• Damn Lucky

  • One Man's Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History
  • By: Kevin Maurer
  • Narrated by: Holter Graham, John Luckadoo
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (164 ratings)

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Damn Lucky  By  cover art

Damn Lucky

By: Kevin Maurer
Narrated by: Holter Graham,John Luckadoo
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Publisher's Summary

From Kevin Maurer—the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning coauthor of No Easy Day—comes the true story of a World War II bomber pilot who survived twenty-five missions in Damn Lucky, “an epic, thrillingly written, utterly immersive account of a very lucky, incredible survivor of the war in the skies to defeat Hitler” (New York Times bestselling author Alex Kershaw).

“We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naive and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives. We were all afraid, but it was beyond our power to quit. We volunteered for the service and, once trained and overseas, felt we had no choice but to fulfill the mission assigned. My hope is that this book honors the men with whom I served by telling the truth about what it took to climb into the cold blue and fight for our lives over and over again.”—John “Lucky” Luckadoo, Major, USAF (Ret.) 100th Bomb Group (H)

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was a world away from John Luckadoo’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. But when the Japanese attacked the American naval base on December 7, 1941, he didn’t hesitate to join the military. Trained as a pilot with the United States Air Force, Second Lieutenant Luckadoo was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group stationed in Thorpe Abbotts, England. Between June and October 1943, he flew B-17 Flying Fortresses over France and Germany on bombing runs devised to destroy the Nazi war machine.

With a shrapnel torn Bible in his flight jacket pocket and his girlfriend’s silk stocking around his neck like a scarf as talismans, Luckadoo piloted through Luftwaffe machine-gun fire and antiaircraft flak while enduring subzero temperatures to complete twenty-five missions and his combat service. The average bomber crew rarely survived after eight to twelve missions. Knowing far too many airmen who wouldn’t be returning home, Luckadoo closed off his emotions and focused on his tasks to finish his tour of duty one moment at a time, realizing his success was more about being lucky than being skilled.

Drawn from Luckadoo’s firsthand accounts, acclaimed war correspondent Kevin Maurer shares his extraordinary tale from war to peacetime, uncovering astonishing feats of bravery during the bloodiest military campaign in aviation history, and presenting an incredible portrait of a young man’s coming-of-age during the world’s most devastating war. 

This program includes a bonus conversation between John "Lucky" Luckadoo and the author.

©2022 Kevin Maurer (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

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must read

i’ve read many accounts of the WWII allied bombing effort and this is one of the most comprehensive books on the subject that I have had the pleasure to read-A must read for anyone not only from a historical perspective but there are some valuable life lessons to be taken heed of as well. buy this now

3 people found this helpful

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stay on target, gets good half way through

At the end of the book are two extra features, the acatual guy making a statement and then the author and Lucky discussing points. The actual guy, Lucky himself, has a deep voice, but the narrator is Leave It to Beaver little squeakly voice. That's what's you have to get past in the first half of the book. Plus the writing is not that great. But the story is incredible. This is a new book, Lucky is 99 years old speaking at the end, and they worked through the pandemic. To the author, read "Conversations with Major Winters" to see how books like this are done. To Mr. Luckadoo, thank you. I do understand going over the memories of the war is not what you want to do. My father was a B17 pilot in the 8th Air Force, and I've read hundreds of books, mostly biographies and autobiographies. Nothing new in this one, but certainly described what my father experience involving the missions and base. I have no idea what his experiences were off duty and in London.

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Probably the best I’ve read

Like you, I’ve read plenty of biographical war stories. This one really got me. Maybe the brute honesty of Lucky which had a ton of emotional ups and downs. Great storytelling, great accomplishments and some very real confrontations with the Air Force.

The piece that puts it over the top is the 30 minutes of interview the author does with Lucky, who dug deep for these recollections in his early 90’s, much of which was recounted for the first time.

First rate book.

1 person found this helpful

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Stark Reality of being a WW2 bomber pilot

Extremely eye opening. Lucky was able to convey the harsh reality of being a B17 Pilot in Europe over Nazi occupied territory. No glamor, no Hollywood spin. The stark reality of flying into the jaws of the tiger followed by the overwhelming stress of doing this on a daily basis and then suffering the terrible losses of good friends and crewmates. This is documenting history as well as telling one person's experience.
An absolute must read.

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Good WWII Bio of an Amazing Life

This is a good WWII bio of John Luckadoo's experiences in the air war and his amazing long life. John has indeed been "damn lucky."

For those familiar with the air war, a lot of the background is well-known. For those not familiar, the book provides a good introduction.

What is new is John's personal story, which is remarkable. His chances of surviving the war, given when he entered it, were very slim. He is remarkably modest (as so many of his generation were), yet was a man willing to stand up to authority when needed. It is clear he was highly respected.

There are so few WWII veterans left that it is important to preserve their stories, especially those like this. Thanks to Kevin Maurer and "Lucky" for this addition.

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Must listen for those interested in ww2 aviation!

A top notch No holds barred Look at the Air war in Europe. Not afraid to say what worked and what didn't work and what was just plain crazy.You will feel like you're in the B17 with the crew.

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I read this almost non stop

This is a book i say just get it if ur reading this review get it its vary well put together vary good writing like a movie u cant take ur eyes off of it paints a picture

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Great Story

This book was a very interesting listen. I especially enjoyed the interview with Mr. Luckadoo at the end of the book

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Pretty good story - but dime novel writing

I became interested in Lucky’s ordeals as a B-17 co-pilot, but the author’s attempts at raising the drama in the different scenarios didn’t work for me. And honestly, this narrator clearly isn’t one that works for me.

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Great

loved it , looking for more from this time in history. 4th of July week.