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Mission : Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe
by Robert Matzen


Overview - In March 1941, Jimmy Stewart, America's boy next door and recent Academy Award winner, left fame and fortune behind and joined the United States Army Air Corps to fulfill his family mission and serve his country. He rose from private to colonel and participated in 20 often-brutal World War II combat missions over Germany and France.  Read more...

 
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More About Mission by Robert Matzen
 
 
 
Overview
In March 1941, Jimmy Stewart, America's boy next door and recent Academy Award winner, left fame and fortune behind and joined the United States Army Air Corps to fulfill his family mission and serve his country. He rose from private to colonel and participated in 20 often-brutal World War II combat missions over Germany and France. In mere months the war took away his boyish looks as he faced near-death experiences and the loss of men under his command. The war finally won, he returned home with millions of other veterans to face an uncertain future, suffering what we now know as PTSD. Younger stars like Gregory Peck were now getting roles that might have been Stewart's, and he didn't know if he would ever work in Hollywood again. Then came It's a Wonderful Life.
For the next half century, Stewart refused to discuss his combat experiences and took the story of his service to the grave. Mission presents the first in-depth look at Stewart's life as a Squadron Commander in the skies over Germany, and, his return to Hollywood the changed man who embarked on production of America's most beloved holiday classic.
Author Robert Matzen sifted through thousands of Air Force combat reports and the Stewart personnel files; interviewed surviving aviators who flew with Stewart; visited the James Stewart Papers at Brigham Young University; flew in the cockpits of the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator; and walked the earth of air bases in England used by Stewart in his combat missions of 1943-45. What emerges in Mission is the story of a Jimmy Stewart you never knew until now, a story more fantastic than any he brought to the screen.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780996274050
  • ISBN-10: 0996274057
  • Publisher: Paladin Communications
  • Publish Date: October 2016
  • Page Count: 400
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Entertainment & Performing Arts - General
Books > History > Military - World War II

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-08-29
  • Reviewer: Staff

Even before Hollywood legend Jimmy Stewart went off to war, he was a fighter, working hard to prove his passion for military aviation to the U.S. government. In this meticulously researched book, film historian Matzen (Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3) provides the rich, detailed backstory of Stewart’s time as a WWII bomber pilot. He delves deep into Stewart’s restless spirit, chronicling his family’s legacy of war service, his rise to movie stardom, the many women in his life, and his struggles to fly and serve his country. Matzen paints a revealing picture of a man who defied bureaucratic and health obstacles to become a U.S. Army Air Force squadron commander. He depicts the excitement and horror of life in a bomber crew as Stewart commanded a series of missions over Germany, interspersing his story with those of other WWII survivors, such as radio operator Clem Leone and Gertrud Siepmann, who was a young child in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. He also shows that, although considered a war hero, Stewart had difficulty getting reestablished as an actor until Frank Capra cast him in It’s a Wonderful Life. Military and movie buffs alike will revel in this vivid portrayal of a man who successfully straddled two worlds. (Oct.)

 
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