SOCIAL SCIENCES

Lucky 666: The Impossible Mission

Drury, Bob & . S. & S. Oct. 2016. 368p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781476774855. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781476774879. HIST
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Many readers will associate the B-17 Flying Fortress with the European theater of World War II. While most were employed with the 8th Air Force in Europe, some were stationed with bombing groups in the Pacific. The crew of "Old 666" is the subject of this story, particularly pilot Jay Zeamer Jr. Providing a mixture of Zeamer's story with background on World War II in the Pacific theater, Drury and Clavin (coauthors, The Heart of Everything That Is) offer more of a biography of Zeamer and a history of bombing from the areas of Papua and Northern Australia than an overview of this specific mission. Zeamer is painted as a persistent, rebellious soul who struggled to find his place despite his abilities. Other crew members' accounts are also included, though generally to a lesser extent. Reliance on a relatively small number of sources, a sensationalist flair, and flaws in the citation style hinder the book's historical value.
VERDICT Despite minor concerns, this title is an entertaining popular history that will appeal to fans of adventure-style World War II stories.

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