Editor reviews

Michael Veitch delivers an engaging and passionate performance of his nonfiction book FLAK. Since childhood, he had an obsession with Second World War aircraft. He believed that the men who flew these machines had incredible stories to share, but many of these narratives had not yet been recorded. Over a year, he set off to interview former bomber pilots, fighter aces, rear gunners, and bomb aimers living in Australia. These veterans were in their 80s, but their stories remained as vivid and unforgettable as the day they happened.
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Summary

The inspiring true stories of combat and camaraderie, read by the author with foreword by Bud Tingwell. Michael Veitch's life-long obsession with the aircraft of the Second World War led him to conclude that every single person who flew, or flew in them has at least one extraordinary story to tell. With most of these veterans in their 80s, he knew that it was a matter of urgency to find them now, before their personal stories disappear forever.
So, over the course of a year, Veitch interviewed over 50 former aircrew across Australia, many of whom had never spoken about their experiences before, even to their families. The result is FLAK - a collection of vivid, unforgettable stories from RAAF veterans about their experiences of combat in World War II. It is also an account of the strange, sometimes obsessive journey of the author himself, as he explores a passion held since childhood.
From bomber pilots to fighter aces, from rear gunners to bomb aimers, from stories of death and fear to tales of humor and comradeship, Michael has helped unearth the extraordinary stories of ordinary men living and fighting in extraordinary times.
©2006 Michael Veitch (P)2007 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Dave Coleman on 20-10-09

Enjoyable, informative and at times haunting.

I'm quite familiar with the WWII air war over Europe, and the contribution made by "empire" pilots and crew, but this is a fascinating account of the war in Europe, Africa and the South Pacific as seen through Australian eyes.
Veitch, initially in an unplanned way, began to capture and record accounts of wartime experience from Australians who had served in and around the allied air forces during WWII, and this book is his retelling of these firshand and very personal accounts, often in the words of the participants.
Its been a very enjoyable listen and I learned much.
Rather than concentrating exclusively on the fighter pilots and bomber crews, there are fascinating accounts from flying boat crews, air reconnaissance pilots, transport pilots and crews and of captivity and of rescue. Although for obvious reasons many of the accounts focus on Europe, I was unaware how much Australia itself had been bombed by the Japanese, and that the RAAF operated so extensively in the South Pacific.
There is much dry, irreverent Aussie humour. The reading is warm and engaging. Only after listening did I realise this was actually the voice of the author himself. He does a fine job of reading his own material. There are also moments of great poignancy however - both in time of conflict, and after.
This is a fine book, both for listeners familiar with the war in the air, and those yet to become so, and I recommend it.
Veitch was given so much material that could not be included in this book that he has written a sequel "Fly" , and I am off to download this next.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Russell Harbison on 24-07-13

Just the ticket!

My first review for Audible brought about by the need to express my admiration for 'Flak' and the reader/author, Michael Veitch. Michael if you are reading this 'Good on you, mate!' you certainly 'got it' in my opinion, The book and your narration scored at every level, the factual account, historical notes, humor, drama and respect came through in each chapter. More than any film or other book I have read this audio book had me flying over the Bass Straits on the way to work and then the French coast on the way home. As soon as I 'landed' it was straight onto Wikipedia researching the facts and figures I'd been listening to, I'm still enjoying the book long after it ended!
Should you spend a credit on this? Did you ever make an Airfix kit? Did you ever hear a Merlin engine? Ever see a Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane flypast? Need I say more?
Finally to the 'boys' involved. Michael's book and rendition underlines the respect, thanks and awe in which he (and I) regard these not-forgotten men (and women) caught up in an extraordinary time.
Off to download the next book 'Fly' now - happy commuting!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Marcia Y. on 20-02-09

Wow!

As an American I just didn't realize how much the Australian's did. Thank you for opening my eyes! Really enjoyed this one and his other book that Audible has. Listened to both at least twice. I hadn't realized that the German pilots never got a break until I listened to this but it made sense after I heard it in their own words. Thanks for of the eye opening experience!

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Brooke P. Anderson on 12-05-10

Marvelous

To me, this book is a "must read" for anyone who loves WWII aviation history.

This book has great stories, and the author is a masterful writer and narrator. I've read (and listened to) a lot of military history -- I loved this one. Also, I liked that many of the stories were from RAAF pilots and crew. There aren't as many books from their point of view, and this book, in addition to being marvelous just on its own without any qualifications, is an excellent source from and tribute to those pilots.

Thank you, Michael Veitch, for this wonderful book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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