January 2020 Book of the Month
“Air Force Cowboy”
by William E. Finley
Reviewed by Anita Finley
Bill Finley wrote this fiction about World War II as a B17 bomber pilot because his experience was exhilarating, dangerous and memorable. At the time of the war, young men just leaving high school were eager to help fight the war, and many went into all the branches. Bill had learned how to fly as a teenager, so it enabled him to qualify to be a pilot. The book is not about his experience, just a made up story about a daredevil young man, Lori, who had a daredevil father who flew risky aerobatics and died in a crash. The book is very exciting and many men who were in the Army Air Corps, and now their sons, have purchased Air Force Cowboy.
“The world’s youngest pilot” joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1939 and became a military test pilot which led him to join the 8th Air Force Bomb Group toward smashing Hitler’s ambitions to conquer all of Europe. His ingenious, unorthodox, attacks against the Germans forced the American authorities to either jail him or give him another medal.
Lori Hosmer crossed paths and swords with military leaders but recruited President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill to sanction his wild-eyed tactics. After volunteering to obtain Nazi secrets to protect Eisenhower’s D-Day invasion, Lori’s spectacular victory celebration led the British allies to doubt the sanity of American flyers.
Bill dedicated this book to the B-17 and B-24 air crews in the 8th Air Force who flew from East Anglia in England to destroy the Nazi industrial and military targets toward ending World War In victory. Their bravery and devastating losses have never been fully appreciated.
There are 494 pages that are definitely page turners, especially if you experienced the war from the air. It will be a good book for young kids to read, to get a semblance of what a war was like from a young man’s perspective. Lori was just out of high school and it’s difficult to think about what courage it must have taken to be in such a dangerous situation.
“Flight crews in the U.S. Army Corps had the highest casualty rate of any branch of the armed forces in World War II. Casualty figures fro the 8th Air Force alone were staggering. Of the 210,000 air crewman who flew out of England, 26,000 were killed. An additional 21,000 ended up as Prisoners of War. The 8th lost more than 6,500 heavy bombers and more than 3,300 fighters.” (Untold Valor by Rob Morris, published by Penguin Books, 2006)
Bill acknowledged a very special person who gave him advice and factual information. Edward West, Colonel (Ret), United States Army Corps of Engineers, added information about West Point from which he graduated and military rank questions
About the author:
Bill Finley enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on high school graduation day, 1942. After B-17 pilot training, his crew joined the 8th Air Force’s 390th Bomb group in England. After completing 35 missions on Christmas Eve, 1944, he moved to California and earned degrees in City Planning. He lived in Palm Beach County Florida until his death at 93 in January 2017.
(Purchase this book on Amazon.com. If you need more information, call Anita Finley at 561 758-0299)