Mrazek, Robert J. To Kingdom Come: An Epic Saga of Survivial in the Air War Over Germany. NAL Caliber: Penguin Group (USA). Mar. 2011. c. 400 p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780451232274. $25.95. HIST
"Riveting… recommended for all who want to read about real heroes.”
The bombing of Stuttgart, Germany, on September 6, 1943, by 338 U.S. Army Air Force B-17 "Flying Fortresses" is used by former U.S. congressman Mrazek (A Dawn Like Thunder: The True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight) to anchor two intertwined stories.
The first is how thousands of brave airmen flew against hundreds of Luftwaffe fighters through flak-filled skies to deliver their payloads. Their personal accounts of surviving the horrors of deadly aerial combat to return to base, escape capture in France, or become POWs are riveting, giving readers the real flavor of the war, much more riveting than official statements and position papers.
The shorter, second story is about the upper-level arguments over how to prove that massive daylight "precision" bombing was viable and who was to blame when it didn't succeed. Mrazek criticizes U.S. Army Air Force commander Hap Arnold for pushing for deep raids into Germany before there was adequate long-range fighter protection.
Verdict: Recommended for World War II history buffs and all who want to read about real heroes. [See this reviewer's two-part roundup of new World War II history books coming in Library Journal 3/15/11 and 4/1/11.—Ed.] Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL