100 books like Combat Crew

By John Comer,

Here are 100 books that Combat Crew fans have personally recommended if you like Combat Crew. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Fly for Your Life: The Story of R. R. Stanford Tuck

Jay A. Stout Author Of Jayhawk: Love, Loss, Liberation, and Terror Over the Pacific

From my list on personal accounts of World War II air combat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an aviation historian and writer, a defense analyst, and a retired, combat-experienced, Marine Corps fighter pilot. I am one of the lucky ones. Since early childhood, I wanted nothing more than to become a fighter pilot. It was a combination of good fortune, hard work, and a bit of talent that made it possible for me to realize that dream. I was inspired by the memoirs and recollections of World War II fighter pilots, and I read every book on the topic that I could find.  Following my military service, I transitioned from a reader to a writer; my experience as a military pilot helps to make my books real and credible.

Jay's book list on personal accounts of World War II air combat

Jay A. Stout Why did Jay love this book?

A classic biography about one of the Royal Air Force’s most colorful fighter pilots during the early part of the war.  Robert Stanford Tuck was born into a wealthy family, but had an individualistic spirit that was sometimes at odds with that family.  Prior to the war, he went to sea aboard a tramp steamer where he did much growing up. Upon his return, he was drawn to the excitement of flight and joined the Royal Air Force. Not an intrinsically gifted pilot, he nearly washed out of training, but ultimately flourished. He excelled as a leader as one of the “few” during the Battle of Britain. 

By Larry Forrester,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fly for Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a magnificent pilot, a reckless, steely-nerved warrior of the sky, feared by the Luftwaffe and known as a legend in the Royal Air Force Fighter Command. He was shot down four times, wounded twice, crash landed in the Channel, and survived two air collisions. Officially, he bagged 29 enemy planes. Unofficially, he destroyed 35. He won the Distinguished Service Order and was only the second man in history to gain a second bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was a national hero recognized by his King, his Queen, and the people of the world.…


Book cover of Flights of Passage: Recollections of a World War II Aviator

Jay A. Stout Author Of Jayhawk: Love, Loss, Liberation, and Terror Over the Pacific

From my list on personal accounts of World War II air combat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an aviation historian and writer, a defense analyst, and a retired, combat-experienced, Marine Corps fighter pilot. I am one of the lucky ones. Since early childhood, I wanted nothing more than to become a fighter pilot. It was a combination of good fortune, hard work, and a bit of talent that made it possible for me to realize that dream. I was inspired by the memoirs and recollections of World War II fighter pilots, and I read every book on the topic that I could find.  Following my military service, I transitioned from a reader to a writer; my experience as a military pilot helps to make my books real and credible.

Jay's book list on personal accounts of World War II air combat

Jay A. Stout Why did Jay love this book?

Perhaps the very best crafted book of this selection, this is a remarkable story about a relatively unremarkable combat career.  Samuel Hynes—who later taught at Northwestern and Princeton—gives the reader not just a rote recounting of his experiences as a Marine Corps pilot during the war, but he also shares what and how he felt. He is unwaveringly honest, and includes an account of a sexual encounter that at the very least causes the reader to reflect on the morals of that time. His book is a refreshing look behind the façade of “The Greatest Generation,” and reassures the reader that, other than circumstances, there is little that distinguishes individuals from one generation to the next.

By Samuel Hynes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flights of Passage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Samuel Hynes served as a consultant on "The War", directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and appears on camera in several episodes.

"The War" is a seven-part, 14-hour documentary series that debuts on PBS on Sunday, September 23, 2007.

Sam Hynes was eighteen when he left his Minnesota home for navy flight school in 1943. By the time the war ended he was a veteran Marine pilot, still not quite twenty-one, and had flown more than a hundred missions in the Pacific theater. In this eloquent narrative, by turns dramatic, funny, and elegiac, Hynes recalls those extraordinary…


Book cover of God is My Co-Pilot

Jay A. Stout Author Of Jayhawk: Love, Loss, Liberation, and Terror Over the Pacific

From my list on personal accounts of World War II air combat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an aviation historian and writer, a defense analyst, and a retired, combat-experienced, Marine Corps fighter pilot. I am one of the lucky ones. Since early childhood, I wanted nothing more than to become a fighter pilot. It was a combination of good fortune, hard work, and a bit of talent that made it possible for me to realize that dream. I was inspired by the memoirs and recollections of World War II fighter pilots, and I read every book on the topic that I could find.  Following my military service, I transitioned from a reader to a writer; my experience as a military pilot helps to make my books real and credible.

Jay's book list on personal accounts of World War II air combat

Jay A. Stout Why did Jay love this book?

The archetypal combat flying story, this is an easy, fun, and eye-opening book that Scott wrote only months after returning from the war. Scott clearly loved to fly and had done so since the early 1930s after graduating from West Point. Resourceful and tenacious, he received command of a fighter group in China after having been officially told the previous year that he was too old (at the ripe old age of 33) to fly fighters. This is a rollicking read that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

By Robert L. Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God is My Co-Pilot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book was issued during World War II, in conformity with all government regulations controlling the use of paper and other materials (so stated on copyright page). The author, Colonel Robert L. Scott, Jr., consistently scheduled himself as a pilot on all possible missions. He led all types of combat missions, but specialized in the most dangerous, such as long-range flights to strafe from minimum altitudes Jap airdromes, motor vehicles, and shipping deep in enemy territory. Colonel Scott’s group of fighters always operated against greatly superior numbers of the enemy. Often the odds were five to one against them. This…


Book cover of I Could Never Be So Lucky Again

Robert O. Harder Author Of First Crossing: The 1919 Trans-Atlantic Flight of Alcock and Brown

From my list on aviation history from a triple-rated pilot.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was old enough to get around under my own power, I wanted to be a pilot, a result of idol-worshiping my mother’s brother, Orvis M. Nelson, president of Transocean Airlines. His influence led to my being named a Distinguished Military Graduate in Air Force ROTC, navigator school (sadly, my eyes were slightly myopic), bombardier school (145 Vietnam War combat missions); then later a civilian private & commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings, and Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI). After settling for a business career rather than airline pilot, I now vicariously pursue my first love through writing.

Robert's book list on aviation history from a triple-rated pilot

Robert O. Harder Why did Robert love this book?

I doubt there is a flyer anywhere in the world who doesn’t know of Jimmy Doolittle. He did it all: stunt pilot, scientist, pioneer “blind-flyer,” Schneider Cup and Mackay trophy winner, first to perform an outside loop, Medal of Honor winner for the 1942 Tokyo Raid, and three-star general leading the Eighth Air Force against the Axis.

The writing is remarkably fluid (ably assisted by aviation writer C.V. Glines); Doolittle’s humility is always on display. We also learn of how critical his loving, understanding wife of seventy years, “Joe,” was to his success. In particular, she was instrumental in Jimmy earning his Ph.D in Aeronautical Engineering at M.I.T. One wonders how it all would have worked out without her!

By James H. Doolittle, Carroll V. Glines,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Could Never Be So Lucky Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pilot, scholar, daredevil, general . . . James "Jimmy" Doolittle was one of America\s greatest heroes. In a life filled with adventure and achievement, Doolittle did it all. As a stunt pilot, he thrilled the world with his aerial acrobatics. As a scientist, he pioneered the development of modern aviation technology. During World War II, he served his country as a fearless and innovative air warrior, organizing and leading the devastating raid against Japan. Now, for the first time, here is his life story - modest, revealing, and candid as only Doolittle himself can tell it. Doolittle tells a story…


Book cover of Masters of the Air: How The Bomber Boys Broke Down the Nazi War Machine

James B. Conroy Author Of The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War

From my list on making history live and breathe.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has enthralled me from a very young age, drawn as a child as I was to Vikings, cowboys and Indians, medieval knights, ancient conquerors, and mythological gods. After practicing law in Boston for 38 years, I retired to write history full time, not to string dates and facts together in a powder-dry mix but to try to breathe life into the vibrant men and women who enlivened their times and can shed a timeless light on the challenges of ours. Hard work though it is, I have never been so satisfied with life.

James' book list on making history live and breathe

James B. Conroy Why did James love this book?

I have read many excellent books about World War Two, but none has kept me shaking my head in awe like this stunning account of the decisive US bombing campaign against Germany. Masters of the Air is an intensely personal account of the impossibly brave men and boys – for boys they often were – who bombed Nazi Germany into defeat.

Most of them by far were wounded, killed, or imprisoned, often in appalling conditions, after bailing out of plunging aircraft. It is hard to imagine a more moving account of tenacious courage and unimaginable stress or a more thorough, intriguing presentation of the air war over Germany.

I could not get enough of this vivid, inspiring book.

By Donald L. Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Masters of the Air as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Seconds after Brady's plane was hit, the Hundredth's entire formation was broken up and scattered by swarms of single-engine planes, and by rockets launched by twin-engine planes that flew parallel'

Meet the Flying Fortresses of the American Eighth Air Force, Britain's Lancaster comrades, who helped to bring down the Nazis

Historian and World War II expert Donald Miller brings us the story of the bomber boys who brought the war to Hitler's doorstep. Unlike ground soldiers they slept on clean beds, drank beer in local pubs, and danced to the swing music of the travelling Air Force bands. But they…


Book cover of Instruments of Darkness: The History of Electronic Warfare, 1939-1945

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Blackbirds

From my list on the London Blitz and the bomber war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in London for eighteen years and acquired an abiding affection for my nation’s capital. I wanted to write a sequel to Bluebirds and jumped at the chance of giving Bryan Hale an adventure where he could walk the streets that I knew and loved. The scars caused on the fair face of London by sticks of Nazi bombs landing in ragged lines across the streets and terraces may still be discerned from the incongruity of the buildings that have since risen to fill the gaps. London heals and thrives. Ultimately, I believe every English writer harbours an ambition to write a London novel. I did, and I did.

Melvyn's book list on the London Blitz and the bomber war

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

British Radio Direction Finding stations (RDF), later to be dubbed Radar, with their iconic arrays of masts along England’s south coast, contributed greatly to the RAF’s success in the Battle of Britain by detecting approaching raids and giving early warning. Both sides in the European war possessed similar technologies operated from ground stations. The race to miniaturise RDF sets for airborne interception, once realised, would have devastating consequences for intruding bomber crews facing A.I. equipped night fighters over Britain and Germany. Price takes an even-handed approach in relating the development of these technologies in Britain, Germany, the US, and Japan, making this an absorbing and enjoyable read that demystifies an aspect of the war that is usually only mentioned in passing.

By Alfred Price,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Instruments of Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The rapid evolution of radio and radar systems for military use during World War II, and devices to counter them, led to a technological battle that neither the Axis nor the Allied powers could afford to lose. The result was a continual series of thrusts, parries, and counter-thrusts, as first one side then the other sought to wrest the initiative in the struggle to control the ether. This was a battle fought with strange-sounding weapons-"Freya," "Mandrel," "Boozer," and "Window"-and characterized by the bravery, self-sacrifice, and skill of those who took part in it. During the war, however, and for many…


Book cover of Paratrooper!: The Saga of the U. S. Army and Marine Parachute and Glider Combat Troops during World War II

Flint Whitlock Author Of If Chaos Reigns: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944

From my list on D-Day airborne operations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Flint Whitlock spent five years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army (1965-1970, including tours in West Germany and Vietnam), and is a qualified parachutist (Fort Benning, 1965). He has been an award-winning, full-time military historian since 2003, and has 14 books (mostly about WWII) to his credit. He has also been the editor of WWII Quarterly magazine since 2010 and gives battlefield tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and other organizations.

Flint's book list on D-Day airborne operations

Flint Whitlock Why did Flint love this book?

This large (718 pages) book covers the entire history of U.S. military parachute and glider operations—from the early evolution of the concept through landings in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, Southern France, Holland, Battle of the Bulge, Leyte, Manila, and Corregidor. Anyone wanting to appreciate the myriad American parachute and glider operations will find a wealth of information in Devlin’s book.

By William P. Yarborough, Gerald M. Devlin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Paratrooper! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Photographs and text document the bravery and daring exhibited by American parachute and glider combat forces and offer in-depth treatment of British, German, Japanese, Italian, and French parachute operations


Book cover of Night Airwar: Personal Recollections of the Conflict over Europe 1939-45

Jon Trigg Author Of The Air War Through German Eyes: How the Luftwaffe Lost the Skies over the Reich

From my list on the bombing of Nazi Germany–war miles in the sky!.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some of my first memories as a kid are of films and TV shows about World War Two; the theme tune and credits of The World At War TV series still haunt me even now. But to be honest, the bombing of Germany never gripped me as much as, say, the war in Russia, that is, until I started to read up on it. It was a revelation. Suddenly, I saw incredibly young men fighting to survive in the most hostile environment on the planet–or rather above the planet, miles above, in fact. To me, I find the war they fought alien, but at the same time so absorbing I lose myself in it.      

Jon's book list on the bombing of Nazi Germany–war miles in the sky!

Jon Trigg Why did Jon love this book?

The best thing about reading this book was that it shone a light–if you can forgive the pun–on the otherwise unseen world of the nighttime air battles over Germany.

Before I read it, I admit I thought of the night war as some sort of game of chess, somehow fought at a comfortable distance. Boiten’s book shredded that distance and brought me face-to-face with the reality of it all in a gratifyingly unsentimental way.

Perhaps the most powerful image it left me with was of young British (and allied) airmen suddenly being blown out of the sky by an enemy they all so often never saw until their aircraft was turned into a horrifying fireball.      

By Theo Boiten,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Night Airwar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The night airwar over Western Europe was a long, intensive and costly airwar campaign. Theo Boiten tells this often harrowing and sometimes inspiring story using the personal accounts of over 70 veterans from both sides. The book is illustrated with many rare and previously unpublished photographs from the personal collections of those veterans and forms a record of this important aspect of 20th-century history.


Book cover of Shot Down: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

Joy Neal Kidney Author Of What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

From my list on research of World War II casualties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the oldest granddaughter of Leora, who lost three sons during WWII. To learn what happened to them, I studied casualty and missing aircraft reports, missions reports, and read unit histories. I’ve corresponded with veterans who knew one of the brothers, who witnessed the bomber hit the water off New Guinea, and who accompanied one brother’s body home. I’m still in contact with the family members of two crew members on the bomber. The companion book, Leora’s Letters, is the family story of the five Wilson brothers who served, but only two came home.

Joy's book list on research of World War II casualties

Joy Neal Kidney Why did Joy love this book?

Howard Snyder’s B-17 and crew were part of the 8th Air Force, stationed in England. They were shot down in February of 1944 on the French/Belgium border. Two members of the crew of 10 were killed in the plane, some were rescued and in hiding, and some were captured.

The author, Howard Snyder’s son, not only researched what happened to his father, but also the rest of the crew. He contacted a former German pilot who shot down the Susan Ruth.

Howard Snyder was kept hidden by brave Belgians. Paul Delahaye was 13 years old when the Americans forced out the Germans. Delahaye made it his mission to make sure the Americans were never forgotten, building memorials and starting museums. Steve Snyder kept in touch with his father’s rescuers, visiting Belgium and meeting Paul Delahaye.

A remarkable story.

By Steve Snyder, John Maling (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shot Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of 20 national book awards, SHOT DOWN is set within the framework of World War II in Europe and recounts the dramatic experiences of each member of a ten man B-17 bomber crew after their plane, piloted by the author's father, was knocked out of the sky by German fighters over the French/Belgian border on February 8,1944.

Some men died. Some were captured and became prisoners of war. Some men evaded capture and were missing in action for months before making it back to England. Their individual stories and those of the courageous Belgian people who risked their lives…


Book cover of Franco and the Condor Legion: The Spanish Civil War in the Air

Christopher Othen Author Of Franco's International Brigades: Adventurers, Fascists, and Christian Crusaders in the Spanish Civil War

From my list on international intervention Spanish Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

Christopher Othen is the author of Franco’s International Brigades: Adventurers, Fascists, and Christian Crusaders in the Spanish Civil War (Hurst, 2013) and four other books on subjects such as French gangsters in Nazi Paris, mercenaries in post-colonial Africa, and political opposition to Islam in Europe and America. He lives in Eastern Europe and his day jobs have included journalist, legal representative for asylum seekers, and English language teacher. In off-the-clock adventures, he has interviewed retired mercenaries about forgotten wars and got drunk with an ex-mujahidin who knew Osama Bin Laden.

Christopher's book list on international intervention Spanish Civil War

Christopher Othen Why did Christopher love this book?

General Franco’s rebellion would never have stood a chance without the support of Nazi Germany. The rebels lacked airpower and Hitler was happy to supply some in the form of the Condor Legion, intended both to support Franco and give the fledgling Luftwaffe a taste of battle. The Legion’s most notorious action was the bombing of Guernica but Michael Alpert shows Germany’s influence on all aspects of the Spanish Civil War in his very readable and wide-ranging  book that also takes in Russian and Italian airborne intervention.

By Michael Alpert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Franco and the Condor Legion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Spanish Civil War was fought on land and at sea but also in an age of great interest in air warfare and the rapid development of warplanes. The war in Spain came a turning point in the development of military aircraft and was the arena in which new techniques of air war were rehearsed including high-speed dogfights, attacks on ships, bombing of civilian areas and tactical air-ground cooperation. At the heart of the air war were the Condor Legion, a unit composed of military personnel from Hitler's Germany who fought for Franco's Nationalists in Spain. In this book, Michael…


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