The German Aces Speak II: World War II Through the Eyes of Four More of the Luftwaffe's Most Important Commanders

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9780760345900: The German Aces Speak II: World War II Through the Eyes of Four More of the Luftwaffe's Most Important Commanders

The much-anticipated sequel to The German Aces Speak gives voice to four more of WWII’s most noteworthy German pilots. When The German Aces Speak published in 2011, Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine welcomed Colin Heaton’s and Anne-Marie Lewis’s masterful command of interview-based narrative, writing, “. . . what might have been numbing recitations of dogfights are instead vivid descriptions of life as a warrior during World War II.” Indeed, it is this unexpected perspective, brought to life by the authors’ neutrality and thoughtful research, that illuminates a side of war largely hidden from the American public: the experience of the German Luftwaffe pilot. In The German Aces Speak II, Heaton and Lewis paint a picture of the war through the eyes of four more of Germany’s most significant pilots—Johannes Steinhoff, Erich Alfred Hartmann, Gunther Rall, and Dieter Hrabak—put together from numerous interviews personally conducted by Heaton from the 1980s through the 2000s. The four ex-Luftwaffe fighter aces bring the past to life as they tell their stories about the war, their battles, their off-duty lives, their lives after the war, and, perhaps most importantly, how they felt about serving under the Nazi leadership of Hermann Göring and Adolf Hitler. Together, the memories of the events captured in The German Aces Speak II continue one of today’s most unique World War II book series, unearthing a facet of the war that has gone widely overlooked for the American public.

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About the Author:

Professor Colin D. Heaton served in the U.S. Army and later the U.S. Marines. He was a guest historian on the History Channel program Dogfights: "Secret Weapons," and he has authored several books of military history, including German Anti-Partisan Warfare in Europe 1939--1945 and Night Fighters: The Luftwaffe and RAF Air Combat over Europe, 1939--1945, which he coauthored with Anne-Marie Lewis. He has taught history and military history at American Military University. 

Anne-Marie Lewis received her BA with honors and MA from American Military University in international relations and is also a professional photographer. She lives in Southport, North Carolina.


"Colin Heaton once again brings excellent primary sources to the reading public. He is one of the few historians who earned the trust of the leading German fighter pilots who flew during World War II. Hartman, Steinhoff, Hrabak and Rall shaped the tactics that modern aviators have used for the past 70 years, from air to air combat to ground support operations. These four men also helped develop the German Luftwaffe of today and fostered good relations with the US. Heaton's ability to get these men to speak frankly about the war, Hitler and politics offers readers an insider's unique understanding of the air war during World War II and the men who fought it. This book is a must read for any serious student of the Luftwaffe and World War II." - Bryan Mark Rigg, author of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers, Rescued from the Reich and Lives of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers

"This is a brilliant book. The authors used their diligent research to elicit not just the words, but the souls of four famous German aces, all veterans of NATO. All four men are intelligent, eloquent and have had time to think about their place in history. The authors wisely let them speak from their hearts in their own way. Their individual backgrounds are fascinating, their combat stories thrilling, but most readers will feast on their bold, accurate descriptions of the incredibly corrupt Nazi hierarchy inflicted on them. - Walter J. Boyne, USAF (Ret.), author/historian and former director, National Air & Space Museum

"In this volume, Colin Heaton expands his rare contribution to military history through detailed, revealing interviews with some of the most significant leaders of the Luftwaffe fighter arm. In view of today's politically correct military, it's startling to recall the courage of some Luftwaffe officers in the chilling environment of Nazi Germany and the Soviet gulag. For a lesson in leadership under immense pressure, Western staff and command schools could do no better than to study the example of military professionals who stood to lose far more than the next promotion in opposing Hermann Göring and Adolf Hitler." - Barrett Tillman, author of LeMay and Whirlwind

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