Readers’ Comments


“It’s a wonderful book. I can’t count the times it brought tears to my eyes. It will be a treasure for the families of the men whose stories you tell. It brings the people and their times to life and sheds light on so many aspects of that terrible war and the people who lived through it. It’s a valuable, important book. It deserves to be widely read.”
—John Hetland
New York, NY


“I enjoyed the book very much. Your description of the repatriation of the crew was especially interesting because I had never before experienced a book that dealt in such detail on this issue. The chapter where the boys get shot down to the finale seemed to me a very good factual account of historical and personal experiences that was straightforward and well told.”
—Jim McHale
Levittown, NY


“Thank you for listening to your uncle, and for writing this true story of courage and survival. You have made his recollections into an outstanding, definitive, carefully-researched and thoroughly-documented history of those life-defining times. The book flows in such a way that the reader will feel the psychological effects of combat. Those who read it will appreciate, in detail, the risks of flying combat missions, and what it took to be a combat crew member. It is a fitting tribute to your uncle and his crew, and thus to all men who served with the 57th Bomb Wing in North Africa, Sicily, Corsica and Italy during the war.”
—Victor J. Hancock
Editor, Men of the 57th Bomb Wing
Richardson, TX


“I received your book on Friday and read it cover to cover over the weekend. I LOVED it and CONGRATULATE you on a GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT! I am especially impressed with the amount of research you did and the detailed information you included. I too am a WWII history buff, have read dozens of books, watched many movies and documentaries, but still learned things I never knew before while reading Shot Down Over Italy!”
—Bill Goodlatte
Wichita, KS


“It is wonderful that you took the time to get this story in print. I know it touches more lives than we’ll ever know. Thanks goes to you for caring.”
—Jane Jernagan
Editor, The Review Republican
Williamsport, IN


“Entire family is enjoying your book...It is so remarkable the detail you have in the book. I find myself lost in the pages, like I might be riding along with the ‘guys’.”
—Judy Kinney
Daughter of Navigator, John H. Kinney
Murphys, CA


“I have read a lot about World War II, but most of the books I have read did not go into much detail about the Italian campaign. In fact, I have never read a book that has provided as much information on the Army Air Corps as yours has. I found it very interesting and enjoyable. You did a great job researching for this book. Your Uncle had a great story to tell and I am happy you were willing to share it with others.”
—Ron Newman
Verona, NJ


“I finished your book last night. Absolutely loved it! Amazed at the level of detail (research) in the book, and the outstanding editing that you (or an editor) did. I truly wish you success with the book! It is superbly done!”
—Wayne Winterton, PhD
Phoenix, AZ


“I just finished reading The Men Behind the Trident, a book about SEAL Team One in Vietnam. I had a friend from the Navy who served there and was mentioned in the book. So I just started your book, and although I am not very far, I find it to be very captivating. I can see why one reviewer said it brings tears to your eyes, because it does. Wonderfully written; I know that I will enjoy it immensely.”
—Bob Anning
Cincinnati, OH


“I really enjoyed reading your book. It is one of the best books about WWII that I have ever read. I especially loved all the detail you were able to put into the story. Your book should be mandatory reading for anybody studying WWII.”
—Frank Capano
Hingham, MA


“Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us—gives me a totally new view of the men who risked their lives for us and how missions in the war operated. Many operations were totally different than I had imagined. Very interesting reading! My husband plans to finish it soon—so I'll have another source for discussion. My son will want it next. I really appreciate all your research and diligence in telling this story, making it come alive, and sharing the amazing story.”
—Ginger Such
Niece of Pilot, William Clark Hunter
Indianapolis, IN


“I am now reading the book and it is fascinating. I am thinking of all those years you wasted as a banker when you could have been a best-selling novelist a la John Grisham. The narrative just flows.”
—John Dell Isola
Dover, NH


“As you know, I read related documents all the time, so I put that mode completely aside and read the book strictly for pleasure – and it was a pleasure, so I consider your quest successful and hope you do as well.”
—John T. Fitzgerald
Research Historian, 321st Bomb Group History
Franklinton, NC


“I do not know how to thank you for the precious gift that you have engaged in—your dedication is touching. Amerigo (son of Goffredo Sarri) speaks to everyone about this book, he takes it as the most precious thing, he is very proud of it, but unfortunately does not understand its content. I'm going to start the translation in Italian for Amerigo of the chapters that concern him.” (Translated from Italian)
—Marina Pazzaglia Sarri
Granddaughter-In-Law of Partisan, Goffredo Sarri
Vaggio, Italy


“I love the warmth of the book, and the use of conversational tone. It is like visiting with you on the phone—includes the asides and the interesting facts gathered along the way of interviews, etc. History buffs will love the wonderful detail and complete notations that are included. (I am not really a history buff and I found it all quite fascinating! Too many historical works are very dry and uninteresting.) I hope your Uncle Bill feels as rewarded as he should for sharing so openly and accurately with you—and, therefore, with your readers. God bless you and Uncle Bill for accomplishing this massive effort.”
—Candace Hunter
Niece-In-Law of Pilot, William Clark Hunter
Williamsport, IN


“I am Laura Becattini, the daughter of Riccardo…thank you for the beautiful book. It is a fascinating history and the photos are truly beautiful, a memory of my father, whom I will never forget. I thank you on behalf of my family.” (Translated from Italian)
—Laura Becattini Poggiali
Daughter of Partisan, Riccardo Becattini
Florence, Italy


“I am enjoying the book especially the history and bits of information. Marvelous book.”
—Richard Atwood
Mesa, AZ


“The book was magnificent, not only the story itself but how you chose to tell it. I truly enjoyed how you worked the history of events unfolding in the entire war, the technical details and most importantly how you told of all the brave men that served with your uncle. You should be extremely proud of the book but more importantly of your uncle because it was the heroes like him that made it possible for you to write the book and ensured me the freedom to read it.”
—Joe Cecere
West Caldwell, NJ


“Dad and I think your book is a great history of Italy in WWII.”
—Evangeline Reynolds
Daughter of Bombardier, Laverne Reynolds
Dallas, TX


“What a page turner! I read just about the whole thing in two sittings. I loved the way it started with so many details about Boston and the non-military aspects of living at that time. Loved the pacing of happenings over there and back here. It's such a rich story. You brought the whole thing to life.”
—Patrick Fitzgerald
Grandson of Tail Gunner, William Lanza
Fort Washington, PA


“Reading your masterpiece brought back memories of the time I served in Europe. My unit was the 100th Infantry Division which landed at Marseilles, France. My brother Jim landed in South Africa with the 360th Combat Engineers Regiment and moved on to Italy. Jim had told me about the Anzio Beachhead and the attacks from the German Batteries at the Monastery high above them. They had to rebuild roads and bridges for the advancing troops under heavy fire from the Monastery. You did a wonderful job of presenting maps, pictures of some of the heroes, description of the B-25 bomber and sketches of the areas that were the German stronghold.”
—John Giancola
Recipient of the French Legion of Honor Medal
Medford, NY


“You are to be commended on the depth of your research, leading to an outstanding educational experience.”
—Sam Aloisi
Plymouth, MA


“You made everything so personable. Americans always have to be reminded that their fighting men are human, and have families and loved ones.”
—Howard Vandersea
New Brunswick, ME


“I have truly enjoyed reading Shot Down Over Italy, your wonderful book. The research you put into it is very educational for a guy like me who had four older brothers in WWII—one as a belly gunner on a B-17 flying 35 missions from England.”
—Bob Casciola
2004 Recipient of the National Football Foundation
Distinguished American Award
Monroe Township, NJ


“I am sure Walt (Brickner) is watching and is pleased with your work. Walt was a nice guy and it is very fitting that he be remembered.”
—Jim Wood
Friend of Co-Pilot, Walt Brickner
Apple Valley, CA


“My husband’s concluding remark after reading your book was, ‘This should be made into a movie.’ I totally agree as the narrative puts an authentic face on the WW 2 experience. The reader is taken into the war through the eyes of the men who inhabit the pages of your book. It's an excellent read and would make an excellent film.”
—Lee Grace Cannella
Director, Therapeutic Recreation
Long Island State Veterans Home
Stony Brook, NY


“Congratulations on a solid piece of history.”
—Ret. Maj. Gen. David T. Zabecki, PhD
Senior Historian, Widener History Group
Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Birmingham (UK)


“…I interviewed combat crew from all theaters…heard many impressive stories from men of courage, including from Italy. Your uncle’s rings true. It is good to have these stories in the public domain today. This generation needs to know what the WWII generation endured to maintain freedom. Now 92 years old I appreciate what you have done—now more than ever.”
—Richard A. Ware
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA)
in Nixon Administration
Intervale, NH


“The book is great. It relates the amazing story of your uncle, his crew, and the people that helped them, while describing the historic and geo-political environment. Your research was exhaustive—no wonder it took four years. The best aspect of the book is that it is about regular people—the rank and file that make up armies, and their families. War IS hell, but it makes you appreciate things that some may think are mundane.”
—Ret. Marine Col. Kevin J. Murphy
Beverly, MA


“Reading the book has been such an emotional experience that brought tears to my eyes many times. It seemed that the members of the crew were people I knew. Congratulations on your great work of research, really commendable, much better than many history books. In the way the story is told, one feels like he's part of the events. My special thanks to Major Hunter who gave his life so the other members of the crew could bail out. They all still live in the pages of the book and it really touched me.”
—Filippo Ajello
Siracusa, Italy


“Congratulations on your book. I am Rocky Milano’s stepdaughter, a former Army doctor. Rocky read your book in three days, and absolutely adores it because it tells the story of his actual unit and planes. He bought eight copies for his grandchildren and children. He recently received the French Legion of Honor at West Point and told everyone about your book. Thank you for telling a story from the 12th Air Force and especially his unit.”
—Dr. Peggy Chatham
Stepdaughter of Ret. T/Sgt. Rocky Milano
B-25 Crew Chief with 446th BS of 321st BG
Cape Coral, FL


“My name is Bonnie Russell and I’m friends with Major General Paul Cooper. I called him today and he’s riveted by your book. He’s friends with my father, who was also shot down over Italy. Thanks for keeping history alive.”
—Bonnie Russell,
Friend of Ret. Maj. Gen. Paul T. Cooper
Former Squadron Commander of 446th BS of 321st BG
Daughter of Ret. Lt. Col. Lawrence “Lee” Russell
Former pilot of 445th BS of 321st BG
Del Mar, CA


“This is a great story and superbly done. I bought fifteen books to give to my nephew (who is a USAF vet from the Vietnam era), my two crew members still alive, and family and friends. It seems more and more people are developing an interest in ‘our’ war.”
—Joseph E. Anderson, Jr.
Former B-25 pilot of 428th BS of 310th BG
(He was also shot down over Italy and evaded the enemy with partisan help.)
Louisville, KY


“Your book hit home with me for a few reasons. I am an Air Force veteran, and my Dad was a WW2 engineer (554th) that built pontoon bridges during the Battle of the Bulge and into Germany. Additionally, my family immigrated from near Monte Cassino, so I grew up learning of the destruction of our homeland and the loss of life my distant relatives endured in the cost of freedom.”
—Tom Vettraino
Los Angeles, CA


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