As Memorial Day approaches and we begin remembering those who gave their lives for our country, let’s look back at an event during World War II; the downing of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth. There were over 56,000 downed airmen in World War II. Many died, many were captured, and some were fortunate enough to escape and evade capture, making it back to friendly lines to fight again.
The book, Shot Down: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth was released in 2014 by Sea Breeze Publishing. Author Steve Snyder’s father, Howard Snyder, was a B-17 pilot stationed in England during World War II. On February 8, 1944, his plane, the B-17 Susan Ruth, was Shot Down over the French/Belgium border after a mission to bomb Frankfurt, Germany.
For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the:
•Separation for young families as men went off to war
•Training before heading to foreign soil
•Military combat operations
•Underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it
•German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians
•Behind-the-scenes stories of the Belgium civilians who risked all to
save American flyers who were in the air one moment, spiraling down in
flames the next
•Creation and dedication of the monument to the Susan Ruth and its crew
located in Macquenoise, Belgium in 1989
Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating.
For most, 70 years is a long time ago. World War II fades in importance as each year goes by. Shot Down moves history out of the footnotes into reality, keeping the stories of real people alive as they experience being shot down. You are there, almost holding your breath as Lt. Snyder gets his crew out of his B-17 when bailing out over Nazi occupied Europe.
Steve Snyder is pleased to announce that his book, Shot Down: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth has received many awards. The book was awarded Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist War & Military (Adult Nonfiction), 2014 USA Best Book Awards - Finalist History: General, 2014 USA Best Book Awards - Finalist History: Military, and 2014 Southern California Book Festival - Honorable Mention General Non-Fiction.
Recent Praise for Shot Down:
“Shot Down is a compelling story of our B-17 aircrews that flew, fought, and died over Europe to save a continent from tyranny and oppression. There were over 56,000 downed airmen in World War II. Many died, many were captured, and some were fortunate enough to escape and evade capture, making it back to friendly lines to fight again. Lt Howard Snyder and the crew of the Susan Ruth was one of those crews that went down over Europe. Their firsthand account of their experiences, including the bravery of the members of the Underground who helped them, is a wonderful read … and gives a great sense of the heroes that made up the "Greatest Generation."- General Duncan J. McNabb, USAF, retired, 33rd Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
“As the 424th Air Base Squadron Commander that represents the U.S. at the “Susan Ruth” memorial every year, I learned about what happened to these crew members. This story is a great example of young men from the greatest generation fighting to defend the cause their country asked them to.” - Lt. Col. Christopher Kuester, USAF, Commander, 424th Air Base Squadron, Chievres, Belgium
The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth
By Steve Snyder
Publisher: Sea Breeze Publishing
Published: August 2014
Genre: History, Military, World War II, Aviation