Monday, June 11, 2018

Review: Shot Down

Shot Down by Steve Snyder

My rating: 5 Stars


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 itself: 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.

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. 

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