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Shot Down

The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth
Narrated by: Richard Rieman
Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
Non-member price: $28.94
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Publisher's Summary

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. This includes: 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; and German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians.

©2014 Steve Snyder (P)2015 Steve Snyder

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Richards
  • 25-05-2017

A Great Story Diminished by Audible

Any additional comments?

Story: The first person account of B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth's Aircraft Commander, Lieutenant Howard Snyder. It is told through notes home and various diaries and other accounts and as such is not easy reading (or listening in this case) but is none the less compelling because of that. Anytime you are dealing with a real person and a real account of extraordinary events, I find it is usually worth the effort. This audio book did try my patience extremely and was no fault of the author or narrator. (See Performance Below)

Performance: Richard Rieman did a good job, albeit a little stiffly. The thing that almost ruined this audio book for me was that they would repeat ENTIRE paragraphs almost every chapter, so you would listen to the same thing over and over. It could be (I am speculating here and giving them the benefit of the doubt) that these sections were the block quote sections that started a given section, and as such if you were reading it, you would have just skimmed over it when you hit that section in the printed version. Not having the printed version, I do not know. But the effect was that it sounded like they had an audio intern doing the editing. AUDIBLE - You really should listen to your own finished products once in a while.

Overall: A very interesting and accurate 1st person account of life and death in the 8th Air Force in WWII. Very poor production caused whole passages to be repeated almost every chapter and almost caused me to stop listening. I'm glad I didn't because it really is a remarkable story of a bunch of remarkable people.


This audio book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • cutelilinikika
  • 17-03-2017

Very informative

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This was a very informative book regarding the USAAF during WWII and I think many people would benefit from the history provided. I was given many new things to think about as I listened.

Would you be willing to try another book from Steve Snyder? Why or why not?

While this book was informative it lacked the emotional strength I was expecting. Part of this could have been what Snyder was working with as he tried to remain as true to life as possible. There was obviously a lot of research that went into compiling this narrative and I would be interested in trying more historical stories from the author.

What about Richard Rieman’s performance did you like?

Rieman's voice was perfect for this type of historical book. It is just what I associate with WWII in my head, so it worked really well for this tale.

Do you think Shot Down needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

The story would have had more of an impact on me had it focused more around a handful of characters and less on the overall involvement of the USAAF in the war. That said, I think that some shorter books or maybe a short book compiling some of the letters from individual airmen on the Susan Ruth would help me appreciate the story more. It would be nice to have more information about the crew than was given in this book.

Any additional comments?

The quotes at the beginning of every chapter (which I assume are in the written version as well) were very destracting. Maybe that would work if reading the physical book, but for audio it really didn't work well.

Rieman's narration was really good. The only part that I didn't particularly like were the various voices used for the men and women quoted in the book.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • NatsFan
  • 15-03-2017

Good For Details

Great B 17 details. Hard to like the main characters other than their service to their country. Very dry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex
  • 02-12-2015

Experience both the life and death of WWII

I will preface this review by saying that I’ve generally avoided WWII stories upto this point. This was mostly because in high school every book related to WWII focused on just the battle portion and the misery and death in the trenches, which is something that needed to be learned, but I always wanted to know how people actually lived between battles (e.g. what did they do in their spare time to keep from being bored). There were descriptions of the bases, the English towns where the bases were located and generally the living conditions in WWII. I’d describe it as a book about both the life and death of WWII.

I took a chance on this book because I’m an aviation geek, and I’m happy I did because I got so much more from it than just aviation glee. Perhaps because it is written by a son about his dad, the story seemed more personal. I felt like I was going through the training, battle anticipation, moments of boredom between raids, and fear of having to bail out of a crippled aircraft right along with the crew. There is also what I would term a nice tribute to the people who lived in occupied Belgium and France who risked their own lives to rescue and provide aid. It felt like they found a way to fight back even if they were occupied. I also really appreciated that the author talked to German Luftwaffe pilot and put his recollections in the book. It’s nice to have a bit of the other side. I learned a whole lot about the war that I either had forgotten or hadn’t learned before, but not once did I feel like facts were being thrown at me. The author did an excellent job of weaving information between the personal stories and lettres, so you get education and emotion in this book.

As for the narrator, it took me a sec to settle into listening to him. This was mostly because I guess I had expected a ‘younger’ sounding voice to match the age that Howard Snyder would have been during this time. In the end though, I came to really enjoy the narrator’s voice. I started thinking of it more as someone who went through the war was recalling and sharing what life was like for them during that time; and for that the narrator’s voice was perfect and added to the book’s experience. Personal pre-expectations aside, the narrator had a pleasant voice to listen to for almost 9 hours of audiobook and the audio quality was clear.

In terms of audiobook format, there was one thing that I was a bit confused about as I listened, which I think in print might have made sense. There is quite a bit of repetition of certain passages throughout the book which (having never seen the print version) I theorize must be like when the chapter has an excerpt or highlight from its main body quoted in italics at the beginning. That sort of thing doesn’t translate well for me into audio because I stop and go “didn’t I just hear this? Did I accidentally hit the back 30 sec button?” Other than this, it was a really good book and enjoyable listen (which is why I didn’t deduct a star for the repetition issue like I normally would). Ok this review is turning into an essay and is longer than I thought it would be, so I'll end it by saying: I listened to this book for the planes, but if you have even a passing interest in: history, planes, air force /military life, or just a well written book; this would be worth your time.

"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-01-2019

best book on ww2 I've heard.

very good and factual book Steve nailed it.good job. I enjoyed it very much it brought back memories of my dad's story's as he was a waist gunner on b17s

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  • Gloria
  • 27-12-2018

More than a story

This audio book will surprise you. It's so much more than the title itself conveys.

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  • K. S. Gordon
  • 23-12-2018

A remarkable, scholarly, WW II bio.

Thus is a riveting story and well researched dive into the life of a B17 crew from induction, training, deployment, battle and aftermath. I leaned things that are missed in the usual treatment of WW-II Army Aircorp studies and it validated my own father's war stories of the same time but different aircraft.

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  • Cynthia A Hayes
  • 25-11-2018

One Worth Downloading!

I've listened to the story, Shot Down, over the past couple of days! If you have any interest in a real story about WWII, you'll love this audiobook. I highly recommend it!

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  • Shawn Godfrey
  • 23-11-2018

Outstanding! Do yourself a favor & listen to it!

I met Steve Snyder, the author of this outstanding book, in Loveland, Colorado at a Collins Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour event. I purchased his book at that event. This is a great read/listen! You just don't learn the intriguing true story of Howard Snyder and his crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth but you learn about WW II through the historical content and side notes that Steve adds. This provides great background and context. This is definitely a great listen. Buy the book as well for the pictures and extra content.

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  • Phylis B. Craig
  • 19-11-2018

Not just a story of one crew-a great review of the War and the events that happened during the War years.

I was expecting a story about a B17 crew which I did get but I was not expecting the artful weaving of historical figures and events into the story. This book gives an excellent synopsis of WW II and tells us what was going on during the war years. Great listen-highly recommend.

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  • M. Edwards
  • 16-01-2019

Extraordinary storytelling

Utterly gripping story. One of the most amazing war stories ever told or that I’ve ever heard.

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  • Toby
  • 03-12-2018

shot down

If you've not read a book on the air war then this is a great start, if like me you have read many them some of the facts become I heard that before.... However when you actually start to peice the story of the plane and crew it becomes a tale of horror, daring and survival