The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WWII Skies

Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis

Published by Zenith Press, 2012
ISBN 10: 0760343934 / ISBN 13: 9780760343937
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Synopsis: Publication Date:November 15, 2012
"Having read other biographies of Marseille . . . I was surprised to fi nd that this gracefully written new work adds fascinating details and accounts from extensive interviews with Luftwaffe 'Experten' that make it worth reading no matter how deeply immersed in Marseille lore you might already be."
- Aviation History magazine
"Heaton expertly portrays Marseille as one of history's great fighter pilots, as well as a man who lived life to the full and who fought with honor." -- Dennis Showalter 
The Star of Africais a biography of the dramatic life and meteoric career of German Luftwaffe Captain Hans-Joachim Marseille, the "Star of Africa." Marseille, a legendary figure in the annals of military history, had 158 kills to his name and was one of the rare recipients of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds, the Third Reich's highest honor awarded for valor in combat. Unlike other German fighter aces, Marseille is also a famous figure in the public imagination in the United States and other English-speaking countries, where his rebellious nature, iconoclastic behavior, and early death have nourished his reputation just as greatly as his exceptional skill and chivalrous conduct as an adversary.

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Hans-Joachim Marseille, Germany’s greatest fighter pilot of World War II, had an inauspicious beginning. His parents were divorced, and his relationship with his father was difficult. Even when doing well in school, he was frequently in trouble with his teachers. In the Luftwaffe, he was often written up for his undisciplined behavior—he once landed his plane on the autobahn—and it seemed like he spent most of his time restricted to quarters. He crash-landed planes, flew off on his own leaving his wingman unprotected, and clashed with superior officers. His first commanding officer, Herbert Ihlefeld, sent him packing for repeatedly disobeying orders and breaking formation. In turn, his second commanding officer, Johannes Steinhoff, the famed German ace, also tired of his drunken exploits and careless flying, and sent him off to his third commander, Eduard Neumann. Once under Neumann’s tutelage in Africa, however, Marseille’s exceptional skills as a pilot and gunner started to bloom. But even as his victories mounted, Marseille remained his own man. Rejecting Nazi ideology, he continued listening to forbidden jazz music and took on a South African POW as his assistant and friend. He followed his own chivalrous code and frequently went out of his way to avoid killing the Allied pilots he fought against. He was known to guide damaged Allied planes to the ground and fly through Allied antiaircraft fire to drop written messages to inform his enemies about pilots he had shot down. The previously undisciplined and unruly Marseille had become a leader among the pilots, and his tragic death—caused by a mechanical failure, not an Allied pilot—was a severe blow to the morale of his unit. Drawing on extensive interviews with many Luftwaffe pilots and other German officials who knew Marseille personally, Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis illuminate the flamboyant and complicated personality of Hans-Joachim Marseille, the Star of Africa.

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Title: The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans ...
Publisher: Zenith Press
Publication Date: 2012
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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