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Serenade to the Big Bird by Bert Stiles
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Serenade to the Big Bird

by Bert Stiles

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Stiles was a young man going to college in Colorado and not going anywhere fast. He decided to join the Army Air Force and ended up as a co-pilot on B-17's flying over Occupied Europe. He kept a diary and he wrote this book after he flew 35 missions. Instead of going home on leave as he was entitled, he asked to be assigned to fighters and was. He was shot down in November, 1944 and killed.

In this memoir he describes missions but he also describes life in England for an American soldier. In his case, he loved England and describes his many trips into the countryside.

He did not appear to have a good relationship with his first plane commander who constantly criticized him in flight. His second pilot seemed to mesh with Stiles and they had a close successful relationship in the air for Stiles last 12 missions. This is a different description of air combat by a very sensitive individual who vividly describes the green fields of England or Germany as he flies over them. He did fly missions on D-Day and clearly describes his view of the armada of ships in the Channel and the bombing of bridges. etc. behind German lines. ( )
  lamour | Jan 21, 2015 |
One of the best aerial combat memoirs of World War II. ( )
  B-17Dave | Nov 9, 2010 |
Beautiful writing. The best, most human W.W.2 memoir I've ever read. ( )
  BOB81 | Oct 26, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764313967, Hardcover)

After completing a tour of duty (thirty-five missions) in B-17s, Bert Stiles transferred to a fighter squadron. Just four months later he was killed in action on an escort mission to Hanover, Germany, on November 26, 1944. Stiles' book was written in the period between his two tours. Serenade to the Big Bird portrays the tragedy of war, and specifically the loss to the world of a fine, sensitive, talented writer who had only a short time to prove his merit. He died at twenty-three.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After completing a tour of duty (thirty-five missions) in B-17s, Bert Stiles transferred to a fighter squadron. Just four months later he was killed in action on an escort mission to Hanover, Germany, on November 26, 1944. Stiles' book was written in the period between his two tours. Serenade to the Big Bird portrays the tragedy of war, and specifically the loss to the world of a fine, sensitive, talented writer who had only a short time to prove his merit. He died at twenty-three.… (more)

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