I listened to this lengthy book in the truck in recent weeks, and ended up really enjoying it. It is about the great time Pamela Churchill had during World War II as Winston Churchill's daughter in law, and lover of Averell Harriman, Edward R. Murrow and God knows who else. Oh, and there was a war on too.
The book is about the Americans that came to London during the war to assist in the war against Hitler's Germany, most notably, the U.S. ambassador following Joe Kennedy, John Gilbert Winant (a towering figure, who I'd never even heard of before), Harriman, and Murrow, as well as others. It's a great, great read, and tells you about aspects of the wartime experience in Britain, and America's entry into the war.
Although it's impossible to overstate the contribution Winant made, the story of Tommy Hitchcock, Jr. is what blew me away. Hitchcock was the golden boy of interwar America, a World War I fighter pilot who was a polo champion during those years. When the new war started, he became a military attache in London, and campaigned for high altitude, long range fighters to escort American bombers on raids into Germany, specifically the P-51. Prior to that time, the unescorted bombers were suffering horrendous losses on missions into Germany, and the "bomber mafia" was actively opposing development of fighter escorts because it claimed the bombers didn't need them. Hitchcock thought otherwise and used a lifetime's connections to lobby for the fighters.
The story of the first P-51 to see combat - a single plane from a formation that was otherwise lost and which charged into an attacking formation of Luftwaffe fighters which had never seen a fighter anywhere close to that far into Germany, will bring tears to your eyes. The pilot, James H. Howard, on January 11, 1944 charged some thirty Luftwaffe fighters that were attacking a formation of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers. For more than a half-hour, Howard defended the heavy bombers of the 401st Bomb Group against the German fighters, repeatedly attacking the enemy airplanes and shooting down as many as six. Importantly, none of the bombers he was defending were shot down. Howard was awarded the Medal of Honor. From what I've been reading, the normal attrition rate was 10-20% at this time. That was the value of long range, high altitude escorts - and that was what Hitchcock had been aggressively lobbying for.
This book is full of great stories like that. I really, really enjoyed it.