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Or Go Down in Flame


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About the Author

W. Raymond Wood specializes in military history.


"...not only details the events surrounding the death of one aviator during the Allied strategic bombing campaign against Germany in 1943, but also could be described as an introductory work in how to do research with WWII records...extremely well researched account of the author's own private quest to find out the truth about his brother....Or Go Down in Flame would be useful to WWII historians interested in the bombing over Germany and to non professionals interested in researching relatives lost during the war...--Plains Anthropologist, Vol 41, No 158
This is the engrossing story of an American professor's quest to learn how his older brother was killed in WW II and the process by which the body was transported to its final resting place, the family plot in Missouri. Lt. Elbert S. Wood, navigator on a B-17 bomber during a 1943 raid over Germany, was the sole member of the crew who did not parachute safely to ground after the plane was damaged. (Lt. Wood, wounded, was probably strangled by his own parachute lines.) The author interviewed surviving crewmen, visited the crash site and questioned German civilians who attended Lt. Wood's funeral in the small Bavarian town where his body was taken. He constructed an outline of his brother's military career and a moment-by-moment account of his last mission. In one of many poignant moments, Wood pays tribute to the town Burgermeister who went out of his way to give an American airman a dignified burial (German soldiers on leave served as guards of honor) "when this was not a popular or even safe course of action." The book may also be read as an exemplar of how to research the fate of an American combat casualty.--Publisher's Weekly

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