"Lightning Down" with autographed bookplate
- ABOUT THE BOOK
LIMITED-EDITION - NOW AVAILABLE!
Now's your chance to collect the new book Lightning Down with a bookplate signed by B-17 pilot Russell Hilding, a historical figure of WWII. After being shot down over France, Russell should have ended up in a P.O.W. camp run by the Luftwaffe, but instead he was sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. There, he joined P-38 pilot Joe Mosher (the hero of Lightning Down) and 170 other Allied airmen in the most tenuous P.O.W. experience of the ETO. Prior to his passing in Nov. 2021, Russell held the distinction of being the LAST LIVING AMERICAN AIRMAN who was imprisoned in Buchenwald. See Russell in the news clip below and add this rare book to your collection today!
Includes a COA // shipping added in checkout // ships bubble wrapped & boxed
"Buchenwald was the place no allied airman was supposed to wind up―but they did. In this priceless eyewitness history, one of WWII’s most incredible stories has finally found its teller. Lightning Down is a riveting read that will leave you with a cold shiver." ― Adam Makos, Valor Studios co-founder and author of A Higher Call
On August 13, 1944, Joe Moser set off on his forty-fourth combat mission over occupied France. Soon, he would join almost 170 other Allied airmen as prisoners in Buchenwald, one of the most notorious and deadly of Nazi concentration camps. Tom Clavin's Lightning Down tells this largely untold and riveting true story.
Moser was just twenty-two years old, a farm boy from Washington State who fell in love with flying. During the War he realized his dream of piloting a P-38 Lightning, one of the most effective weapons the Army Air Corps had against the powerful German Luftwaffe. But on that hot August morning he had to bail out of his damaged, burning plane. Captured immediately, Moser’s journey into hell began.
Moser and his courageous comrades from England, Canada, New Zealand, and elsewhere endured the most horrific conditions during their imprisonment... until the day the orders were issued by Hitler himself to execute them. Only a most desperate plan would save them.
The page-turning momentum of Lightning Down is like that of a thriller, but the stories of imprisoned and brutalized airmen are true and told in unforgettable detail, led by the distinctly American voice of Joe Moser, who prays every day to be reunited with his family.
Lightning Down is a can’t-put-it-down inspiring saga of brave men confronting great evil and great odds against survival.
- Russell Hilding grew up in Michigan and by age 19 was taking private flying lessons. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and became a B-17 captain, assigned to the 447th Bomb Group's 709th Bomb Squadron.
On his 14th combat mission, the July 13, 1944 raid to Munich, his B-17 was disabled by flak and fell out of formation. Making for home, they were caught by at least five Bf 109s that proceed to knock out two more engines. Escaping into heavy clouds, Russell descended until he saw farm fields below and ordered his crew to bail out. He held the aircraft steady, allowing his crew to jump, until it was his turn to parachute.
Upon hitting the earth, he discovered that he was in occupied France and was immediately picked up by local resistance fighters. He spent two weeks on the run, evading to Paris, the first stop to neutral Spain, where he was betrayed and captured.
Handed over to the Gestapo, Russell was taken on a journey that ended with imprisonment in the SS run Buchenwald Concentration Camp. There, Russell joined 167 other allied airmen, including P-38 pilot Joe Moser, subject of Lightning Down, where he spent two months until Luftwaffe ace Hannes Trautloft secured their transfer to Luftwaffe run camps. Russell was transferred to Stalag Luft III, site of the famous "Great Escape," and later to another Stalag where he was liberated in April 1945.
He returned home by his 23rd birthday and worked for his father's office supply company in Lansing. He married, had children and kept flying well into his 90s. Reaching the age of 100, Russell was the last living American airmen who survived Buchenwald when he passed away in November 2021. We're grateful to Russell and his daughters, Lynn and Susan, for their help in making this autographed book possible.