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Operation Chowhound: The Most Risky, Most…
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Operation Chowhound: The Most Risky, Most Glorious US Bomber Mission of…

by Stephen Dando-Collins

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I received a copy from First Reads in return for an honest review.

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

"In the end, Chowhound was about hope."

A great read for any WWII history buffs. Operation Chowhound looks at so much more than just this one operation. Dando-Collins examines the lives and actions of all the players involved and also shows the stark reality of how bad Holland's food crisis was during WWII. The back story, along with the tediousness of war, really paints a picture of how desolate Holland was and how cumbersome military planning can be. ( )
  Kristymk18 | Nov 12, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A tale of a massive food airdrop in the final days of World War II that is particularly not well-known to anyone. The book itself is interesting to read, and is a fairly quick read. It was also interesting to see all of the negotiations that were involved between various parties (including a comedic turn by Ken Cottam that seemed a bit fit for Catch-22).

However, the book seems to suffer a bit from including filler stories and random cameos of people like Audrey Hepburn and Ian Fleming. It feels to me like they were included to attract people without adding much to the story.

All in all, though, still worth a read if you're interested in history. ( )
  ryan.adams | Apr 13, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A thoroughly interesting look at the eponymous Operation Chowhound, the Allied mission to drop supplies to the starving Dutch in the waning days of the Second World War. I was very glad to read it, because though I know a fair amount about air bombing missions (my grandfather was a navigator on a B-17), and though a family friend was in the Dutch Resistance, I knew next to nothing about this operation. Mr. Dando-Collins traces the complex diplomacy that set the operation in motion, which I found fascinating; readers less interested in detail will be drawn in by the book's cameos (including Audrey Hepburn and Ian Fleming). A mid-length, fast read, and very much worth the time. ( )
  Oh_Carolyn | Mar 29, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A most-interesting and highly readable book about Operations Manna and Chowhound. In the last nine days of the war in Europe, the British and Americans dropped thousands of tons of food from the air to starving Dutch civilians behind German lines. An agreement was reached that the Germans would not fire on the Allied bombers if they stayed within certainly clearly defined parameters. All the air crews knew that a thousand things could go wrong and bring on firing at planes in very vulnerable low altitude positions. But it worked. Hundreds of Dutch elderly and children were dying of malnutrition every day, and this airlift brought them food days before they could have had it otherwise. The airmen involved considered it their most glorious service and the Dutch have not forgotten. General Eisenhower, General Bedell Smith, Prince Bernhard, Nazi civilian governor Seyss-Inquart and others all had their roles to play, although Seyss-Inquart was executed as a war criminal afterward, anyway.
The book can seem a bit padded at times, but World War II buffs should love it. ( )
  Illiniguy71 | Mar 24, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Operation Chowhound was the name given by the Americans (the British and Canadians called it Operation Manna) to the Allied humanitarian mission to drop food to the starving citizens of Nazi-occupied Netherlands during the waning days of World War II. In some ways it was a more dangerous mission than the later Berlin Airlift, for which it has been called a practice run: though Hitler was dead and the end of the war was in sight, it was still going on; and despite a written agreement between the Allies and Germans to let the planes fly unmolested, there was no guarantee that over-zealous German troops wouldn't try to blast the low-flying bombers out of the sky (in fact, some planes returned with fresh bullet holes). In a brisk novelistic style, with a cast of characters that includes the famous (Dwight Eisenhower, Bedell Smith), the later-to-be famous (Ian Fleming, Farley Mowat, a teenaged Audrey Hepburn), and the unjustly forgotten (Andrew Geddes, the RAF officer who planned the mission), Dando-Collins brings this little-known but fascinating operation to life.
  boodgieman | Mar 21, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 113727963X, Hardcover)

Beginning with a crazy plan hatched by a suspect prince, and an even crazier reliance on the word of the Nazis, Operation Chowhound was devised. Between May 1 and May 8, 1945, 2,268 military units flown by the USAAF, dropped food to 3.5 million starving Dutch civilians in German-occupied Holland.

It took raw courage to fly on Operation Chowhound, as American aircrews never knew when the German AAA might open fire on them or if Luftwaffe fighters might jump them. Flying at 400 feet, barely above the tree tops, with guns pointed directly at them, they would have no chance to bail out if their B-17s were hit—and yet, over eight days, 120,000 German troops kept their word, and never fired on the American bombers. As they flew, grateful Dutch civilians spelled out “Thanks Boys” in the tulip fields below. Many Americans who flew in Operation Chowhound would claim it was the best thing they did in the war.

In this gripping narrative, author Stephen Dando-Collins takes the reader into the rooms where Operation Chowhound was born, into the aircraft flying the mission, and onto the ground in the Netherlands with the civilians who so desperately needed help. James Bond creator Ian Fleming, Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn, as well as Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill all play a part in this story, creating a compelling, narrative read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:28 -0400)

Beginning with a crazy plan hatched by a suspect prince, and an even crazier reliance on the word of the Nazis, Operation Chowhound was devised. Between May 1 and May 8, 1945, 2,268 military units flown by the USAAF, dropped food to 3.5 million starving Dutch civilians in German-occupied Holland. It took raw courage to fly on Operation Chowhound, as American aircrews never knew when the German AAA might open fire on them or if Luftwaffe fighters might jump them. Flying at 400 feet, barely above the tree tops, with guns pointed directly at them, they would have no chance to bail out if their B-17s were hit--and yet, over eight days, 120,000 German troops kept their word, and never fired on the American bombers. As they flew, grateful Dutch civilians spelled out "Thanks Boys" in the tulip fields below. Many Americans who flew in Operation Chowhound would claim it was the best thing they did in the war. In this gripping narrative, author Stephen Dando-Collins takes the reader into the rooms where Operation Chowhound was born, into the aircraft flying the mission, and onto the ground in the Netherlands with the civilians who so desperately needed help. James Bond creator Ian Fleming, Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn, as well as Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill all play a part in this story, creating a compelling, narrative read.… (more)

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