Title: Midnight Flight to Nuremberg: The Capture of the Nazi Who Put Adolph Hitler into Power
Author: Marcus A. Nannini
Midnight Flight to Nuremberg: The Capture of the Nazi Who Put Adolph Hitler into Power follows First Lieutenant Harry E. Watson Jr., a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during the height of WWII. Harry became known for his skill at flying in low-visibility conditions, relying solely on his instrumentation and intuition to get him through countless harrowing situations and too-close calls.
From delivering critical medical supplies through German-infiltrated airspace, to performing paratrooper drops, where dropping even half a second late would send men directly into the hands of the enemy, Harry was no stranger to high stakes operations. As the war progressed, and as each mission became more dangerous than the last, Harry discovered his growing reputation as a risk taker. He was asked to complete a career-culminating, top-secret mission that would prove to be more dangerous than anything he’d been tasked with before.
Midnight Flight to Nuremberg is a historical, non-fiction recount of Harry E. Watson’s experiences during WWII. Black-and-white pictures placed strategically throughout the book range from personal photos of Harry and his comrades during the war, to representative images of what Harry had likely experienced. They provide a historically-accurate account which allows readers to actively visualize the story. The author strikes a good balance between telling Harry’s story and providing interesting historical and military facts about WWII to vary the content and ensure that readers are not only entertained, but are learning something along the way.
The book begins with a brief prologue where the author describes how he was introduced to Harry and his general approach to interviewing his subject, something he clearly excels at. The prologue serves to frame the story and provide a glimpse at the author’s writing process and progression of his relationship with his subject. It will prove helpful when events in the book become so vivid that readers may forget it’s nonfiction.
One of the book’s central themes, establishing Harry as a self-proclaimed risk taker, is shown early via vivid stories from his early childhood, where 10-year-old Harry squirmed his way into abandoned coal mines in Western Pennsylvania to collect enough coal to warm his family’s home. Though he thought nothing of it at the time, the stories showcase Harry’s personality and set the stage for his military career.
Though the compilation of Harry’s stories can easily stand alone, it is Harry himself who proves to be the heart and soul of the book. He is smart, meticulous, and dedicated, which he proves again and again through his actions during each mission. Readers may find that by the time Harry’s midnight flight to Nuremberg occurs, the weight of the single event is far surpassed by the book’s other stories and themes. The title, Midnight Flight to Nuremberg: The Capture of the Nazi Who Put Adolph Hitler into Power, doesn’t quite accurately represent the focus of the book, nor does the content the justice it deserves.
The book provides a unique historical view of WWII, military terminology, aircrafts, and machinery, and life in the 1940’s. Harry is the perfect protagonist to his own story, sharing with readers his harrowing experiences during WWII that many can only imagine. Readers will find a perfect balance of history and biography in Midnight Flight to Nuremberg.
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