100 books like One Wing High

By Harry Lomas,

Here are 100 books that One Wing High fans have personally recommended if you like One Wing High. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Tomorrow May Never Come: The Remarkable Life Story of ‘Stevie’ Stevens, Lancaster Pilot and Beloved School Teacher

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot's Story

From my list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I heard tales of my uncle Ken, an RCAF Halifax navigator, who was shot down over Berlin in January 1944. As an adult, I lived in Berlin while earning a PhD in History and left roses on my uncle’s grave. Now, I am retired, and with the noise of earning a living silenced, I can hear the voices of those who want their story told. Among them are men from Bomber Command who feel they have been ignored and disparaged in fictional writing about WWII. I hope to correct that injustice and depict them as people rather than symbols or victims.

Helena's book list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

There are many memoirs by members of Bomber Command, yet few convey the emotions and perspectives as intensely and authentically as this book, based largely on Stevie’s own diaries and other first-hand accounts.

Too often, memoirs are written long after the fact with the wisdom of hindsight. Alternatively, wartime diaries can be terse, cryptic, and lacking in emotion.

In sharp contrast, Stevie’s humanity and humor shine through in this book, making it a rare and unique window into the life of a poor boy who became one of those exceptional men to take to the skies in an effort to subdue a brutal enemy. 

Book cover of Bomber Pilot: Bomber Command Pilot Leonard Cheshire's Classic Second World War Memoir

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot's Story

From my list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I heard tales of my uncle Ken, an RCAF Halifax navigator, who was shot down over Berlin in January 1944. As an adult, I lived in Berlin while earning a PhD in History and left roses on my uncle’s grave. Now, I am retired, and with the noise of earning a living silenced, I can hear the voices of those who want their story told. Among them are men from Bomber Command who feel they have been ignored and disparaged in fictional writing about WWII. I hope to correct that injustice and depict them as people rather than symbols or victims.

Helena's book list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

Leonard Cheshire became the most highly decorated RAF officer of WWII — yet devoted the rest of his life to charity and trying to change the fate, status, and prospects for people with disabilities. This book, first published in 1943, was written before Cheshire became the CO of the famous “Dam-Busters” Squadron (#617).

It provides a fascinating glimpse into a young man caught in the conflagration we call the “Strategic Bombing Offensive.” Cheshire later regretted publishing this book, and it is said that members of the 617 Squadron who read it before his arrival were offended by it.

In short, among RAF aircrew, the book was controversial — which only makes it all the more interesting. It is a fascinating read.

By Leonard Cheshire, Robert Owen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leonard Cheshire was one of the most highly decorated pilots of the Second World War. As the Royal Air Force's youngest Group Captain in 1943, he took a drop in rank and went on to command No. 617 Squadron and pioneer low level marking and precision bombing. For this, together with four years of fighting against the bitterest opposition during which he maintained a record of outstanding personal achievement, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. In 1945 he was an official observer of the dropping of the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Post-war his humanitarian work on behalf of the…


Book cover of Keeping Watch: A WAAF in Bomber Command

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot's Story

From my list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I heard tales of my uncle Ken, an RCAF Halifax navigator, who was shot down over Berlin in January 1944. As an adult, I lived in Berlin while earning a PhD in History and left roses on my uncle’s grave. Now, I am retired, and with the noise of earning a living silenced, I can hear the voices of those who want their story told. Among them are men from Bomber Command who feel they have been ignored and disparaged in fictional writing about WWII. I hope to correct that injustice and depict them as people rather than symbols or victims.

Helena's book list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

The WAAF played a crucial role in the RAF generally and in Bomber Command particularly, yet far too little has been written about or by them. This is the rare exception.

As Ms. Beck says in her introduction, the book captures not the exceptional, unusual, or heroic, but rather the everyday life of WAAF serving at the operational stations of RAF Bomber Command.

What I liked best about this book was the complete absence of melodrama. It is a straightforward, honest account full of ‘trivia’ that makes it a treasure trove of detailed information — something invaluable to the novelist!

By Pip Beck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A sensitively written true story by an RAF Bomber Command wartime R/T operator who talked down the crews on their return from operations, met them off duty, and often mourned their loss within days.


Book cover of Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot's Story

From my list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I heard tales of my uncle Ken, an RCAF Halifax navigator, who was shot down over Berlin in January 1944. As an adult, I lived in Berlin while earning a PhD in History and left roses on my uncle’s grave. Now, I am retired, and with the noise of earning a living silenced, I can hear the voices of those who want their story told. Among them are men from Bomber Command who feel they have been ignored and disparaged in fictional writing about WWII. I hope to correct that injustice and depict them as people rather than symbols or victims.

Helena's book list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

Bishop’s Bomber Boys is a good, solid history full of facts, stats, and the bird’s eye view.

Bishop provides cogent summaries of the policy and command decisions, analyzes the social structure of the RAF, aircrew, and Bomber Command, and tackles a range of important issues topically.

For example, he has a chapter on crewing up, on “the chop,” the “crack up,” and “love in uniform,” among others. It also offers aircraft diagrams and maps, which can be very useful.

It is an excellent starting point for learning about the subject, providing useful context and framework to a researcher, although it cannot serve as a substitute for reading first-hand accounts. 

By Patrick Bishop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following on from his best-selling 'Fighter Boys', in this very different book, Patrick Bishop looks back at the lives, human realities and the extraordinary risks that the painfully young pilots took during the strategic air-offensive against Germany from 1940-1945.

In 'Fighter Boys' Patrick Bishop brought to life the pilots who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes in the summer of 1940. Their skill and bravery decided the Battle of Britain, which saved the nation from invasion and created the conditions for Hitler's defeat.

In 'Bomber Boys' he tells a different but equally fascinating story. The 125,000 men from all over the world…


Book cover of A Thousand Shall Fall

Mark Zuehlke Author Of Juno Beach: Canada's D-Day Victory -- June 6, 1944

From my list on Canadians on their World War 2 service.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the mid-1990s, I’ve written thirteen volumes in The Canadian Battles Series—more than a million words on the battles, campaigns, and experiences of my nation’s army during World War II. I started this because Canadians were usually no more than a footnote in the WWII histories written by American and British historians, despite having been the third-largest army serving alongside their armies in Italy and Northwest Europe. Realizing that the Canadian story would only be told if we wrote it ourselves, I embraced the task and continue to do so thirty years later.

Mark's book list on Canadians on their World War 2 service

Mark Zuehlke Why did Mark love this book?

As a pilot with Bomber Command, Murray Peden flew thirty combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. While many bomber veterans have written solid memoirs to their experiences, this book is also a fine examination of the Bomber Command Campaign. To my knowledge, no other memoir of Bomber Command garnered the praise of its British Commander, Royal Air Force Marshal, Sir Arthur (Bomber) Harris. “I consider it not only the best and most true to life ‘war’ book I’ve ever read about this war, but the best about all the wars of my lifetime,” Harris wrote. Not only does it relate the story of Bomber Command operations, but it authentically captures the flavour of life experienced by its aircrews both during missions and in the downtime between. Peden was a gifted writer with a mastery of language that combined with a keen ability as a witness to war…

By Murray Peden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thousand Shall Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the finest war memoirs ever written.

During World War II, Canada trained tens of thousands of airmen under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Those selected for Bomber Command operations went on to rain devastation upon the Third Reich in the great air battles over Europe, but their losses were high. German fighters and anti-aircraft guns took a terrifying toll. The chances of surviving a tour of duty as a bomber crew were almost nil.

Murray Peden's story of his training in Canada and England, and his crew's operations on Stirlings and Flying Fortresses with 214 Squadron, has…


Book cover of Eighth Passenger: A Flight of Recollection & Discovery

Sean Feast Author Of Halton Boys: True Tales from Pilots and Ground Crew Proud to be Called 'Trenchard Brats'

From my list on British Bomber Command in World War 2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sean Feast has been a journalist and PR professional for more than 35 years and is a Director of a global marketing consultancy, Gravity Global. He is the author and co-author of more than 20 books on Bomber Command (seven with Grub St) with a particular specialism in Pathfinder Force. He co-authored the books that went with the opening of the Bomber Command Memorial and the International Bomber Command Centre. He is a Trustee of the RAF Pathfinder Archive.

Sean's book list on British Bomber Command in World War 2

Sean Feast Why did Sean love this book?

My favourite autobiography is The Eighth Passenger by Miles Tripp. First published in 1969, the book charts the author’s journey to re-discover his former crewmates 30-years after they had last met and flown operations. He seeks to discover how they felt both then and now, and whether his experiences were shared. What really comes across is how extraordinarily ‘ordinary’ they all were, and yet how they gelled into an expert crew. One of their numbers is black, a rarity at the time and adding a certain significance today, and another proves particularly elusive such that you wonder whether he will ever be found. The author very cleverly weaves in the past and the present, their experiences as a Lancaster crew, and what happened after demob and a return to civilian life. It’s a very intelligent book that will ultimately lead you to the identity of The Eighth Passenger.

By Miles Tripp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a first-hand account of World War II combat-flying, enhanced by the addition of a series of notes in which the author reappraises, in the light of information learned since the first edition was published, some of the events described and the views expressed. Seven young men, brought together by chance from, almost literally, the four corners of the earth, wake up day after day - or are woken up in the middle of the night - fully aware that the odds on their seeing the sun rise again are not good. The author has been a novelist for…


Book cover of Pathfinder

Sean Feast Author Of Halton Boys: True Tales from Pilots and Ground Crew Proud to be Called 'Trenchard Brats'

From my list on British Bomber Command in World War 2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sean Feast has been a journalist and PR professional for more than 35 years and is a Director of a global marketing consultancy, Gravity Global. He is the author and co-author of more than 20 books on Bomber Command (seven with Grub St) with a particular specialism in Pathfinder Force. He co-authored the books that went with the opening of the Bomber Command Memorial and the International Bomber Command Centre. He is a Trustee of the RAF Pathfinder Archive.

Sean's book list on British Bomber Command in World War 2

Sean Feast Why did Sean love this book?

My personal favourite is the book by the man himself – Pathfinder by Air Vice Marshal Donald Bennett. No-one could be better placed to chart the history and success of PFF than the C-in-C 8 Group himself, and his brilliantly direct style and merciless assassination of some of his contemporaries makes me wince and smile every time I read it. His thinly veiled attacks on 5 Group, 617 Squadron and Sir Ralph Cochrane (whose name is misspelled throughout!) are well-worth reading, though he is rather economical with the truth on occasion to support his own arguments and prejudices. If you never knew about the conflict between Bennett and Cochrane, and how betrayed Bennett felt by Harris when the latter supported the 5 Group method of target marking later in the war, this will open your eyes. And see if you don’t laugh out loud as I did when Bennett says…

By Don Bennett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Air Vice-Marshal Don Bennett was one of the most outstanding figures of the 2nd World War and the creator and leader of the legendary Pathfinder Force of 8 Group. His record as a brilliant pilot and navigator made him the obvious choice as leader of the Pathfinders, the elite force designed to carry out pioneering target-marking and precision-bombing of Nazi-occupied Europe. From the date of its inception almost every RAF Main Force attack was led by the Pathfinders. Night after night they spearheaded Bomber Command's assault on major German targets using increasingly sophisticated devices including radar, to increase the efficiency…


Book cover of Malta 1940-42: The Axis' Air Battle for Mediterranean Supremacy

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Falcons

From my list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was seeking a direction for the third novel in the Bluebird series and my dates led me to Malta. Even as an avid reader of history, I knew shockingly little about the island’s tortuous punishment at the hands of Axis air forces. After much reading I was compelled to visit Malta myself, to tour the locations I would use, and ensure my fiction reflected the character of the landscape and the nature of the people that defended it so doggedly. Standing at Ta’Qali, where an airfield received in one single raid the same tonnage of bombs that crippled Coventry, I felt I’d been given permission.  

Melvyn's book list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

This compact, but detailed, history has been painstakingly researched from original Italian and German sources. The author explains the technical and tactical capabilities of the Axis air forces involved in the attacks on Malta and how their campaigns related to the wider Mediterranean war. We are treated to three full colour battle scenes painted by the renowned aviation artist, Graham Turner, as well as 3D tactical diagrams that recreate the airspace during key moments of the battle. The concise text is peppered with contemporary photos of the aircraft used, the personalities involved, and scenes on the ground. An essential handbook to fully understand the siege of Malta.

By Ryan K. Noppen, Graham Turner (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malta 1940-42 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1940, the strategically vital island of Malta was Britain's last toehold in the central Mediterranean, wreaking havoc among Axis shipping. Launching an air campaign to knock Malta out of the war, first Italy and then Germany sought to force a surrender or reduce the defences enough to allow an invasion. Drawing on original documents, multilingual aviation analyst Ryan Noppen explains how technical and tactical problems caused the original Italian air campaign of 1940-41 to fail, and then how the German intervention came close to knocking Malta out of the war. Using stunning full colour artwork, this fascinating book explains…


Book cover of RAF On the Offensive: The Rebirth of Tactical Air Power 1940-1941

Vic Flintham Author Of Close Call: RAF Close Air Support in the Mediterranean Volume II Sicily to Victory in Italy 1943-1945

From my list on modern military aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born in London at the height of the Blitz I am a retired NHS Director with a lifelong interest in military aviation. My first journal article, on the Suez Campaign, was published in 1965 since when I have written some 90 articles and eight books and have contributed chapters to several more. Most of my books are triggered by a challenge and I always try to cover ground hitherto ignored so that my books become a unique reference. Works in progress include a history of the RAF involvement in Greece from 1940 to 1950 and the work of the RAF between the wars. I live in Sherborne, Dorset, England.

Vic's book list on modern military aviation

Vic Flintham Why did Vic love this book?

Greg Baughen had written over a million words on the evolving role and functions of the Royal Air Force from its foundation in 1918 to the post-second world war period, then decided to find a publisher!

The work is thus published in a number of volumes this being the fourth. Never frightened to challenge conventional wisdom the author deals with the RAF and British Government’s preoccupation with strategic bombing at the cost of developing effective tactical air power. As he notes German occupation of much of Europe was accomplished on the ground with effective air support.

By Greg Baughen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Long before the start of the Second World War it had been believed that strategic bombing would be the deciding factor in any future conflict. Then Hitler launched the Blitzkrieg upon France and the Low Countries in 1940, and the much-vaunted French Army and the British Expeditionary Force were swept away in just six weeks.

This new form of warfare shook the Air Ministry, but the expected invasion never came and the Battle of Britain was fought in the air. It seemed that air forces operating independently could determine the course of the war. An Army scarcely seemed necessary for…


Book cover of First Light: The True Story of the Boy Who Became a Man in the War-Torn Skies above Britain

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Where Eagles Never Flew: A Battle of Britain Novel

From my list on the Battle of Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a retired diplomat and award-winning novelist with a PhD in history. I became fascinated by the Battle of Britain because of a visit to RAF Tangmere, a Battle of Britain airfield, when I was still a girl; that encounter captured my imagination for a lifetime. I read every book I could find, I spent hours in the Imperial War Museum gazing (and touching) the Spitfire. I purchased the memoirs of pilots, watched films, and interviews. I started writing a Battle of Britain novel while still at university, but it was 30 years before I released a book. Within weeks one of the few surviving aces, Wing Commander Bob Doe, wrote me that I had got it “smack on the way it was for us fighter pilots.” There can be no higher compliment to an author of historical fiction.  

Helena's book list on the Battle of Britain

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

First Light is also a memoir by a Battle of Britain veteran, but Wellum was not an ace. Wellum was a very young and very junior pilot during the Battle, and this book, written with the wisdom of hindsight by a mature Wellum, is more reflective and analytical than Deere’s account. That is its value. Wellum is a masterful writer and possesses a marked ability to evoke a mood. It is precisely because Wellum writes with mature understanding that he captures so well the innocence and naivety of his past self. This book does not educate one about the Battle of Britain, but it pulls you into the cockpit and the heart of a young man caught up in it. A wonderful read.

By Geoffrey Wellum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first-hand account of a 17-year-old Englishman who became an ace fighter pilot with the RAF, the youngest at the time, and flew Spitfires during the Battle of Britain.


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