Arriving May 7…
Just went to the printer today. Coming on May 7.
Cleaver’s superb Bridgebusters is the book that finally credits the uniquely brave men of the 57th Bomb Wing with the recognition they so richly deserve. A rigorously-researched work, Bridgebusters is nevertheless fast-paced and personal. Cleaver’s extraordinary characterization of the men and their actions during one of history’s bloodiest air campaigns reads true and compelling, and is enhanced by judicious use of the men’s own words, thoughtfully gleaned from contemporaneous letters and diaries. Highly recommended.
—Jay A. Stout, Author of Hell’s Angels: The True Story of the 303rd Bomb Group in World War II
One of Tom Cleaver’s trademarks is that he somehow manages to weave mechanical facts into the fabric of a thoroughly human tale in such a way that you come away feeling as if you’ve just watched a wildly detailed movie. In Bridgebusters, you can almost smell the engine exhaust and hear the empty .50 caliber casings clatter to the fuselage floor under the gunners’ feet. He makes the truth read like well done fiction.
—Budd Davisson, Editor, Flight Journal Magazine
In Bridgebusters, Thomas Cleaver highlights one the ironies of World War II: seventy years later the public is mostly unaware of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations other than in a a fanciful 1961 novel and the 1970 movie. But in addressing author Joseph Heller’s wartime service as a B-25 bombardier, Cleaver places much more in context. The little-known 12th Air Force fought a long, sanguinary campaign from North Africa to Italy, highlighted by the months-long “bridge busting” effort in the Alps’ Brenner Pass. Flying against lethally proficient antiaircraft crews, the 57th Bomb Wing paid a steep price for its success. Yet far more is revealed than the “glamorous” fliers sweating out open-ended combat tours. Cleaver introduces us to long-suffering ground crews who “kept ’em flying;” careerist officers mostly interested in their next promotion; Italian civilians who suffered in the crossfire; and even Wehrmacht leaders and flak gunners. This is rare history–told almost at the last moment as more of those veterans depart the pattern every day.
— Barrett Tillman, Author of Forgotten Fifteenth
Want to know the true-life story behind the 57th Bomb Wing where Joseph Heller (“Catch 22”) spent the war? Read this thrill-ride in the cockpit of a B-25 as they bombed bridges and destroyed Nazi supply routes to win the war in Italy in World War II.
— Lucian K. Truscott IV, author of Dress Grey and Full Dress Grey