Rite of Passage: A Teenager's Chronicle of Combat and Captivity in Nazi Germany
by Ray Matheny (Author), (German General) Johannes Steinhoff (Foreword)
THIS TITLE IS NO LONGER IN PRINT, BUT WE HAVE A FEW REMAINING COPIES
Drawing on a vast array of original source material that has survived for decades and previously classified information, this thrilling narrative history documents a young soldier’s miraculous survival in war-torn Europe during World War II. Soon after joining the U.S. Army Corps, a wiry, baby-faced 17-year-old found himself a seasoned warrior desperately battling head-to-head against the Luftwaffe’s best fighter pilots over Nazi Germany. Having amazingly escaped the fiery wreckage of his B-17, he relied on his ingenuity and determination to get him through two bitter winters in confinement as a POW in the infamous Stalag 17. Along with other American prisoners, he was coerced to flee the rapidly advancing Red Army as the European war came to a close and endure a brutal 18-day march where he witnessed firsthand the horrors of the Mauthausen concentration camp. Weighing an emaciated 110 pounds, he was finally rescued by Patton’s Third Army just days before Germany surrendered.
"Both unique and compelling . . . a haunting reminder of the personal tragedies that occurred each day in the skies over Germany, the deadliest battlefront of World War II." —DeLoy Spencer, Hill AeroSpace Museum
"An amazing sequence of challenging experiences—most amazing of all, he survived. This is a great book." —Russell A. Madsen, flight engineer, B-17G, 350th Sqdrn, 100th BG
"This book is not only fascinating, but it also opened my eyes to an entirely new perspective . . . a discovery of the similarities between the German and American airmen. . . and this book only stands to confirm the madness of our ever having shot at each other in the first place." —Gen. Johannes Steinhoff, former Luftwaffe ace and decorated German war hero, from the foreword