Hell Above Earth by Stephen Frater

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 6 Critic Reviews

And the book has a surprise at the end which makes it seem as if it’s even better suited for fiction.
-Schaumburg Township District Library


"The riveting true story of a World War II bomber pilot and the co-pilot who received orders to kill him…After the twists and turns in Goering's many missions, Frater finishes with a stunning revelation…the author delivers an exciting read full of little-known facts about the war. A WWII thrill ride." ?Kirkus Reviews

An unforgettable and thrilling tale of two WWII American bomber pilots who forged an unexpected friendship in the flak-filled skies over Nazi Germany.

The air battle over Nazi Germany in WWII was hell above earth. It lasted three years and cost 125,000 Allied aircrew men, including 26,000 Americans from the US Army's Eighth Air Force in England, their lives. For bomber crews, every day they flew was like D-Day, exacting tremendous amounts of emotional uncertainty and trauma. Some men, like twenty-year-old U.S. Captain Werner Goering, accepted this, even thrived on and welcomed the adrenaline rush. They knew that death could come in a variety of ways: an unlucky flak burst, Luftwaffe fighters that could appear anywhere at any time, or pilot error while flying less than twenty feet apart. Werner Goering was an exceptional pilot. He was also the nephew of Herman Goering, leading member of the Nazi party and Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe.

When Werner qualified to become a bomber commander in 1942, J. Edgar Hoover issued a top secret order to ensure that if his plane was downed for any reason over Nazi-occupied Europe, someone would be there in the cockpit to shoot Captain Werner Goering dead. The FBI and the American military would not prevent Werner from serving his American homeland in war, but neither would they risk the propaganda coup that his desertion, or even his live capture, would represent for Nazi Germany. So in early 1943, FBI agents fanned out across the United States to find a man capable of and willing to shoot Werner dead in the cockpit, and one who could then get the plane back home. They found Jack Rencher, a tough, insular, B-17 instructor in Yuma, Arizona, who also happened to be one of the Army's best pistol shots. That Jack and Werner became unlikely friends is just one more twist in Hell Above Earth, one of the most incredible untold tales to come out of WWII.


About Stephen Frater

See more books from this Author
STEPHEN FRATER was a staff writer and columnist for The New York Times subsidiary The Sarasota Herald-Tribune. His articles, biographical features, and book reviews have been published nationwide. He is currently an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Rhode Island's Harrington School of Communication and Media. He lives in Rhode Island and Florida.
Published March 13, 2012 by St. Martin's Press. 321 pages
Genres: War, History, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bookmark Counts:
Want to Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Hell Above Earth
All: 6 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 0

Blog Critics

Reviewed by ManOfLaBook on Aug 04 2012

This is history at its best, a gripping tale of adventure that mixes an array of general history topics without inundating the reader with many mind boggling, eye popping statistics.

Read Full Review of Hell Above Earth | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Look At OKC

Reviewed by Russ Long on Mar 25 2012

This is an accurate history told in a clear substantiated sequence by Frater. His tale is alive to the end, describing the bombing crew's hell above the earth and concluded with a most unexpected twist.

Read Full Review of Hell Above Earth

Schaumburg Township District Library

Reviewed by NonFiction Librarian on Mar 28 2012

And the book has a surprise at the end which makes it seem as if it’s even better suited for fiction.

Read Full Review of Hell Above Earth


Apr 11 2012

War is an unimaginably brutal experience to live through, but wisely Frater realizes that reading about it doesn’t have to be as well.

Read Full Review of Hell Above Earth

Cozy Librarian

Mar 28 2012

Hell above Earth was an altogether engaging read, one that will give readers new appreciation of the sacrifices of “The Greatest Generation”

Read Full Review of Hell Above Earth

Tom Young

Reviewed by Tom Young on Apr 10 2012

Anyone with an interest in aviation or World War II history will enjoy his fascinating account.

Read Full Review of Hell Above Earth

Reader Rating for Hell Above Earth

An aggregated and normalized score based on 112 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

Ian Roberts

Ian Roberts 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Crystal Greer

Crystal Greer 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list