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'Shot Down' recounts real life peril of flying in WWII

An Amazon best seller and winner of 25 national book awards, "Shot Down" recounts the experiences of members of a 10-man B-17 bomber crew after their plane, piloted by the author's father, was knocked out of the sky by German fighters over the France and Belgium border on Feb. 8, 1944.

Author Steve Snyder of Seal Beach, California, talks about the book at 6:30 p.m. June 14 at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center. Copies of the book will be available to buy.

In 2009, Snyder retired from Vision Service Plan after a 36-year career in sales and sales management. He then began his quest to learn more about the World War II experiences of his father, pilot Howard Snyder, and the crew of the B-17, Susan Ruth. "Shot Down" is based on 4½ years of research into the events surrounding the incident.

The book covers the crew's training, their journey to England, what life was like on base, as well as in London and the English countryside, and the perils of the 8th Air Force flying combat missions over occupied Europe and Germany.

Through personal letters, oral and written accounts, declassified military documents and interviews with the people who took part in the events that happened over 70 years ago — even the German Luftwaffe pilot who shot down the Susan Ruth — the story comes to life through words and photographs.