Litercurious Book Review
|Title||Clean Sweep: VIII Fighter Command Against the Luftwaffe, 1942–45|
|Author||Thomas McKelvey Cleaver|
|Publisher||Osprey Publishing (May 23, 2023)|
|Format||Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook|
|Genre||Military Aviation History / World War II History / |
Thomas McKelvey Clever grew up in Denver, Colorado. At a very young age, aviation history excited his mind and imagination. He would spend his Saturday’s at the public library reading everything he could get his hands on about aviation and WWII history. Later, he joined the U.S. Navy and served
during the Vietnam War as an enlisted soldier in the field of aviation. In 1970 he obtained his own pilots license and has been flying ever since. His passion is the aircraft of WWII, which he had the chance to fly a few over the years. He met many famous WWII pilots and wrote various articles in such publications as: Air Enthusiast Quarterly, Air International, Air Force, Aviation History and Flight Journal magazines.
As an author, Thomas has several “best-selling” titles in the aviation and military history genre, including the best-sellers “The Frozen Choseen: The First Marine Division at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir” and “MiG Alley: The US Air Force in Korea 1950-53.” He is also a produced screenwriter.
Clean Sweep is a detailed chronological book about the air war in Europe during WWII. The book details the air war mainly as it pertained to the U.S. Army Air-corps, but additionally includes the RAF and the Luftwaffe. It covers some of the great battles and aerial conflicts of the war. It further provides personal accounts by some of the pilots involved in the life and death struggle of aerial combat.
In his book, Thomas Clever describes the fighter and bomber aircraft as they pertain to both sides of the conflict. He provides the reader with a descriptive evolution of aircraft as they were modified and improved to meet the enemy and the mission requirements. He further discusses air battle techniques, operating procedures, and fighter concepts employed by all sides.
No book about WWII would be complete without a discussion of the toll the war took on the people, countries, and soldiers involved. Thomas does discuss the cost of war as it pertains to manpower, economics, resources, and lives. We also get a glimpse at the decision makers and their policies that effected the outcome of the war.
Clean Sweep is an excellent book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning more about this great conflict. I especially enjoyed reading some of the personal notes and stories of the pilots; no matter which side they were on. This book was so well written that I felt bad for the young German pilots towards the end of the war. They were thrown into aircraft with minimal training just to become cannon fodder.
When one reads this book, it discusses the toll mainly in aircraft numbers, but one has to realize that each aircraft had a crew compliment. A fighter might only have 1 pilot, but a B-17 has 10 crewmen. When the air battle aftermath is discussed and the reader is told that 60 B-17’s out of 146 were shot down, the reader has to realize that means 600 men; the author seems to gloss over this important aspect at times.
I must admit, some of the stories are very personal and tragic, while others are hard to believe. An example might be: the pilot that tried to bail out but his parachute got caught on the vertical stabilizer of his aircraft and it drug him down to his death; or the pilot that did bail out only to land in his mother’s back yard and then went in to his home to eat pancakes.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book. Clean Sweep is full of great historical characters and stories full of valor and bravery. It also provides the reader a brief glimpse into the lives of the pilots that flew these life-or-death missions.
I would like to thank Thomas McKelvey Cleaver, Osprey Publishing, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Clean Sweep: VIII Fighter Command Against the Luftwaffe, 1942–45.