, and how he survived being shot down over Germany-occupied France during WWII. The blurb states that this is about Howard Snyder's experience but it reads more like a biography of him with a focus on the WWII mission and its aftermath. It also includes a lot of information about other subjects, such as Howard's military training and other missions he went on before the one where he was Steve Snyder asked me to read his historical book, "SHOT DOWN". It is about the author's father, Howard Snyder, and how he survived being shot down over Germany-occupied France during WWII. The blurb states that this is about Howard Snyder's experience but it reads more like a biography of him with a focus on the WWII mission and its aftermath. It also includes a lot of information about other subjects, such as Howard's military training and other missions he went on before the one where he was shot down. There's also a section about members of the French Resistance and other individuals who sheltered downed pilots. It's all interesting stuff. I had no idea the pilots had to wear so much gear during their missions. There's armor to protect against shrapnel, winter clothing for the altitude and air masks for oxygen. I thought all they had to worry about was enemy fire. It makes what they did a lot more impressive for its bravery. The process of take-off and landing and the formations they had to assume, and how dangerous these were, was also interesting. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see an allied airplane slip out of formation or, of course, to be on that plane. Besides that, I enjoyed reading about the Comet Line. These guys are the heroes of this particular story. When they see a plane go down in their area, it is a race against the Nazi to get to the plane first, find survivors and hide them. Then of course to continue hiding them while feeding and then getting them out. In addition to courage, resourcefulness and organization, they also had to be clever because the Nazi would have their own pilots crash in a sting-like operation. Primary sources are fantastic. Included in the book are many illustrations of planes, locations, wreckage and the people involved. The author even included letters and journal entries that his father wrote during his time as a soldier. This book is factual information with a keenly human experience. Trickster Eric Novels gives "SHOT DOWN" an A+ This was a free book review. The author requested an honest review so I provided one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Al

    This book looks at the experiences of Howard Snyder and his crew before, during and after their brief operational combat career with the 8th Air Force. It was written by Howard's son, and thus benefits from his access to his father's letters and memories. The book doesn't just focus on Howard's story. Instead, the author has chosen to follow the experiences of the entire crew, the resistance members who helped them, and also provides relevant background info on the progress of the war. As a result This book looks at the experiences of Howard Snyder and his crew before, during and after their brief operational combat career with the 8th Air Force. It was written by Howard's son, and thus benefits from his access to his father's letters and memories. The book doesn't just focus on Howard's story. Instead, the author has chosen to follow the experiences of the entire crew, the resistance members who helped them, and also provides relevant background info on the progress of the war. As a result this is a rather different story to many, including war crimes, the resistance both as helpers and as a member, repatriation and POW stories. Howard himself served with the Maquis after getting tired of waiting for a safe route home. Other members of his crew suffered very different fates, and not all of them survived. After looking at his father's background, early life and USAAF training, the author examines the poor state of the 8th Air Force after 'Black Week', when it was almost knocked out of the skies. This period demonstrates the abilities of German military power - they could temporarily force the 8th Air Force to limit its missions, but they could do nothing to stop it rebuilding, and had zero chance of attacking the production base back in the US. Howard wasn't very far into his tour when he was shot down, and so the author is able to cover all of his combat missions in some detail. He was also greatly helped by having his father's letters home, and by his father's role in veterans associations after the war, which gave him access to fellow members of the 8th Air Force and the Resistance members. This is a compelling true story of wartime survival, made especially interesting by the very different fates of the individual crew members. This is also a fitting tribute to the bravery of the 8th Air Force and of their helpers in the Belgian and French resistance.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Woolfy

    It always takes me time to get into “true” stories because I usually find the writing hard to follow. There’s something about fiction that grabs you, no matter how realistic. This one, though? I was hooked. Snyder does a great job of recreating Howard’s adventures. The writing is phenomenal, and as many other reviews have stated, this book gets raw. Heartache, death, and danger are all incorporated masterfully, and without pulling any punches. It’s hard to have such a raw experience in print, bu It always takes me time to get into “true” stories because I usually find the writing hard to follow. There’s something about fiction that grabs you, no matter how realistic. This one, though? I was hooked. Snyder does a great job of recreating Howard’s adventures. The writing is phenomenal, and as many other reviews have stated, this book gets raw. Heartache, death, and danger are all incorporated masterfully, and without pulling any punches. It’s hard to have such a raw experience in print, but even harder to have such an experience touch a reader in a tangible way. The best part of this book, in my opinion, is the collection of people Snyder decided to write about, and how dedicated he was to ensuring everything was correct. This is a must-read for anyone who loves a good story, fiction or otherwise.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    An absolutely fantastic read! Snyder paints a vivid picture of his father's role and experiences during WWII. His writing talent made me feel as if I were with Howard Snyder during training, with him during the transit to Europe, with him as he tried to live a normal life on an air base in England, with him in the cockpit of his B-17, and finally with him as he parachuted from the burning plane, and then through to the end of the war. Great book! An absolutely fantastic read! Snyder paints a vivid picture of his father's role and experiences during WWII. His writing talent made me feel as if I were with Howard Snyder during training, with him during the transit to Europe, with him as he tried to live a normal life on an air base in England, with him in the cockpit of his B-17, and finally with him as he parachuted from the burning plane, and then through to the end of the war. Great book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mildred Little

    Nate Sullivan, of War History Online, perfectly sums up Steve Snyder's well-executed story of B-17 pilot, Howard Snyder and his crew: “A masterful work. Enjoyable for those interested in the Eighth Air Force and/or the B-17 Flying Fortress, but it is also broad enough to appeal to general history readers. Insightful, engrossing, and succeeds on every level. Bravo.” Shot Down is not just a story, but a perfect memoir to the men that flew and cared for Susan Ruth, Howard Snyder's B-17, and to all th Nate Sullivan, of War History Online, perfectly sums up Steve Snyder's well-executed story of B-17 pilot, Howard Snyder and his crew: “A masterful work. Enjoyable for those interested in the Eighth Air Force and/or the B-17 Flying Fortress, but it is also broad enough to appeal to general history readers. Insightful, engrossing, and succeeds on every level. Bravo.” Shot Down is not just a story, but a perfect memoir to the men that flew and cared for Susan Ruth, Howard Snyder's B-17, and to all those that fought, flew and died during the Second World War. Not only to the Americans, either. Snyder's story is equally inclusive of Americans and Brits and does not do one more justice than the other – making sure that this book appeals to readers on both sides of the pond. It is in no way patronising, and it's simply written nature allows for readers of all interests. The amalgamation of story and historical facts is seamless, creating an informative and incredibly interesting read. You find yourself waiting eagerly for more humorous, loving and tear-jerking letters from Howard to his wife, Ruth and laughing at how nothing has really changed from young lovers then, to young lovers now. Snyder retells the tale of how Ruth became pregnant with Baby Susan in 1941; “Ruth pleaded with Howard, 'Let's not use anything just this once.'” Snyder's perception of the British is absolutely spot-on and brings a smile to your face. The mere mention of Britain instantly brings the story home – it is no longer about a pilot from a far-away land. It starts to have far more substance and meaning for those in Britain. Snyder is sure to mention the prudishness of us Brits and, of course, the English weather; “It has rained every day that we have been in England.” The mention of rations further aids the readers understanding of the cruelties of war. This is no longer a Hollywood-esque, love-struck tale of two young people surviving the war, it's a harsh reminder of what war does. No longer do you think of these men as young larks, having fun being pilots. The thought of Michael Caton-Jones' Memphis Belle (1990) slips away, and you find yourself resisting the urge to skip chapters to find out what happens to Howard Snyder and his crew. Steve Snyder has done an excellent job of documenting history in a fascinating and gripping way. This is a testimony to his parents, and all those who fought in the war. Definitely worth reading – just try and put it down. Buy from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shot-Down-Sto...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joy Kidney

    Steve Snyder is the son of B-17 pilot Howard Snyder who was shot down in February of 1944 on the French/Belgium border. Two members of the crew of 10 were killed in the plane, some rescued and in hiding, some captured. The author not only did research to learn what happened to his father, but also the rest of the crew. He contacted a German man who was one of the pilots who shot down the Susan Ruth (which was named for the Lt. Snyder's daughter). Howard Snyder was part of the 369th Bomb Squadron Steve Snyder is the son of B-17 pilot Howard Snyder who was shot down in February of 1944 on the French/Belgium border. Two members of the crew of 10 were killed in the plane, some rescued and in hiding, some captured. The author not only did research to learn what happened to his father, but also the rest of the crew. He contacted a German man who was one of the pilots who shot down the Susan Ruth (which was named for the Lt. Snyder's daughter). Howard Snyder was part of the 369th Bomb Squadron, 306th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, stationed in England. I learned about their living conditions there, and also an explanation of the amazing combat formations for the hundreds of bombers sent on each mission. Snyder was kept hidden by brave Belgians. Paul Delahaye was a child in Belgium when the Nazis overran that nation. He was 13 when the Americans forced out the Germans and he met the Americans who freed them. He made it his mission to make sure the Americans are never forgotten, building memorials and starting museums. Howard Snyder kept in touch with his rescuers and even visited there, also meeting Paul Delahaye. A remarkable and complete history.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Arttie Parker

    Overall, an enjoyable read. At times it strayed from the main story a bit, and at other times it felt like the author was spending too much time on the names and backstories of secondary role players. I also felt talked down to in a few spots, which I found unnecessary since the general audience for this book will likely have more than a passing knowledge of WWII. Overall, however, there was a good deal of information about the B-17s and the men who flew them. The pictures and diary entries were Overall, an enjoyable read. At times it strayed from the main story a bit, and at other times it felt like the author was spending too much time on the names and backstories of secondary role players. I also felt talked down to in a few spots, which I found unnecessary since the general audience for this book will likely have more than a passing knowledge of WWII. Overall, however, there was a good deal of information about the B-17s and the men who flew them. The pictures and diary entries were great additions, and the author obviously went to great lengths in researching the book, its background, and locations. That the subject is the author's father, I'm sure played a large role in the research process. Definitely a keeper and suggested reader. Have bookmarked some pages for further research on my own and for use in my classroom.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Reinicke

    This book was a Christmas gift because my dad was a pilot in WW2. I had trouble putting it down at night to go to sleep- Steve's account of pilot training was very interesting. They didn't have much flight time before we sent them overseas. I also found it interesting how many ships were lost that were not related to the mission. Then I got to the part about being shot down - I just stayed up reading all night. Put this on your must-read list. This book was a Christmas gift because my dad was a pilot in WW2. I had trouble putting it down at night to go to sleep- Steve's account of pilot training was very interesting. They didn't have much flight time before we sent them overseas. I also found it interesting how many ships were lost that were not related to the mission. Then I got to the part about being shot down - I just stayed up reading all night. Put this on your must-read list.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bookie Wookie

    It’s been a while since I read a book about war despite them being a big passion of mine years ago. I’m not even sure what enticed me to read Shot Down, but I’m so glad I did. Maybe because of the author’s father being a focus for the exploits in the book gave a extra edge to the writing, but it has now given me the urge to read further books on the second World War and others. I don’t think you need a background of war reading to appreciate this either, as I also found it very accessible.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Profundito

    For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the: • separation for young families as men went off to war; • training before heading to foreign soil; • military combat operations; • underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did wh For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the: • separation for young families as men went off to war; • training before heading to foreign soil; • military combat operations; • underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it; • German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians; • behind-the-scenes stories of the Belgium civilians who risked all to save American flyers who were in the air one moment, spiraling down in flames the next; • creation and dedication of the monument to the Susan Ruth and its crew located in Macquenoise, Belgium in 1989 Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating. Quote from the book: This book is a nonfiction, hstorical documentary. Every incident about te crew members has been taken from personal letters, interviews, declassified mmilitary records, and verbal and written by the people who were involved 70 years ago. Shot Down is a compelling read. It is full of interesting facts and tidbits as to how the pilot and crew man the planes during this difficult time in history. The author began his research with the diaries and letters of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, the pilot of the Susan Ruth, a B17 bomber, and other reference materials, including previous books and even films made about that time. Indeed, a well-researched book. This is the first book of this type for me. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to read it. There were many, many things about the war that I was not aware of. The diaries, photographs and letters that Howard and other crew members wrote to their families were just so tender and sad. This helped to show the humanity that existed behind the war. Kudos for Steve Snyder for presenting things in this manner.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Scott Rose

    Great book that gives insight into the lives of the bomber crews outside of combat. Very enjoyable.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Thelastwordreview

    The Last Word Review: As the title suggests, this is the true story of what happened to the B-17 bomber 'Susan Ruth' and its crew. The difference is it is written by the Pilots Son so it is a very personal account. The crews of the B-17 bombers were some of the bravest, flying daylight missions over enemy territory, hitting important targets to deplete Germany's fighting capacity so many young men were lost flying deadly missions over Germany and occupied Europe. On February 8, 1944 Howard Snyder The Last Word Review: As the title suggests, this is the true story of what happened to the B-17 bomber 'Susan Ruth' and its crew. The difference is it is written by the Pilots Son so it is a very personal account. The crews of the B-17 bombers were some of the bravest, flying daylight missions over enemy territory, hitting important targets to deplete Germany's fighting capacity so many young men were lost flying deadly missions over Germany and occupied Europe. On February 8, 1944 Howard Snyder's B-17 was shot down over the France/Belgium border so here is the real story of 'Shot Down ' of what happened to the crew, this is no ordinary true story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the crew that was shot down while on a mission. Steve Snyder must be congratulated on the immense task in writing what is a truly an 'outstandingly detailed historical account' of what happened to his father. When you first open the book the author brings us some family history and then the incredible detailed account of what the crew and how they arrived in England and the training, also what went on behind the scenes with the crews of the B-17 Squadrons were they went during rare days off. This is not just an account of the crew, there is also the research that has gone into what it was like to fly a B-17 and the preparation of each mission and the detail of the aircraft is what makes this book such a vital historical piece of work. Then of course we must look at the bravery of each crew member and also the people on the ground who looked after those that made alive. Of the ten man crew some sadly died some were captured and taken prisoner and then there is Howard Snyder the Pilot of 'Susan Ruth' who evaded capture and was missing in action for seven months, this is what then happened. The story is emotional and packed with bravery and tragedy, the book is packed with photographs and letters from those involved. When you read the account of when the Bomber was hit and the crew had to bail out you become involved and share the sheer terror and confusion. Finally at the end of the War Howard Snyder pays tribute to those that sheltered him from being captured and how they put their own lived in danger by doing just that, knowing that if they were caught they would have been shot. Imagine if you can evading capture for seven months. This is truly an outstanding account and also an important account of what happened to the Crew and pays tribute to all those brave airmen that gave so much so that we could enjoy the freedom we take for granted today. If you enjoy reading military history, then this is one book you must add to your library. You will not be disappointed. Please visit Steve Snyder's website: stevesnyderauthor.com and further information can be obtained and there is articles and video interviews. HIGHLY RECOMMEDED.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    My reader friends know by now that I am a huge fan of WWII stories. Of course one of my favorites in this genre are WWII aviation stories. Since I was little I have been fascinated by aviation. Some day I plan to pick up again my flying lessons and finish getting my pilot's license. Ok. enough about my interests and back to the book. I thought the author did a very good job of sharing his father's story and that of the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth. The B17 is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft t My reader friends know by now that I am a huge fan of WWII stories. Of course one of my favorites in this genre are WWII aviation stories. Since I was little I have been fascinated by aviation. Some day I plan to pick up again my flying lessons and finish getting my pilot's license. Ok. enough about my interests and back to the book. I thought the author did a very good job of sharing his father's story and that of the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth. The B17 is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft that was developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Any one who is a fan of these types of books will enjoy this book. You don't have to have any knowledge of aviation or this time period as the author shares facts about history from the war, to the crew, his father, and the different positions that each crew member held. Yet, the author finds a nice balance between sharing historical facts and keeping it short without becoming dry. Also, the author shared his father's writing, so he had a voice as well in this book. It helped make me grow closer to the Snyders's. This is a fascinating read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eric Olsen

    A fantastic book. Steve Snyder has done an excellent job of telling the story of his father and his fathers crew. As one would expect of books of this type it starts out with before the war and goes to after the war. That's where the similarity with other books of this type seemed to end for me. It struck me as if the author wasn't just writing to those that had a good knowledge of the air war during World War II but also to those that don't know anything about the war at 30,000'. His writing st A fantastic book. Steve Snyder has done an excellent job of telling the story of his father and his fathers crew. As one would expect of books of this type it starts out with before the war and goes to after the war. That's where the similarity with other books of this type seemed to end for me. It struck me as if the author wasn't just writing to those that had a good knowledge of the air war during World War II but also to those that don't know anything about the war at 30,000'. His writing style and the way he weaved in letters that his dad wrote home along with knowledge from members of the French Resistance really help to tell the story of one bomber crew out of thousands.

  30. 4 out of 5

    C.P. Cabaniss

    *I received an audio copy of this book from the narrator through Audiobook Boom. All opinions are my own.* While I really enjoyed a lot of things about this, I do think that it could have been more powerful. I learned a lot about WWII and the flight crews from the US who were involved. There were many tidbits of information that I had either not thought about or never realized and I appreciated having them brought to my attention so I could think about them more. I really enjoyed the narrator. He *I received an audio copy of this book from the narrator through Audiobook Boom. All opinions are my own.* While I really enjoyed a lot of things about this, I do think that it could have been more powerful. I learned a lot about WWII and the flight crews from the US who were involved. There were many tidbits of information that I had either not thought about or never realized and I appreciated having them brought to my attention so I could think about them more. I really enjoyed the narrator. He has the perfect voice for this type of book. It's the kind of voice that I associate with WWII for some reason. I wasn't crazy about the voices he did for the various people within the book though. If this had been shortened and focused more on a handful of individuals it would have been a more powerful account. It felt more like a broad overview of the war than the tale of the Susan Ruth's crew. There were also a few things about the writing that I found somewhat off putting. Had I been reading rather than listening I'm not sure that it would have mattered to me, but the quotes at the beginning of each chapter were really destracting. This was an informative read and I enjoyed the narration. I only wish it had more of an emotional impact on me.

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