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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review - Before The Belle by Cassius Mullen & Betty Byron

Book Review
Before The Belle
by Cassius Mullen & Betty Byron

Book Description
On May 3, 1943, a lone American B-24 on a secret mission from Bovington airdrome in England neared the Icelandic coast bound for the United States. Captain Robert "Shine" Shannon was at the controls. He and his nine man crew of Hot Stuff had been honored two weeks earlier as being the first heavy bomber in the Eighth Air Force to complete 25 combat missions. That number was a benchmark established by the Army Air Force for bomber crews to be rotated back to the United States where the plane and its crew would tour the country to promote the war effort. By the time Hot Stuff and its crew received word they were to rotate back to the States, they had endured not just 25 but 31 combat missions. A combat mission was defined as anytime an American aircraft came under hostile fire over enemy territory. Hot Stuff was honored to be chosen by Lt. General Frank Andrews, commander of all American Forces in the European Theater of Operations, to fly him and his staff to Washington, D.C. However, the accomplishments of Hot Stuff and its crew along with those of Andrews went unheralded in the annals of World War II.

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Hubbie's Review
The author has produced a novel based around historical facts and memoirs of the crew which will pull at the heart strings of any reader. Reading this narrative brought home just what these airmen did to protect and defeat the enemy in order for us to be free today.  The emotive writing gave me the sense of what it was like to be part of the crew and the immense importance of being able to trust and relay on each member of the team to do their role in order to survive. The research and time it had taken to produce this piece of work has to be commended not only for the story but bringing to light the fact that the Hot Stuff crew were the first to achieve over 25 combat missions and actually achieved 31.

A must read for any military history buff.  Full of descriptive explanations of the plane and their full workings, how relationships were made and grew and what true friendship and loyalty meant.

Our Rating
About the author
Betty Byron was born in Louisville, Kentucky and is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio. Following graduation, she married a career military officer and spent the ensuing years traveling throughout the contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, United Kingdom and Continental Europe. Her husband served in South Korea and Vietnam and visited Japan and Hong Kong. After her husband's retirement, Betty decided to write novels based on her impressions from years of travel and interacting with people from various countries. Her interests include reading, traveling, collecting teddy bears and interior decorating. She now resides with her husband in Texas.

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  1. My Grandad is a bit of a military history buff and would love this book!

  2. I love theses sort of books, especially as they are to do with the war etc, great post! x

  3. Although not generally a reader of this genre it does sound like a lot of work went into the writing and fact finding by this author. I think it is a good thing that finally author's are telling the story of the unsung heros of that time.


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