Academic journal article Military Review

The German Aces Speak II: World War II through the Eyes of Four More of the Luftwaffes Most Important Commanders

Academic journal article Military Review

The German Aces Speak II: World War II through the Eyes of Four More of the Luftwaffes Most Important Commanders

Article excerpt

THE GERMAN ACES SPEAK II: World War II through the Eyes of Four More of the Luftwaffes Most Important Commanders

Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis, Zenith Press, Minneapolis, 2014, 296 pages, $30.00

The German Aces Speak U is the second volume in what the authors propose as a series. Like the first volume, this book is about the lives of four prominent World War II Luftwaffe fighter pilots: Erich Hartmann, Johannes Steinhoff, Dietrich Hrabak, and Gunther Rail. Despite an extensive bibliography, it is not a scholarly work and there are more extensive biographies available about Hartmann, Steinhoff, and Rail. Instead, The German Aces Speak H contains the unabridged interviews the authors conducted with each subject over a period of years.

The abridged interviews have appeared in numerous history magazines, including, Aviation History and World War II.

The lives and careers of Hartmann, Steinhoff, and Rail are well known to most aviation historians. Except for the occasional revelation, there is not much new here. On the other hand, there is not much written about Hrabak, so it was refreshing to read about his exploits. During the interviews, these distinguished pilots discussed their backgrounds, wartime exploits, and postwar experiences. In addition, they included their candid impressions of Hitler as well as the other senior leaders of the Nazi hierarchy, revealing how these impressions changed over the course of the war.

For example, each noted the gradual deterioration in Hitler's physical appearance and mental acumen each time they met with him. They were also forthcoming in their opinions of their fellow pilots, being almost unanimous in their assessment. …

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