website statistics Damn Lucky: One Man's Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Damn Lucky: One Man's Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History

Availability: Ready to download

From Kevin Maurer—the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning coauthor of No Easy Day—comes the true story of a World War II bomber pilot who survived twenty-five missions in Damn Lucky, “an epic, thrillingly written, utterly immersive account of a very lucky, incredible survivor of the war in the skies to defeat Hitler” (New York Times bestselling author Alex Kershaw From Kevin Maurer—the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning coauthor of No Easy Day—comes the true story of a World War II bomber pilot who survived twenty-five missions in Damn Lucky, “an epic, thrillingly written, utterly immersive account of a very lucky, incredible survivor of the war in the skies to defeat Hitler” (New York Times bestselling author Alex Kershaw). “We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naive and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives. We were all afraid, but it was beyond our power to quit. We volunteered for the service and, once trained and overseas, felt we had no choice but to fulfill the mission assigned. My hope is that this book honors the men with whom I served by telling the truth about what it took to climb into the cold blue and fight for our lives over and over again.” —John “Lucky” Luckadoo, Major, USAF (Ret.) 100th Bomb Group (H) Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was a world away from John Luckadoo’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. But when the Japanese attacked the American naval base on December 7, 1941, he didn’t hesitate to join the military. Trained as a pilot with the United States Air Force, Second Lieutenant Luckadoo was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group stationed in Thorpe Abbotts, England. Between June and October 1943, he flew B-17 Flying Fortresses over France and Germany on bombing runs devised to destroy the Nazi war machine. With a shrapnel torn Bible in his flight jacket pocket and his girlfriend’s silk stocking around his neck like a scarf as talismans, Luckadoo piloted through Luftwaffe machine-gun fire and antiaircraft flak while enduring subzero temperatures to complete twenty-five missions and his combat service. The average bomber crew rarely survived after eight to twelve missions. Knowing far too many airmen who wouldn’t be returning home, Luckadoo closed off his emotions and focused on his tasks to finish his tour of duty one moment at a time, realizing his success was more about being lucky than being skilled. Drawn from Luckadoo’s firsthand accounts, acclaimed war correspondent Kevin Maurer shares his extraordinary tale from war to peacetime, uncovering astonishing feats of bravery during the bloodiest military campaign in aviation history, and presenting an incredible portrait of a young man’s coming-of-age during the world’s most devastating war.


Compare

From Kevin Maurer—the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning coauthor of No Easy Day—comes the true story of a World War II bomber pilot who survived twenty-five missions in Damn Lucky, “an epic, thrillingly written, utterly immersive account of a very lucky, incredible survivor of the war in the skies to defeat Hitler” (New York Times bestselling author Alex Kershaw From Kevin Maurer—the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning coauthor of No Easy Day—comes the true story of a World War II bomber pilot who survived twenty-five missions in Damn Lucky, “an epic, thrillingly written, utterly immersive account of a very lucky, incredible survivor of the war in the skies to defeat Hitler” (New York Times bestselling author Alex Kershaw). “We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naive and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives. We were all afraid, but it was beyond our power to quit. We volunteered for the service and, once trained and overseas, felt we had no choice but to fulfill the mission assigned. My hope is that this book honors the men with whom I served by telling the truth about what it took to climb into the cold blue and fight for our lives over and over again.” —John “Lucky” Luckadoo, Major, USAF (Ret.) 100th Bomb Group (H) Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was a world away from John Luckadoo’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. But when the Japanese attacked the American naval base on December 7, 1941, he didn’t hesitate to join the military. Trained as a pilot with the United States Air Force, Second Lieutenant Luckadoo was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group stationed in Thorpe Abbotts, England. Between June and October 1943, he flew B-17 Flying Fortresses over France and Germany on bombing runs devised to destroy the Nazi war machine. With a shrapnel torn Bible in his flight jacket pocket and his girlfriend’s silk stocking around his neck like a scarf as talismans, Luckadoo piloted through Luftwaffe machine-gun fire and antiaircraft flak while enduring subzero temperatures to complete twenty-five missions and his combat service. The average bomber crew rarely survived after eight to twelve missions. Knowing far too many airmen who wouldn’t be returning home, Luckadoo closed off his emotions and focused on his tasks to finish his tour of duty one moment at a time, realizing his success was more about being lucky than being skilled. Drawn from Luckadoo’s firsthand accounts, acclaimed war correspondent Kevin Maurer shares his extraordinary tale from war to peacetime, uncovering astonishing feats of bravery during the bloodiest military campaign in aviation history, and presenting an incredible portrait of a young man’s coming-of-age during the world’s most devastating war.

30 review for Damn Lucky: One Man's Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Despite what they say, they are/were “The Greatest Generation”. This is the story of another one of those heroes. Thank goodness there are writers still digging out their stories so that “we may never forget” their sacrifices and heroism. This book is DAMN LUCKY by author KEVIN MAURER. The subject of this true story is John “Lucky” Luckadoo from Chattanooga, Tennessee. An important secondary character is Leroy “Sully” Sullivan from the same town. They were best friends and grew up together. Whe Despite what they say, they are/were “The Greatest Generation”. This is the story of another one of those heroes. Thank goodness there are writers still digging out their stories so that “we may never forget” their sacrifices and heroism. This book is DAMN LUCKY by author KEVIN MAURER. The subject of this true story is John “Lucky” Luckadoo from Chattanooga, Tennessee. An important secondary character is Leroy “Sully” Sullivan from the same town. They were best friends and grew up together. When WWII broke out, they both wanted to become fighter pilots. It was not to be. Sully joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as a fighter pilot. Lucky entered the United States Army Air Corps as a B-17 bomber pilot. Both ended up in England not far from each other. It took a while before they realized how near they were to each other. They spent a very memorable weekend in London in 1943. Lucky met Sully’s girlfriend Lady Peggy who owned a private club in London, and polo horses. The Eighth Air Force was the U.S. overall command unit for American air forces in Europe. Among its early leaders were Generals Curtis LeMay, Billy Mitchell and Jimmy Doolittle, icons of the world of military aviation before, during and after the war. It was decided by the American and British commanders that American bombers would conduct high altitude, daylight, “precision” bombing. The British would do nighttime saturation bombing. U.S. bomber personnel had to fly 25 missions before they could return to the United States. Their life expectancy was about 10 raids. Losses were extremely heavy at times. Everybody wanted so-called “milk runs” over less heavily defended targets. During the course of the story, the reader gets to feel the the terror of flying over targets with German fighter planes and German antiaircraft cannon fire all around the bombers. The American bombers had an aid called the Norden Bombsight that allowed the bombardier to control the final approach to a target. Unfortunately, it was NOT as accurate as it was claimed to be. Lucky’s missions took him over submarine bases in France, V-1 rocket sites, the city of Berlin and more. The reader is right there in the planes with Lucky and his crews. The British thought they were “Overpaid, oversexed and over here!” Not only is this a war story, it is also the story of the men who were on the frontlines and their families at home. Some of the men that flew with or commanded Lucky were great people. Others were unfit to command but that is what war does. Even after the war, Lucky had issues with the Air Force but managed to overcome them. He met his future wife in Bryan, Texas. She was the daughter of an American Ambassador. Her father never approved the marriage of his daughter to a pilot. She was destined for bigger fish. The author was fortunate to be able to actually talk to Lucky when he was nearing 100 years old. He also used other sources, which he documents at the end of the story. If you are a fan of biographies, war stories, history and/or human interest, then this is a book for you. If I could, I would give this book more than five stars. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! GO! BUY! READ!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    John "Lucky" Luckadoo served for 25 missions as a B-17 bomber pilot in World War II. These pilots had almost unimaginable losses--all hoped to return, but realized that a large number did not. They took off from bases in Britain and bombed German targets; many pilots either died in combat or were captured as POWs. The author is a journalist who interviewed Lucky and did a tremendous amount of research. Lucky's story is told in a "you are there" style, as we follow him through training (with both John "Lucky" Luckadoo served for 25 missions as a B-17 bomber pilot in World War II. These pilots had almost unimaginable losses--all hoped to return, but realized that a large number did not. They took off from bases in Britain and bombed German targets; many pilots either died in combat or were captured as POWs. The author is a journalist who interviewed Lucky and did a tremendous amount of research. Lucky's story is told in a "you are there" style, as we follow him through training (with both good and incompetent instructors) to England, and the details of what transpired there. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in World War II history.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    John “Lucky” Luckadoo was a bomber pilot in World War II in the most dangerous period of the European theater, and he survived twenty-five bombing runs, which was unusual. This is his story, told to us by the skilled wordsmith Kevin Maurer, and narrated by Holter Graham and Luckadoo himself. My thanks go to Net Galley, St. Martin’s Press, and Macmillan audio for the invitation to read and review. The first portion of the narrative tells about Lucky’s early years, as well as his yearning to learn John “Lucky” Luckadoo was a bomber pilot in World War II in the most dangerous period of the European theater, and he survived twenty-five bombing runs, which was unusual. This is his story, told to us by the skilled wordsmith Kevin Maurer, and narrated by Holter Graham and Luckadoo himself. My thanks go to Net Galley, St. Martin’s Press, and Macmillan audio for the invitation to read and review. The first portion of the narrative tells about Lucky’s early years, as well as his yearning to learn to fly. I feel a bit impatient as I read this segment, because I’m dying, like Lucky, to go to war. However, some of what I think is extraneous material proves to be important later on, so I’m glad not to have skipped anything. A quarter of the way into the story, and we’re off. I am impressed by the descriptions, which are brief and unmistakably clear, written for general audiences of today. An example is when he tells us that a Quonset hut looks like a tin can that has been split lengthwise, then put on the ground, cut side down. Everything, from the planes, to the target, to the flying conditions is easily understood without talking down to the reader. The chapters are a good length, and the dialogue crackles. But now, we have to talk about that. When anyone writes military history, whether it’s a biography, a memoir, a reference book, or any other nonfiction work, there must be citations for the facts and especially for quotations and dialogue. (I am proud of myself for not using twelve exclamation marks here; if there were an audio version of this review, I would be shrieking, so it’s just as well that we’ve stuck to print.) The author provides a bibliography at the end, and it. Is. Not. Enough. No, no, no! This is why so many writers in this field use historical fiction as a vehicle; the very best historical fiction communicates the same material, but is not bound to document facts. A bibliography alone would be just dandy for a work of historical fiction…which this is not. In fact, (said the American history and government teacher,) the four star rating is evidence of my appreciation for the clarity, organization, and pacing of this story; ordinarily I would go no higher than three stars for anyone in violation of this clear requirement. (Where was the editor?) Moving on. The pace in the middle segment is brisk, but I have no problem putting it down and walking away when I am interrupted in my reading. That all changes at the sixty-sixth percentile, when the B-17 pilots and crews are sent on a mission to bomb Bremen. This is a huge mission, and a very dangerous one, as they are trying to bomb the canal where German U-boats are housed in broad daylight. At the same time, Goering is done watching his pilots get pounded, and he orders them to fight to the last man, and those that will not will be transferred to the infantry (note here that the German infantry is starving and freezing; pilots are much better fed.) Consequently, their aggression in the air is unprecedented, with kamikaze-like maneuvers that none of the Allies have seen from Germany up till now. During the portion of the book, I would not have left this story unless my house was on fire. The callous decisions by higher-ups as to what an acceptable attrition level looks like, with about sixteen percent of active American airmen making it home alive after their service is done, is horrifying. I have read a number of biographies and other historical works regarding this topic, but nevertheless, I learned some new information. I recommend this book to readers that are interested, but not to researchers or students. Although the narrators do a perfectly fine job, I realize early that I cannot keep up with this level of detail without seeing the words, so I jettison the audio version and stick to the digital review copy. I recommend the audio version for those quirky souls that understand and retain spoken information better than print.

  4. 5 out of 5

    all_day_dream_about_books

    I would like to thank St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with a complementary copy of the ebook. I thank Stephen Erickson from St. Martin's Press for reaching out to me regarding this amazing book. John "Lucky" Luckadoo was indeed Damn Lucky among the fighters who survived the WWII. Raised in well to do family in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and dreaming about being a soldier, and then almost failing one of his air force exams, Lucky , just 22, was a B-17 pilot who became a part of 100t I would like to thank St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with a complementary copy of the ebook. I thank Stephen Erickson from St. Martin's Press for reaching out to me regarding this amazing book. John "Lucky" Luckadoo was indeed Damn Lucky among the fighters who survived the WWII. Raised in well to do family in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and dreaming about being a soldier, and then almost failing one of his air force exams, Lucky , just 22, was a B-17 pilot who became a part of 100th Bomb Group, and completed 25 combat missions, in which he felt it was his luck that helped him survive all of them, which otherwise was very rare. The book describes in vivid details the horrors of the war, conditions of the pilots, mental emotions faced by everyone. I recently read Lightning Down by Tom Clavin, which was also sent to me by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley and both these books provided me with a different perspective about the WWII. While I have mostly read fiction based on true events of WWII survivors of holocaust, these two books provided a different viewpoint, although Lightning Down was also about surviving holocaust. Damn Lucky by Kevin Maurer provided me with the viewpoint of the bombers and those who manages to survive, who otherwise were destined to die. The horrors Lucky faced were so much that he didn't speak about them for over half a century. Kevin Maurer has described the events with his writing style that brings the scenes infront of the eyes of the reader. The language, style of writing and presentation of the details and true events are what I found interesting as a critic of the book. This book releases on 19th April, 2022. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves to read about military, WII and life of fighter pilots.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This was a book about the life of one bomber pilot during World War Two. It is gritty and describes many details of air combat, as well as the day to day lives of the airmen. I feel like I got to know “Lucky” Luckadoo and was given a small taste of what he experienced. There were times when I was almost afraid to read what would happen during battle and times when I was upset about decisions made by higher level officers. Not enough romance for me, but since it is non fiction I wasn’t looking for This was a book about the life of one bomber pilot during World War Two. It is gritty and describes many details of air combat, as well as the day to day lives of the airmen. I feel like I got to know “Lucky” Luckadoo and was given a small taste of what he experienced. There were times when I was almost afraid to read what would happen during battle and times when I was upset about decisions made by higher level officers. Not enough romance for me, but since it is non fiction I wasn’t looking for it. Thanks St.Martins Press via Netgalley.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Porter Broyles

    My Grandfather served with the 2nd Bombadier Group during WWII and continued to serve in the Air Force until the early 70s. It wasn't until a few years before his death that he started to open up about his experiences during the war. Finding books like this is interesting because it fills in some of the story that we never knew about his life. No the 100th was not the 2nd. What my Grandfather endured was much less intense than the stories told here. (My grandfather fought primarily in Italy and w My Grandfather served with the 2nd Bombadier Group during WWII and continued to serve in the Air Force until the early 70s. It wasn't until a few years before his death that he started to open up about his experiences during the war. Finding books like this is interesting because it fills in some of the story that we never knew about his life. No the 100th was not the 2nd. What my Grandfather endured was much less intense than the stories told here. (My grandfather fought primarily in Italy and was flying to Italy when, unbeknowst to him, the allies were invading Normandy.) By the time my grandfather arrived, the Germany/Italian forces were not what they had been 2 years earlier. But still, I couldn't help but wonder how similar their experiences were.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    I have just finished reading Damn Lucky by Kevin Maurer. This is a true story of a WWII Pilot who survived 25 flights, before heading back home to the US. The story of John "Lucky" Luckadoo, is told through the writing of Kevin Maurer. The book is of a very interesting and important wartime story, delving into what WWII pilots must endure. It is simply written and told well. Thank You to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Author Kevin Maurer for my advanced copy to read and review. #netgalley I have just finished reading Damn Lucky by Kevin Maurer. This is a true story of a WWII Pilot who survived 25 flights, before heading back home to the US. The story of John "Lucky" Luckadoo, is told through the writing of Kevin Maurer. The book is of a very interesting and important wartime story, delving into what WWII pilots must endure. It is simply written and told well. Thank You to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Author Kevin Maurer for my advanced copy to read and review. #netgalley

  8. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    John "Lucky" Luckadoo was a bomber pilot in WWII. He dropped bombs over Germany under heavy fire, protected by his Bible and his girlfriend's silk stocking he wore around his neck like a scarf. He completed 25 missions and returned home after the war. Kevin Maurer does such a great job writing about John Luckadoo's experiences during the war. I found myself completely sucked into the story from the start. The detailed descriptions of battle, air combat and the daily life of the airmen are mesmer John "Lucky" Luckadoo was a bomber pilot in WWII. He dropped bombs over Germany under heavy fire, protected by his Bible and his girlfriend's silk stocking he wore around his neck like a scarf. He completed 25 missions and returned home after the war. Kevin Maurer does such a great job writing about John Luckadoo's experiences during the war. I found myself completely sucked into the story from the start. The detailed descriptions of battle, air combat and the daily life of the airmen are mesmerizing, intense, and so interesting. I can only imagine how horrible and frightening the entire experience must have been for pilots. Anyone with an interest in WWII history will enjoy this book. This is my first experience with Kevin Maurer's writing. An award winning journalist and war correspondent, Maurer tells this story with skill. I'm definitely reading more of his books. I've already got 3 of them added to my TBR list! **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from St. Martins Press. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tom Mathews

    Capt. John ‘Lucky’ Luckadoo’s story is a harrowing tale of courage in the face of the most horrendous circumstances imaginable. The odds against a B-17 bomber crew completing their required 25 missions were so high as to make their job arguably the most dangerous of any American Serviceman serving during World War II. What Capt. Luckadoo and his fellows endured in their efforts to end the war is something we should all learn about and understand. I personally cannot comprehend what kind of coura Capt. John ‘Lucky’ Luckadoo’s story is a harrowing tale of courage in the face of the most horrendous circumstances imaginable. The odds against a B-17 bomber crew completing their required 25 missions were so high as to make their job arguably the most dangerous of any American Serviceman serving during World War II. What Capt. Luckadoo and his fellows endured in their efforts to end the war is something we should all learn about and understand. I personally cannot comprehend what kind of courage is required to climb into a bomber every day knowing the chances you and the 9 crewmen with will return are less than 50-50. And yet these men did it, not once but again and again until they completed 25 missions or, more likely, their luck ran out. It’s difficult to read about this subject without addressing the morality of aerial bombardments and this book does not shy away from it. It discusses the whole topic of aerial bombing campaigns and their proponents, from Italian General Guilio Douhet, who first suggested bombing population centers to reduce popular support for the war (it didn’t work) to American Billy Mitchell, who advocated pinpoint strikes against the enemy’s industrial production facilities. Also covered were the differing strategies advocated by the RAF, which favored low altitude night-time bombings vs. the Americans’ preference for high altitude daytime raids. It didn’t take Lucky long to sour on war in general and what had one been an enthusiastic desire to strike at the enemy soon evolved into a single-minded drive to just survive and make it home. He summed up his thoughts beautifully in the afterword to the book that he penned himself We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naive and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives. We were all afraid, but it was beyond our power to quit. We volunteered for the service and, once trained and overseas, felt we had no choice but to fulfill the mission assigned. While proud that he had served his country in time of need, he came to believe that war was a futile and foolish ’commentary on adversaries’ failure to reach a reasonable resolution of their differences’. In this afterword, he not only shares his beliefs about war but also shares his attitudes about the current political climate in the United States. If, while reading this book, you pictured Lucky as an embittered hawk spouting war stories at the VFW hall, you would be very mistaken. In his summation, this 99 year-old veteran gives me hope that our country can once again become a nation deserving of such fine soldiers as he. Having survived such folly, I now fear the freedoms bought with the lives and blood of my generation are being squandered by the current generation. I am appalled that we stand today on the precipice of a civil war. We are, actually, the Dis-United States of America. We are witnessing the betrayal of our cherished values from within—as well as without. Never forget that we are all first and foremost Americans. We should look for common goals and seek compromise, rather than conquering the other side, which serves only to divide us. As private citizens, we can do something to alter our perspective. United, we’ve done amazing things: we defeated fascism, put a man on the moon, and created a cultural and economic empire that is the envy of the world. Somehow, we’ve forgotten that. America will never be perfect. It will always have problems. But the only solution is to stay together and find common ground. Stay united. We proved that in World War II, and we can prove it again. The only issue I have with this book is not with Capt. Luckadoo or with his story. I found that the biggest problem with it was in the way the author chose to write it. Books about actual events are generally written from a historian’s perspective or as a memoir. The style that author Maurer chose is more of a mishmashed amalgam of the two that reads like an old veteran telling war stories around the cracker barrel at the general store. While that might have worked if he had ghost-written the book from Lucky’s POV, it fails if you are trying to pass yourself off as a historian. One thing that irked me no end was that after providing Capt. Luckadoo’s correct name on page one of the book, he never referred to him by anything other than Lucky, his nickname. This is a history book, not a remake of Topgun. Capt. Luckadoo should be afforded the respect that his rank and service entitles him to. Several lines in the book, while written to sound folksy, are just plain inaccurate. In chapter 8, he writes ‘There was no reason to not answer an interphone call. If a crew member nodded off, it was a sure sign of oxygen deprivation.’ Without being an authority on the subject, I can immediately think of several reasons why anoxia isn’t the sure sign that the author contends. A few possibilities that were already suggested in the book are that he could be dead, wounded, asleep, frozen, or hungover. The interphone itself could also have been damaged. My point is that a good historian checks his facts and does not say something is certain or ‘sure’ unless it is. Capt. Luckadoo deserves more. Bottom line: We should all strive to learn the stories of those who risked their lives for the betterment of all of us. We owe it to Capt. Luckadoo and to all of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who served and did not return to understand and appreciate their sacrifice. For this, and for his excellent Afterword, I highly recommend this book. *Quotations are cited from an advanced reading copy and may not be the same as appears in the final published edition. The review was based on an advanced reading copy obtained at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. While this does take any ‘not worth what I paid for it’ statements out of my review, it otherwise has no impact on the content of my review. FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements: *5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. *4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is. *3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed for this book to be considered great or memorable. *2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the style, and the ending. *1 Star – The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire.

  10. 4 out of 5

    J.S.

    John “Lucky” Luckadoo wanted to be a fighter pilot after the attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the United States into World War II. However, at 6'3" he was too tall to fit into the cockpit of the fighter planes, and he ended up flying a B-17 bomber from the countryside of England to German targets on the continent. As a crewmember of a bomber, all you had to do was complete 25 missions in order to be sent back home and assigned something else. Unfortunately, this was at a time when living through 10 John “Lucky” Luckadoo wanted to be a fighter pilot after the attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the United States into World War II. However, at 6'3" he was too tall to fit into the cockpit of the fighter planes, and he ended up flying a B-17 bomber from the countryside of England to German targets on the continent. As a crewmember of a bomber, all you had to do was complete 25 missions in order to be sent back home and assigned something else. Unfortunately, this was at a time when living through 10 missions meant you'd already beaten the odds and were on borrowed time. This is a very absorbing read of one man's experience as a bomber pilot in the European theater of WWII. It's not written like a standard history but is a much more personal account of one man's experience. I often wondered just how accurate the details were - and it's quite detailed - but that detailed viewpoint also brings more of a 'you-are-there' feeling. You feel the anxiety of flying through antiaircraft flak as it peppers the plane Lucky is flying, tearing holes in it and sometimes the human crew. You feel the stress of German fighters who challenge the massive formations of bombers. And it all makes it a rather difficult to put down book sometimes. However, the less formal writing isn't without its flaws, and I was a little annoyed at some references (like Chapter 12, which is October 1943 and it says "It looked like the fighters were aiming for the bombers like Japanese kamikazes." Kamikazes didn't happen until a year later.). Still, it was a fun and excellent read. (I received an advance electronic copy via NetGalley.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    The story of Second Lieutenant John “Lucky” Luckadoo, a B-17 pilot with the 100th Bomber Group in WWII. Lucky flew 25 raids from England to Europe in 1943, before the fighters obtained belly tanks that allowed them to escort the bombers for the entire mission. Most bomber crews were shot down within 8-10 missions. The chance of surviving through the 25th mission and earning a trip home was about 25%. Lucky lived up to his nickname and survived the war and is still alive and telling his story at The story of Second Lieutenant John “Lucky” Luckadoo, a B-17 pilot with the 100th Bomber Group in WWII. Lucky flew 25 raids from England to Europe in 1943, before the fighters obtained belly tanks that allowed them to escort the bombers for the entire mission. Most bomber crews were shot down within 8-10 missions. The chance of surviving through the 25th mission and earning a trip home was about 25%. Lucky lived up to his nickname and survived the war and is still alive and telling his story at age 99. The story is well written by a professional writer. It gives the inside story about bomber missions, including the extreme temperatures endured. One ball turret gunner had to urinate and suffered front bite when his rear end froze to the plexiglass turrent. He was awarded a Purple Heart but refused the medal because he didn’t want to have to explain how he got it. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    Major John "Lucky" Luckadoo was a WW II pilot who survived numerous missions. He, like so many veterans, rarely, or never, talked about their experiences. In an afterword, we hear his voice directly: While being terribly proud to have served my country when called upon in time of need, I now view armed conflict as a sad commentary on adversaries' failure to reach a reasonable resolution of their differences It might be argued that there was no being reasonable with Hitler then, just as there is no Major John "Lucky" Luckadoo was a WW II pilot who survived numerous missions. He, like so many veterans, rarely, or never, talked about their experiences. In an afterword, we hear his voice directly: While being terribly proud to have served my country when called upon in time of need, I now view armed conflict as a sad commentary on adversaries' failure to reach a reasonable resolution of their differences It might be argued that there was no being reasonable with Hitler then, just as there is no being reasonable with today's warmonger, sadly. That said, I do wish there had been more from Luckadoo directly, though I can understand why he might be reluctant to relive it all again. Mauer does a workmanlike job, at his best with carefully researched details about the planes and the missions. He's at his best when describing what it's like to be in the cockpit of a bomber under attack, while flying the skies. These passages were terrifically evocative. Less successful, I felt, was dealing with personalities, some of whom might be alive today. But for the reader who would like the vicarious thrill of danger in the cockpit of a bomber plane during that conflict, this is sure to make a gripping read. Copy provided by NetGalley

  13. 5 out of 5

    William Harris

    When I first encountered "Damn Lucky" by Kevin Maurer, provided to me in the form of an ARC by St. Martin's Press, I was somewhat taken aback because I have read extensively in this type of literature with very mixed results. However, I had expressed a willingness to read it, and my interest in the subject matter kept me going long enough to allow for a complete reading. The book traces the story of a young airman in the Army Air Corps during World War II from his training as a pilot to his even When I first encountered "Damn Lucky" by Kevin Maurer, provided to me in the form of an ARC by St. Martin's Press, I was somewhat taken aback because I have read extensively in this type of literature with very mixed results. However, I had expressed a willingness to read it, and my interest in the subject matter kept me going long enough to allow for a complete reading. The book traces the story of a young airman in the Army Air Corps during World War II from his training as a pilot to his eventual assignment to the Eighth Air Force in the European campaign against the Third Reich. The pilot in question, named John Luckadoo (predictably known as Lucky), dreamed of flying in fighters but eventually found himself as a copilot and then a lead pilot in a B-17 Flying Fortress. The most fascinating feature of the narrative, apart from the wealth of detail involving flight operations of these formidable aircraft in combat against the Luftwaffe, turned out to be the development of a hardened warrior from an idealistic and untried young man in the cauldron of horrific combat. Initially, Lucky thought of the war in terms of abstractions and the propaganda that was pervasive at the time, but as his experience mounted, he came to understand both his own nature and the true nature of the task he had trained for. He grew stoic and more than a little pessimistic about his mission and the underlying ethos of airpower as it was used in WWII. Nonetheless, like most of the the young men around him, he doggedly persevered in performing what he perceived as his duty even as he grew skeptical of both the weapons and doctrines that animated the Army Air Corps (and would persist to this day to some extent). Needless to say, his skepticism towards the doctrine of Strategic Bombing comes through loud and clear, and his character, by the end of his tour of duty, had been shaped by his experiences and his innate intelligence. For me, this was the most interesting part of the narrative. In Maurer's capable hands, the tale comes alive, and one leaves it saddened for the very human cost of war to those who do their duty in spite of their misgivings.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Terri Wangard

    Wow. Just, wow! This is one man’s story of what he did during World War II.John “Lucky” Luckadoo survived a tour of 25 B-17 missions with the 100th Bomb Group, nicknamed the Bloody Hundredth because so many were killed, captured, or wounded. Air combat was untested, with many decisions that were irrational. For example, many 100th copilots were switched to pilots because they were better than the pilots. They were replaced on their crews by flight schools grads who had no training on the B-17. In Wow. Just, wow! This is one man’s story of what he did during World War II.John “Lucky” Luckadoo survived a tour of 25 B-17 missions with the 100th Bomb Group, nicknamed the Bloody Hundredth because so many were killed, captured, or wounded. Air combat was untested, with many decisions that were irrational. For example, many 100th copilots were switched to pilots because they were better than the pilots. They were replaced on their crews by flight schools grads who had no training on the B-17. In Lucky’s case, he was resented by the rest of the crew and harassed by his fellow officers when they should have been a cohesive team. The pilot did nothing. This same aircraft commander delayed his crew’s departure to England because he was being treated for gonorrhea after sleeping around. Curtis LeMay was determined to bomb Berlin, and ordered the 100th to do it alone. Lucky’s squadron commander cowardly ordered Lucky to lead the suicide mission. Fortunately, weather forced a recall. The men were told they’d be killed, so just accept it and get on with it. What the Greatest Generation accomplished is amazing. Equally harrowing is Lucky’s belief that the freedoms bought by the Greatest Generation are now being squandered away. Highly recommended. Obviously, given the title, there is some language, but not excessive I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stanley Turner

    I would say Major Luckadoo was ‘Damn Lucky’, thus the title. As with millions of other young men John Luckadoo volunteers for the war effort. Since he has some college under his belt, he ends up with a commission and flying B-17 bombers. Life flying bombers was no luxury, just watch the ‘Twelve O’clock High’ movie. Luckadoo is one of the few to survive during the early days of the war effort. Maurer does an excellent job bringing out the challenges of flying bombers during the early part of the I would say Major Luckadoo was ‘Damn Lucky’, thus the title. As with millions of other young men John Luckadoo volunteers for the war effort. Since he has some college under his belt, he ends up with a commission and flying B-17 bombers. Life flying bombers was no luxury, just watch the ‘Twelve O’clock High’ movie. Luckadoo is one of the few to survive during the early days of the war effort. Maurer does an excellent job bringing out the challenges of flying bombers during the early part of the war. Over all an excellent work. Highly recommended…SLT

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    This is an interesting story about an average young guy who went off to war and learned first-hand the meaning of the word courage. It’s a worthwhile story that tracks how he matures from being nice but rudderless, to becoming a man who just wants to survive long enough to make it home. I definitely respect him for what he went through. This book, however, needs some rewriting. Rewriting for continuity, clarity, and flow as well as more than a few aviation corrections. I spent many years of my li This is an interesting story about an average young guy who went off to war and learned first-hand the meaning of the word courage. It’s a worthwhile story that tracks how he matures from being nice but rudderless, to becoming a man who just wants to survive long enough to make it home. I definitely respect him for what he went through. This book, however, needs some rewriting. Rewriting for continuity, clarity, and flow as well as more than a few aviation corrections. I spent many years of my life as a flight instructor and worked as an airline pilot… so some things I saw in the text really jumped out at me. At the very beginning the nosewheel landing gear is mentioned. “Gear,” not “gears.” Also it’s a “pre-flight walk around” not a “pre-flight walk.” These could’ve been typos. But at about 9% of the manuscript it is stated that Lucky failed his “controlled stalls.” What? There are power-on stalls, power-off stalls, accelerated stalls, and if you are doing aerobatics, Hammerhead stalls. Reading the text later, it sounds like a power-on stall was performed by “Blackie,” Lucky’s pinch-hitter instructor. An “uncontrolled” stall will result in a spin and that can be fatal if you don’t do a proper recovery. The description of stopping a spin is terrible. You DO NOT need to build up speed to stop a spin! You pull back the power smoothly while stepping on the correct rudder to stop the spin, (depends on the direction of the spin!) then SMOOTHLY apply back pressure to return to straight and level flight while watching your airspeed and NOT over-stressing the aircraft. Then you apply power as required. Likewise, the text stating that he kicked the left rudder to break a spin to the left is incorrect. In some aircraft it might result in your becoming inverted (bad idea). There is a common yet egregious mistake at about 10% of the book that said that that during the stall maneuver “the engine stalled.” NO NO NO! The engine is just fine. What happens is that the laminar airflow separates from the airfoil, (wing) and the airfoil is no longer producing lift. That HAS to be corrected. Of the more minor issues in the beginning of the book, is that at 4% of the book, the heading is “June 1940,” but the narrative starts talking about December 7, 1941. Confusing. Also near the beginning, at about 8% of the book, Lucky is in college and is 19 in 1941, but in the next chapter it is 1942 and it says that he had been dreaming about being a pilot “since his college days.” Isn’t he still in college? Later, Lucky taxis out to the end of the runway before his flight with Blackie and then calls the tower. A slight rewrite would be good as I’m not sure that the author meant that Lucky’s plane was actually ON the end of the runway or waiting to taxi ONTO the runway. (This is pretty minor.) I found it interesting that the full name was given of the lead pilot on Lucky’s crew that got gonorrhea from a member of the British WAAF during the stay in Canada. Sweet! Somewhere in middle America his grandkids are discovering that grandpa got the clap during the war. A book with a hidden surprise inside. I felt that comparing the ball turret on the B-17 to a single testicle was amateurish. I don’t think you’re going to attract the 18-34 crowd that likes that sort of description with a book on WWII. The author made a lot of assertions with which historians would argue. The Allied bombers didn’t have JUST German Fighter planes to worry about, they had the Wehrmacht (mainly des Heeres (the army)) anti-aircraft artillery to contend with too, as seen later in the narrative. I thought it a precarious position for the author to state that “…there was no other battlefield in World War II more hostile than the skies over the Third Reich….” I think the Battle for Stalingrad would top it. As far as battles involving the U.S., the Battle of the Bulge is a contender for #1. The chapter on Sully was good and Chapter 10 was interesting. Also, the “birth of the checklist” story was good. To add detail to what was in the book, on October 30, 1935 a prototype Boeing Model 299, the future B-17, crashed on takeoff from Wright Field, Ohio. Military aviator and test pilot Maj. Ployer Peter Hill was killed and others were taken to the hospital. Boeing test pilot and observer Les Tower died later. The author states at about 85% of the manuscript that the V in V-1 Rocket is a “so-called vengeance weapon.” Actually the V stand for Vergeltungswaffen. This translates as Vergeltungs = Vengeance and Waffen = Weapons. Literally a Vengeance Weapon. Also around 85%, the Dampferzeuger’s description needs to be reworked. It was more of a steam-powered catapult that launched the V-1 Rocket up a ramp that was a part of the system. It was not water steam, it was high-pressure steam generated by mixing hydrogen peroxide and sodium permanganate. Finally, the part at about 85% that talks about when the V-1 was first used against London needs to be changed. The first use of the V-1 Rocket against London was on June 13, 1944. Lucky’s raid at this point in the narrative is BEFORE this (February if I recall correctly). One would think from the wording that the V-1 had already been used to terrorize London. With some corrections, the chapters from about Chapter 8 on flow fairly well. The beginning chapters are a little bit choppy. The narrative hops backwards and forwards in time, as well as pausing for historical narrative. The historical aspect can be helpful but the transitions are a bit rough throughout. Also, many things are stated repeatedly such as how small the ball gun turret on the tail was. I really did like the afterward written by Lucky. It was well-thought-out and well-written. It should be read by everyone. A thank you to St. Martin’s Press, Kevin Maurer, and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book pre-publication. I received nothing for my review and my opinions are my own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Toni Osborne

    One Man’s Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History This is a well-crafted biography of “Lucky” Luckadoo ‘s experiences during WW11 as a bomber pilot flying over Nazi-occupied France and Germany in 1943. Drawing from extensive interviews with 99 years old Lucky at the time of the writing, journalist Kevin Maurer recounts each mission in cinematic details and the emotional toll it took by the air war. Lucky and his team Eight Air Force 100th Bomb Group conducted high-altit One Man’s Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History This is a well-crafted biography of “Lucky” Luckadoo ‘s experiences during WW11 as a bomber pilot flying over Nazi-occupied France and Germany in 1943. Drawing from extensive interviews with 99 years old Lucky at the time of the writing, journalist Kevin Maurer recounts each mission in cinematic details and the emotional toll it took by the air war. Lucky and his team Eight Air Force 100th Bomb Group conducted high-altitude bombing. 25 missions must be completed before their tour of duty ended. Statistics shown chances of survival were 1 in 10. They actually lived on borrowed time. Lucky’s Group known as the “Bloody Hundredth” suffered high casualties. Of the 40 men from his flying class that served in the 100th Bomb Group, only four completed a tour. They experienced terrible things and saw terrible things happen. Lucky was grateful to have survived. This firsthand account not only uncovers astonishing feats of bravery it also represents an incredible portrait of a young man’s coming-of-age during the world’s most devastating war. Mr. Mauner delivers an account with style; his words are clear, loud and lively. This engaging read is well-thought out, well-written and flows well. I loved passing time with this incredibly precise memory. On a side note (not included in this book): March 2022, John “Lucky” Luckadoo, the last survivor of WW11 bombing group celebrated his 100th birthday. I wish to express my thanks to St-Martin Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

    Thanks to St. Martin Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The story follows Second Lieutenant John “Lucky” Luckadoo, a naive 21 year old boy from Chattanooga, Tennessee who enlisted in the Army Air Corps wanting to be a pilot and looking at war as a grand adventure. It follows him through flight training and very minimal training in a B-17 heavy four engine bomber. He went from there to an Eighth Air Force’s 100th Bomb Group base in En Thanks to St. Martin Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The story follows Second Lieutenant John “Lucky” Luckadoo, a naive 21 year old boy from Chattanooga, Tennessee who enlisted in the Army Air Corps wanting to be a pilot and looking at war as a grand adventure. It follows him through flight training and very minimal training in a B-17 heavy four engine bomber. He went from there to an Eighth Air Force’s 100th Bomb Group base in England and straight into the bloodiest airwar in history. Lucky’s view of war as an adventure was quickly wiped away in his first clash with the German Luftwaffe fighters and with the clouds of deadly flak that blanketed their targets. And then there was the stress of being responsible for the lives of nine other crewmen as a pilot/co-pilot. At that time air crews had to complete 25 missions before they could be sent home. From the publisher: “The statistical chances for a heavy Bomber crew in Europe to be lost on a mission were 1-in-10. At a 25-mission tour of duty, statistically, once a flyer made it to 10 missions they were literally on borrowed time. Anyone who served a full tour and survived was remarkably lucky.” The author does an excellent job of providing details on life and death in a B-17, from the routine to the nightmare of battle. His descriptions of the battles in the air over France and Germany are vivid. The once naive Lucky describes how he now expected to die with every mission. One raid against Bremen, Germany was one of he darkest days in the history of the Eighth Air Force. In Lucky’s squadron 13 planes entered the mission and only 6 returned, many of those badly shot up. In another only one plane out of ten returned, and it landed as it’s last remaining engine expired. The courage that it took for these men to fly a mission when they knew their chances of returning were so low is incredible. Their chances of dying or becoming prisoners of war in a German stalag were greater than the chance of returning to base. And they had to endure that mission after mission. I cannot imagine being in their shoes. To have survived 25 missions, Lucky indeed lived up to his name. I highly recommend this book both for it’s description of the more mundane facts of military life such training, the duties of the crew of a B-17 and life at an airbase in England, but also for it’s incredibly vivid portrayal of aerial combat in skies of World War II.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christy Martin

    Yes, Second Lieutenant John "Lucky" Luckadoo is "Damn Lucky" to have survived World War II. Luckadoo, raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was at first too young to volunteer to be a pilot in World War II, but by the time Pearl Harbor was bombed he volunteered to be one of the thousands of young men that would train in a multitude of jobs in support of the air war in Europe. His story is amazing. After training, he was sent to England as a pilot/copilot of the B-17s. B-17s were the heavy bombers th Yes, Second Lieutenant John "Lucky" Luckadoo is "Damn Lucky" to have survived World War II. Luckadoo, raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was at first too young to volunteer to be a pilot in World War II, but by the time Pearl Harbor was bombed he volunteered to be one of the thousands of young men that would train in a multitude of jobs in support of the air war in Europe. His story is amazing. After training, he was sent to England as a pilot/copilot of the B-17s. B-17s were the heavy bombers that flew the skies of Europe seeking and destroying targets that the Allies deemed .essential to the Natzi regime. Including the pilots, the B-17 carried a nine-man crew that consisted of two pilots, one navigator, one bombardier, and three machine gunners, and of course the heavy bombs. The safety of all those men was in the hands of the young pilots. The odds were against them. One in ten of the aircraft was lost. Crews were required to complete twenty-five missions to return home. With that percentage, most didn't make it back. Lucky's story is incredible and author Kevin Maurer does an amazing job recounting the journey of young John Luckadoo. His narrative brings to life the raw descriptions of the challenges of young men fighting to remain in the sky as they bravely did their jobs. It is also the sad story of the United States at war, fighting it from the air, losing and injuring young men. It is the description of what flak, rockets, and artillery fire do even to a monster of a plane like the B-17. It is the struggle of young pilots grabbling with gravity, fuel, and fire as they fly the skies that were dominated by experienced German pilots determined to kill them. It is also the story of survival and victory, the return home, and the memories of a world war that tested a generation's mettle. This is a story worth telling and worth reading for we all must remember what this type of war does to a nation and its young people who are the pilots and soldiers. Yes, John Luckadoo was "Damn Lucky" but not only are we lucky, be we are honored to read this tale of bravery and honor. Thanks to John Luckadoo for his service and sacrifice and to Kevin Maurier for writing this well-documented story. Also thanks to #DamnLucky#NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this amazing book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    The Greatest Generation really seems to have been made out of different stuff. There were parts of this memoir that had me clenching my teeth. I've read a lot of books and accounts of WW2, including ones centered around the air defenses. I have never read a firsthand account of a pilot before. Harrowing is not an adequate word. Whether books or movies, I try to put myself in the place of the storyteller and imagine how I would feel in the same position. I have no idea how to begin to wrap my bra The Greatest Generation really seems to have been made out of different stuff. There were parts of this memoir that had me clenching my teeth. I've read a lot of books and accounts of WW2, including ones centered around the air defenses. I have never read a firsthand account of a pilot before. Harrowing is not an adequate word. Whether books or movies, I try to put myself in the place of the storyteller and imagine how I would feel in the same position. I have no idea how to begin to wrap my brain about what they faced every day. The prospect of war and being shot at is bad enough, but when you take all of that and put yourself tens of thousands of feet in the air in an airplane that is not pressurized or insulated or really adequately protected against the threat... I have no idea how anyone could mentally survive 25 missions.. or 30. Forget about being drafted. I could not imagine volunteering for something like that. I'm grateful that they did because I also cannot fathom a world where the Nazis won, but I cannot really envision myself in their shoes. The Afterword was probably one of the best parts of the book. To read Lucky's own take was incredible and also heartbreaking. After just reading everything he had volunteered to go through to defeat fascism, and then know he is spending his final years with the knowledge that America has forgotten who she is and spiraling toward yet another pointless war is just... indescribable. I agree with his sentiments about the futility of war. I wish there was a way to turn it around.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    I received a free electronic copy of Damn Lucky from Netgalley, Kevin Maurer, and St. Martin's Press. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read the details of this historical event of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. Both my husband and I thoroughly absorbed this work. I am pleased to recommend it to friends and family. In Damn Lucky, we ride in the cockpit and on other less commodious seats contained in the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber I received a free electronic copy of Damn Lucky from Netgalley, Kevin Maurer, and St. Martin's Press. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read the details of this historical event of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. Both my husband and I thoroughly absorbed this work. I am pleased to recommend it to friends and family. In Damn Lucky, we ride in the cockpit and on other less commodious seats contained in the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber in the skies over Germany from the summer of 1943 through the end of WWII. Damn Lucky is more like a diary of the pilot in that each section of the mission is broken down into what happened, what German pilots did, what Lucky did, and the repercussions of those actions. Kevin Maurer takes us there and tells it like it was. I think I got a clearer picture of the individual sacrifices made by our military aviators from this novel than I did in all my previous readings covering this time frame. This is an excellent book to add to your WWII knowledge base. Maurer is an author I will want to follow. Netgalley pub date April 19, 2022 St Martin's Press Reviewed on April 20, 2022, on Goodreads, AmazonSmile, Barnes&Noble, Netgalley, BookBub, and Kobo.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christina Dudley

    Pretty riveting true story of one man's experiences in the Army Air Corps during WWII. This is not an overarching history but more of a glorified, expanded memoir (told in the 3rd person, except for one distracting paragraph). If you enjoy the period and adventure stories, this one is for you! I feel like I've read plenty of naval aviator histories, so Luckadoo's experiences with the "Flying Fortress" were new territory. Pretty riveting true story of one man's experiences in the Army Air Corps during WWII. This is not an overarching history but more of a glorified, expanded memoir (told in the 3rd person, except for one distracting paragraph). If you enjoy the period and adventure stories, this one is for you! I feel like I've read plenty of naval aviator histories, so Luckadoo's experiences with the "Flying Fortress" were new territory.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ron Baumer

    A truly inspirational book about one mans struggle to survive the bombing campaign against Germany in WW2. The first hand accounts of the missions and the crew members struggles was deeply moving and really held my attention. A must read book. Thank you to #NetGalley and St. Martins Publishing Group for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Margot Frye

    I received this book as an ARC and this is my review. This story is a detailed behind-the- scenes look at an American pilot who flew bombers in WWII - the story is exciting and filled with exploits and escapes. I totally recommend it to any reader who enjoys personal, gritty adventures filled with battles and challenges.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I definitely recommend thia book to those interested in military history. This is a memoir for John "Lucky" Luckadoo. It chronicles his journey from a regular young guy in Chattanooga to training as a pilot to fighting in the European air war. There's descriptions of air battles that made me feel like I was a close spectator. We see Lucky as he goes from a naive excited young guy who thinks being a pilot in the air force is very glamorous and exciting. Then as the war goes on, that initial excit I definitely recommend thia book to those interested in military history. This is a memoir for John "Lucky" Luckadoo. It chronicles his journey from a regular young guy in Chattanooga to training as a pilot to fighting in the European air war. There's descriptions of air battles that made me feel like I was a close spectator. We see Lucky as he goes from a naive excited young guy who thinks being a pilot in the air force is very glamorous and exciting. Then as the war goes on, that initial excitement turns to just wanting to finish 25 missions so he can go home. He has to battle fear everytime he steps into a cockpit. It must be noted that Lucky is part of the Bloody Hundred, a military unit that got its nickname from having a really high casualty rate. I listened to the audiobook and it features a bonus conversation between the author and Lucky himself at the end. It's wonderful to hear the man himself as they talked about how the book came about. It's also quite poignant as Lucky talk about finally opening up about his war experience in hopes that the current and future generations would learn and live together to avoid war and conflicts in the future. There's not a lot of these World War II veterans left now and memoirs like this are good reminders of what had to be done to help preserve our current freedoms.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nic

    Many, many thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of this memoir. “We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naïve and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives.” During WWII, the skies over Europe were a terrible and deadly place to serve during the Second World War. American bomber crews in particular suffered high losses because their bombing raids took pl Many, many thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of this memoir. “We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naïve and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives.” During WWII, the skies over Europe were a terrible and deadly place to serve during the Second World War. American bomber crews in particular suffered high losses because their bombing raids took place in broad daylight. I do not think there is anything equivalent today to what the men who flew daylight bombing raids over Europe during WWII endured. They climbed into a tin can and flew for hours in bone-chilling temperatures only to find German fighters and deadly flak waiting for them. Early on, they did not have Allied fighter planes, “little friends,” that could accompany them. They relied on the firepower of their Flying Fortresses’ guns and a lot of prayer. They watched friends and comrades shot down. Fortresses fell from the sky or exploded with such force that they seemed to disintegrate in mid-air, many with crew still trapped inside. Those who made it back to English soil knew only one thing: that until they completed the required 25 missions, they would be flying into the same hell day after day, never knowing if that was the day their ticket would be punched by flak or by the Luftwaffe. John “Lucky” Luckadoo was first a B-17 co-pilot and later a pilot in the 100th Bomb Group, a group that would suffer some of the worst losses of the air war over Europe. In October 1943, over a three-day period, the 100th lost 87 Flying Fortresses and almost 900 men. Lucky flew through it all. His memoir is not only a tribute to those who were lost and those who accomplished their missions and came home, but it also tells of the terrible mental and emotional toll that such missions had on the crews who flew them. Lucky recounts the terrible attacks on their formations by German fighter planes, such as the Focke-Wulf 190s and Messerschmitt 109s, how they seemed to slice right through the tightly arranged B-17s, how he watched other B-17s begin to crash while his crew tried to count how many parachutes floated from the doomed bomber. He watched friends die, saw entire crews obliterated in explosions, and later sat through debriefings listening to how many 100th Bomb group planes and crews didn’t make it back. “No memorial service. No closure. The casualties were too numerous to stop and mourn everyone, leaving those still fighting to continue onward.” I think every American should have to read an account of a B-17 crewman in the air war over Europe. What these men did was so important to the war, to Allied Victory, and to the freedom of every person lucky enough to grow up in this country. People need to understand the toll that victory took on the men who carried out those missions. They need to know what those men sacrificed for this country and its people. Lucky’s memoir is an excellent account of this. I think the part that struck me the most is the Afterword written by Lucky himself. He talks of the terrible things going on in this country today, of how divided we are, and asks us to remember that we are Americans first and to not squander the sacrifices made by his generation. I couldn’t agree with him more. After reading his Afterword, I did wish that he had written the memoir himself, from his own first personal point of view. I think it would have been even more gripping and impactful. There were a few minor things I questioned, like why the loss of his first B-17 was mentioned as an afterthought and not something discussed when it happened, and I wondered about some of the stories of other planes and crews that, until that point had never been mentioned before and were not mentioned again. Their accounts almost seemed out of place, but perhaps they were included by request of John Luckadoo. However, these are very minor things, and overall, I very much enjoyed reading about Lucky's service. I am glad this account has been recorded and that we will have it as a part of our history, so that we can always remember what Lucky and his generation did for us. If you would like to learn more about the 100th Bomb Group, please visit: https://www.100thbg.com/

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steven Netter

    Damn Lucky is a compelling and thrilling story that puts you inside a B-17 bomber while it flies dangerous missions in Europe during WWII. It's a heart-pumping and heart-wrenching account about how ordinary men signed up to do the extraordinary in order to bring the fight to the Nazis. This book focuses on the life and career of B-17 "Flying Fortress" pilot Second Lieutenant John "Lucky" Luckadoo and his exploits during WWII. The reader is along for the ride as Lucky enlists, goes through trainin Damn Lucky is a compelling and thrilling story that puts you inside a B-17 bomber while it flies dangerous missions in Europe during WWII. It's a heart-pumping and heart-wrenching account about how ordinary men signed up to do the extraordinary in order to bring the fight to the Nazis. This book focuses on the life and career of B-17 "Flying Fortress" pilot Second Lieutenant John "Lucky" Luckadoo and his exploits during WWII. The reader is along for the ride as Lucky enlists, goes through training, gets shipped off to the United Kingdom and flies mission after mission into the teeth of the enemy. Attempting to buck the odds and get to 25 missions in order to complete his requirements and get sent home, Lucky faces harrowing flights through German anti-aircraft flak while dodging German fighters in order to drop his payload on the designated target. It's an astonishing look at what the pilots and crew had to endure and how they drum up the courage to keep putting themselves in harms way when in all likelihood they will be killed or taken prisoner. Highly recommend this book. I've read a lot of WWII nonfiction and this one is up there with the best. A fascinating story about a tremendous individual.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Thus Kvothe The Raven

    War is hell. Except air war, which is flying hell. Maurer tells the story of one WW2 B-17 pilot and his experiences in the skies over Europe. 2nd Lt. (at the time) John Luckadoo lost many compatriots to the aerial battles he was involved in, yet he survived. A non-fiction biography, “Damn Lucky” illustrates both the dangers faced by bomber crews and the make-up of their non-combat lives. It is well told by Maurer from a series of interviews with Maj. (ret.) Luckadoo, who still lives. I rate this b War is hell. Except air war, which is flying hell. Maurer tells the story of one WW2 B-17 pilot and his experiences in the skies over Europe. 2nd Lt. (at the time) John Luckadoo lost many compatriots to the aerial battles he was involved in, yet he survived. A non-fiction biography, “Damn Lucky” illustrates both the dangers faced by bomber crews and the make-up of their non-combat lives. It is well told by Maurer from a series of interviews with Maj. (ret.) Luckadoo, who still lives. I rate this book 4 stars. While there are areas that are romanticized, “Damn Lucky” takes an honest look at what life was like for B-17 crews. My memory of having once met a B-17 pilot was recalled; I now have even more respect for him and his fellow airmen. My thanks to St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Just staying alive doing daylight raids over Europe in these huge bombers made them into heroes. This is an amazing transformation of a bomber pilot's memoirs into a readable/comprehensible format is filled with demonstrable historical facts from other sources as well. The amount of detail that is served up as if to pilots is astonishingly understandable to this nonpilot. Too many of the pilots and crew were served up as cannon fodder, just like any war ever. Good reading, but one could wish that Just staying alive doing daylight raids over Europe in these huge bombers made them into heroes. This is an amazing transformation of a bomber pilot's memoirs into a readable/comprehensible format is filled with demonstrable historical facts from other sources as well. The amount of detail that is served up as if to pilots is astonishingly understandable to this nonpilot. Too many of the pilots and crew were served up as cannon fodder, just like any war ever. Good reading, but one could wish that it was fiction. I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Grace (Azrael865)

    This amazing biography of John "Lucky" Luckadoo, is gripping from start to finish. Fighter pilots were the romanticized career of the time, Lucky and his friend Sully wanted to be one. WWII was still gearing up and Lucky was unable to enlist with Sully because at his age (18) he needed his father's concent. Then Pearl Harbor was attacked and Lucky was on his way to becoming an Army pilot, but not as a fighter pilot. He was assigned to be a bomber pilot instead. From here on Lucky's story is a This amazing biography of John "Lucky" Luckadoo, is gripping from start to finish. Fighter pilots were the romanticized career of the time, Lucky and his friend Sully wanted to be one. WWII was still gearing up and Lucky was unable to enlist with Sully because at his age (18) he needed his father's concent. Then Pearl Harbor was attacked and Lucky was on his way to becoming an Army pilot, but not as a fighter pilot. He was assigned to be a bomber pilot instead. From here on Lucky's story is a fight to survive the odds and make it home. After 25 missions bomber crews tour of duty was considered over, because most didn't live to see the end of 25. This biography is full of fascinating details of the time and reads more like a novel that a documentary. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Despite his humble arrived about what he didbin the War, Lucky is a hero. He just celebrated his 100th birthday. I enjoyed his personal note at the end of the book as well. Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for the opportunity to experience this e-ARC biography. And Happy Birthday 3/16/22, Lucky and thank-you for allowing your storybto be told.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...