Apr 22, 2021
The Few: The American ""Knights of the Air"" Who Risked Everything to Save Britain in the Summer of 1940
Posted by Alex Kershaw

The Few tells the dramatic and unforgettable story of eight young Americans who joined Britain s Royal Air Force, defying their country s neutrality laws and risking their U.S citizenship to fight side by side with England s finest pilots in the summer of 1940 over a year before America entered the war Flying the lethal and elegant Spitfire, they became knights of the aThe Few tells the dramatic and unforgettable story of eight young Americans who joined Britain s Royal Air Force, defying their country s neutrality laws and risking their U.S citizenship to fight side by side with England s finest pilots in the summer of 1940 over a year before America entered the war Flying the lethal and elegant Spitfire, they became knights of the air and with minimal training but plenty of guts, they dueled the skilled and fearsome pilots of Germany s Luftwaffe By October 1940, they had helped England win the greatest air battle in the history of aviation Winston Churchill once said of all those who fought in the Battle of Britain, Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few These daring Americans were the few among the few Now, with the narrative drive and human drama that made The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter national bestsellers, Alex Kershaw tells their story for the first time.

  • Title: The Few: The American ""Knights of the Air"" Who Risked Everything to Save Britain in the Summer of 1940
  • Author: Alex Kershaw
  • ISBN: 9780306815720
  • Page: 488
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Few The American Knights of the Air Who Risked Everything to Save Britain in the Summer of The Few tells the dramatic and unforgettable story of eight young Americans who joined Britain s Royal Air Force defying their country s neutrality laws and risking their U S citizenship to fight sid

    Mike

    Everyone knows Churchill s famous quote from the Battle of Britain But of the few , 20% were not British but were from other nations And within that small group was an even smaller group, a Few Americans, officially 7 but actually 8 you ll just have to read the book to find out These few pilots were breaking the law, the Neutrality Act, and had to sneak out of the US and into the UK There are some amazing adventures just getting there Mr Kershaw seems to bring the skills of a novelist to telling [...]


    'Aussie Rick'

    I picked up a copy of this book at the airport in Singapore a few years back and read it cover to cover by the time my plane had landed at Sydney airport in Australia A pretty good book covering the exploits of a number of American pilots who joined the Royal Air Force and its fighter squadrons during the Battle of Britain The story is well told and the book was a joy to read, covering an aspect not normally found in many history books, again, highly recommended reading


    Alisa

    I really think highly of Alex Kershaw s ability to blend the horrors and excitement of war with thorough research and a recognition that these are young men in this case risking their lives for philosophical commitments like freedom and patriotism, as well as acknowledging that they were also high flying dare devils who really wanted to fly The 7 Americans and one American under Canadian passport who are the center of this book risked prison to fly for the British in 1940 because of America s co [...]


    Fred Shaw

    Never have so many owed so much to so few Winston Churchill, 1940, during the Battle of Britain There were many great leaders in WWII, but in my mind, there were 2 who were the greatest Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Churchill for his vision, compassion and determination, and Roosevelt for his humanity, foresight, and conscience to fight with his countrymen to come to the aid of England and the world.This is the second book I ve read by Alex Kershaw, and I was not disappointed T [...]


    Michael

    There are three groups of Americans who went to World War II long before the U.S entered the war First there was a group of Chinese American pilots from Eugene, Oregon who travelled to China and flew against the Japanese Almost nothing has been written about these brave Americans Then there was the American Volunteer Group, the Flying Tigers, whose exploits are almost mythic Then there were those Americans who, in violation of American neutrality, travelled to England and flew for England agains [...]


    Patrick Belair

    This is a very good read.If your interested in The Battle of Britain you should check this out 7 brave American s choose to ignore america s neutrality and face arrest to help Britain in her hour of need.True hero s.


    Paul Pessolano

    The Few The American Knights of the Air Who Risked Everything to Fight in the Battle of Britain by Alex Kershaw, Published by Da Capo Press.Category World War II Publication Date October 24, 2006.Every once in awhile you come across a very unique and interesting story that very few people know about, so is the case with this book It is the story of a few brave Americans who joined the fight to save England These young men were flight enthusiasts who had a great desire to fly They made their way [...]


    Jill Hutchinson

    The title of this book really has two meanings.t, the Few refers to the RAF in the Battle of Britain as mentioned in one of Churchill s most famous speeches second, it also refers to the few Americans who came to England while the United States was still neutral, to fly and fight with their English brother airmen in the RAF We seldom hear of those original seven Americans who risked their citizenship to join the fight against the Nazis And what a group they were, a two time Olympic gold medalist [...]


    Bear

    If you are into WWII aviation, this book will capture your attention The author tells the personal stories of the first Americans to fight in WWII on the side of the British they broke many laws to do so, but knew the coming storm of war would not abate once Europe fell to Adolph Hitler and his military Britain was in a time of dire need, and unlike many Americans and their comfortable, isolationist lives, these young men risked everything and in most cases, ultimately paid with their lives to f [...]


    David Bennett

    Excellent very well researched, engaging book covering a lesser known corner of WWII history Highly recommended


    Mike Thomas

    This is a very good book about American pilots that fought with the British during WWII and in so doing defied the American Neutrality Act prior to the US getting into the war They were effectively breaking the law to fight against Hitler s air power and defend Great Britain The battles are described by some of the remaining veterans so you get first hand knowledge that s really very descriptive What is very interesting besides the battles is the lengths these men went to just to fight for Great [...]


    Wes

    This is an excellent study of the Few Americans that initally risked their citinzenship to fight for Great Britian against the Luftwaffe onslaught Mr Kershaw writes a quick moving narrative where you the reader become attached to the pilots that served.I m not an expert on the Battle of Britian, so learned some new facts about the air battle and what odds these dedicated pilots were up against These pilots of the RAF had guts to go on multiple sorties a day not knowing in the next minute whether [...]


    Pat

    Really fun book focusing on the few Americans to join the British air force as Germany attempted to invade Most of my reading on WWII has focused on the US involvement so my knowledge of the war in 1940 wasn t the best but the author paints the big picture really well even while focusing on individual pilots There are even some snippets looking at the famous German pilots of the time Dogfights, tragedy, triumph, and courage at individual and national levels This had everything I want in the war [...]


    Mike Lanski

    An amazing and sad story of the brave Americans who went to Britain despite their country being neutral at that time and flew with the RAF.


    Christian Nikitas

    I am just becoming interested in WWII This book was very easy to read It was written like a novel I learned a lot about Americans fighting in Britain before the USA joined the war I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in history especially WWII.


    George

    This was an excellent read about The Few Americans that joined Great Britain to fly and fight against the Nazi s before America joined the WWII Kershaw adds depth by including not only the American experience but also the accounts of the British and German pilots The book contains many individuals and it s hard to keep them all straight Yet, Kershaw s research was marvelous.


    Roger

    Excellent really felt like we re in the cockpit with them.


    Mark

    As the Nazi juggernaut swept across Europe in the early days of W.W II, many of the pilots from conquered countries made their way to England to join the ranks of the R.A.F Defying the U.S.A s neutrality laws, a handful of American fliers also joined the conflict Lured by the desire to fly fast planes, to test their mettle against the Luftwaffe, or the noble cause of defending Great Britain from tyranny and denying Hitler this last prize in the west.These young men, full of bravado than experi [...]


    Marv

    If you are interested in World War II history this is a great read It is the story of the Americans who, secretly and illegally, went to England in World War II in order to fight the Nazis during the famous Battle of Britain Although the story is focused on the Americans who were there, it also gives a good insight into what the Battle of Britain was like and how desperate it actually was I m a history buff so it had automatic appeal to me, but it is not a dry read and you don t need to know a l [...]


    Craig

    In the early years of WWII Sept, 1939 through December 7, 1941 , before the US entered the war, several American non military flyers traveled to England to enlist in the Royal Air Force RAF to fight the Germans They did this in violation of US law the Neutrality Act They were a fearless and flamboyant group Their courage in the skies over England and the Channel did much to turn the tide against Germany s intended invasion of England by sea and land In his book, The Few , author Alex Kershaw hig [...]


    Stephen Dennis

    Kershaw has a series of books that look, at a very personal level, at the exploits of individuals that fought during World War II This is another excellent example of that genre.The book chronicles the exploits of a small group of Americans who, against U.S neutrality laws, made their way to England to fight and, in most cases, die flying for the RAF during the 1940 Battle of Britain It was a desperate time in British history when flyers were losing their lives at a prodigious rate and each new [...]


    Barbara Mader

    This book follows the course of eight Americans who joined the RAF prior to The Battle of Britain The narrative is a bit chaotic at times as it skips about in time and place the pilots arrived by varying routes and were scattered about in various squadrons but as I enjoy books which emphasize the individual experience in war, I liked the book I appreciate that Kershaw did not pretend all these young men joined initially to fight tyranny, save Britain, etc most of them were just looking for adven [...]


    Ryan

    With the Nazi Germany Blitzkreig smashing through nearly all of Europe, the chances of the British in surviving against the nearly unstoppable juggernaut that are the Nazis seems like a snowball s chance in hell However that doesn t stop a handful of daring American pilots from risking everything they have to defy the orders of their own country to secretly cross the Atlantic to answer the call to arms In the constant face of death, the joint force of British, American, and leftover French pilot [...]


    Up2orbit

    The Few is a very detailed account of the American pilots who volunteered to go fly British planes against the Germans in 1940, a year before the US was drawn into WWII The book reads somewhat like a novel, but is very thoroughly referenced, covering the Battle of Britain from the British and the German perspectives I took a risk reading this book because I didn t particularly care for Kershaw s first book, The Bedford Boys But the story of the Battle of Britain intrigues me, and in the end I wa [...]


    KennyO

    The Few reads like an adventure while fleshing out the stories of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz It illuminates the dire situation that the British confronted as Hitler s forces swept through Europe with England next in his sights Most Americans have no idea today that, before the U.S joined WWII, one fifth of those who flew in the R.A.F against Germany s Luftwaffe were not British Among that foreign one fifth were a number of Americans Kershaw has written an homage to them that is a bit to [...]


    Matt

    This was a very good read Great behind the scenes type of story to WW2 Very well written, solid character build without going too overboard and well told If you like little known stories behind WW2, American pride, and solid detail around the war in the air, you will like this book Abou the 609 squadron of RAF during the Battle of Brittain The original seige Story of the American Pilots who went awol from the US to fly and fight.


    Jeni Enjaian

    This is an amazing book I did not expect to like it as much as I did I like it so much I m putting it on my wishlist Kershaw manages to create a factual narrative that reads almost like fiction His detail is absolutely incredible The book covers a scant few months of the war yet backs in so much information it s almost overwhelming especially towards the end of the book This is where he relates the unfortunate reality of the war, death.I highly recommend this book.


    History Geek

    What a good story It s interesting to start with the politics of isolationism and how much at risk young Americans were when they were trying to risk their lives for England Whether they were there for the fight for freedom, or just the fight period, the story if the few and the eventual Eagle Squadrons is a good one and I thought this book a great read to explain how a few Americans helped keep England from being just another Nazi conquest.


    Ian Divertie

    Excellent book Not only have I read it, I ve recommended it to many and given it as a gift to the unsuspecting This early part of WW II has become something of a fascination for me lately, not just the Battle of Britain, which hopefully every body should read about and understand the significance of If you have not dipped into The Battle of Britain this is a good one to start to come to grips with it America s relation to WW II at this point also makes this a worthwhile read.


    Warren Benton

    This was an excellent read about The Few Americans that joined Great Britain to fly and fight against the Nazi s before america joined the war Each of the Few had their own reasons for wanting to defeat Germany, and they risked getting arrested by the FBI and had to sneak into Britain to sign up to fight.



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