Buying Options

Kindle Price: $13.99

Save $4.01 (22%)

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

You've subscribed to ! We will preorder your items within 24 hours of when they become available. When new books are released, we'll charge your default payment method for the lowest price available during the pre-order period.
Update your device or payment method, cancel individual pre-orders or your subscription at
Your Memberships & Subscriptions

Buy for others

Give as a gift or purchase for a team or group.
Learn more

Buying and sending eBooks to others

Select quantity
Buy and send eBooks
Recipients can read on any device

Additional gift options are available when buying one eBook at a time.  Learn more

These ebooks can only be redeemed by recipients in the US. Redemption links and eBooks cannot be resold.

Kindle app logo image

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.

Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Amazon book clubs early access

Join or create book clubs

Choose books together

Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free.
Lucky 666: The Impossible Mission by [Bob Drury, Tom Clavin]

Follow the Authors

Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.

Lucky 666: The Impossible Mission Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 449 ratings

Price
New from Used from
Kindle
$13.99
Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download

A gift for whatever they need

Editorial Reviews

Unknown

Praise for The Heart of Everything That Is

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A SALON BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

TRUE WEST MAGAZINE’S BEST BIOGRAPHY OF THE YEAR

“A ripping yarn . . . A quintessentially Western tale of bold exploits, tough characters, brutal conditions and a lost way of life, this sounds like the sort of story that practically tells itself. Yet you only realize how little justice most popular histories do to their source material when you come across a book, like this one, that does everything right. It’s customary to say of certain nonfiction books — gussied up with plenty of 'color' and psychological speculation — that they 'read like a novel,' but truth be told, most of the time we’d have to be talking about a pretty mediocre novel.
The Heart of Everything That Is, on the other hand, resembles the good ones. There were times, turning its pages, when I could almost smell the pines of the Black Hills, feel the icy wind tearing down from Canada across the prairie and hear the hooves of the buffalo pounding the earth.”
—Laura Miller, Salon

“Exquisitely told . . . Remarkably detailed . . . The story of Red Cloud's unusual guile and strategic genius makes the better-known Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse pale in comparison. . . . This is no knee-jerk history about how the West was won, or how the West was lost. This historical chronicle is unabashed, unbiased and disturbingly honest, leaving no razor-sharp arrowhead unturned, no rifle trigger unpulled. . . . A compelling and fiery narrative.”
USA Today

“Vivid . . . Lively . . . A tale of lies, trickery, and brutal slaughter . . . In telling the story of Red Cloud, Messrs. Drury and Clavin appropriately bring a number of the larger-than-life figures from that time onstage . . . [and] chronicle in considerable detail the shameful treatment of the Indians across the plains and the destruction of their ancient way of life.”
—Christopher Corbett, The Wall Street Journal

“A page turner . . . Drawing on archives, letters, and a long-lost autobiography written toward the end of Red Cloud’s life, the narrative has a remarkable immediacy . . . [and] the narrative sweep of a great Western.”
—Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe

“Valuable . . . Meticulous . . . [A] remarkable story . . . The writers don’t shy away from the atrocities on both sides of the gruesome, long-running conflict between the Indians and the U.S. forces. But when, for the umpteenth time, U.S. officials break a contract as soon as the glint of gold is spotted in the hills, one cannot help but feel that there’s all the more reason to celebrate one of the Sioux’s most impressive fighters.”
Smithsonian

“The authors paint a full and vivid picture of the Oglala Sioux leader . . . The story of Red Cloud is presented here with all the tension and excitement of a good Western novel. . . . The narrative is gripping but not sentimental, and it is well-sourced, drawing, for example, on Red Cloud’s autobiography, lost for nearly a century, and the papers of many others who knew Red Cloud’s War.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review

“A fast paced, well researched account of a B 17 bomber—known as Old 666—its crew, and a courageous flight . . . Drury and Clavin skillfully blend Old 666’s flight into the larger picture of Pacific Theater warfare and give gripping accounts of combat flights. The result is a story that history aficionados will find irresistible.” USA Today

“The authors deliver a great war story.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In June 1943, Zeamer and Sarnoski volunteered for the heartbreaking ‘impossible mission’ that forms the core of this remarkable account of friendship and bravery. Authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin not only tell the inspiring story of these two young airmen, they also provide a cogent, absorbing analysis of the air war in the Pacific.
Lucky 666 is highly recommended for WWII and aviation history buffs alike.” —BookPage

“A vivid slice of war history that WWII buffs and anyone who admires true acts of heroism will find riveting.”
Booklist

“An entertaining popular history that will appeal to fans of adventure style World War II stories.”
Library Journal

“We think of World War II aviation as a supremely bureaucratized, controlled effort of men and planes. But here is a tale of bomber pilots—maybe the last untold story of that great war—that instead involved individual initiative and extraordinary courage.
Lucky 666 is a thrilling narrative about the ingenuity that it took to win the war, about a ‘Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight’ of aviators who built their own B 17 out of junkyard parts, and then went on to fly one of the most memorable, effective missions of the Pacific campaign. The result is a book that reads like The Dirty Dozen meets Unbroken. I particularly admire the gritty details here about WWII aviation. Superb!” —Rinker Buck, author of The Oregon Trail and Flight of Passage

Praise for The Heart of Everything That Is

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A SALON BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

TRUE WEST MAGAZINE’S BEST BIOGRAPHY OF THE YEAR

“A ripping yarn . . . A quintessentially Western tale of bold exploits, tough characters, brutal conditions and a lost way of life, this sounds like the sort of story that practically tells itself. Yet you only realize how little justice most popular histories do to their source material when you come across a book, like this one, that does everything right. It’s customary to say of certain nonfiction books — gussied up with plenty of 'color' and psychological speculation — that they 'read like a novel,' but truth be told, most of the time we’d have to be talking about a pretty mediocre novel.
The Heart of Everything That Is, on the other hand, resembles the good ones. There were times, turning its pages, when I could almost smell the pines of the Black Hills, feel the icy wind tearing down from Canada across the prairie and hear the hooves of the buffalo pounding the earth.”
—Laura Miller, Salon

“Exquisitely told . . . Remarkably detailed . . . The story of Red Cloud's unusual guile and strategic genius makes the better known Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse pale in comparison. . . . This is no knee jerk history about how the West was won, or how the West was lost. This historical chronicle is unabashed, unbiased and disturbingly honest, leaving no razor sharp arrowhead unturned, no rifle trigger unpulled. . . . A compelling and fiery narrative.”
USA Today

“Vivid . . . Lively . . . A tale of lies, trickery, and brutal slaughter . . . In telling the story of Red Cloud, Messrs. Drury and Clavin appropriately bring a number of the larger than life figures from that time onstage . . . [and] chronicle in considerable detail the shameful treatment of the Indians across the plains and the destruction of their ancient way of life.”
—Christopher Corbett, The Wall Street Journal

“A page turner . . . Drawing on archives, letters, and a long lost autobiography written toward the end of Red Cloud’s life, the narrative has a remarkable immediacy . . . [and] the narrative sweep of a great Western.”
—Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe

“Valuable . . . Meticulous . . . [A] remarkable story . . . The writers don’t shy away from the atrocities on both sides of the gruesome, long running conflict between the Indians and the U.S. forces. But when, for the umpteenth time, U.S. officials break a contract as soon as the glint of gold is spotted in the hills, one cannot help but feel that there’s all the more reason to celebrate one of the Sioux’s most impressive fighters.”
Smithsonian

“The authors paint a full and vivid picture of the Oglala Sioux leader . . . The story of Red Cloud is presented here with all the tension and excitement of a good Western novel. . . . The narrative is gripping but not sentimental, and it is well sourced, drawing, for example, on Red Cloud’s autobiography, lost for nearly a century, and the papers of many others who knew Red Cloud’s War.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01CO34LIC
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (October 25, 2016)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 25, 2016
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 25135 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 369 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 449 ratings

About the authors

Follow authors to get new release updates, plus improved recommendations.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
449 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 3, 2021
Customer image
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, alternative history
By TexVanWinkle on June 2, 2021
LUCKY 666 is an informative, engaging page-turner, if a little purple in parts, but it raises an important question: however well written a nonfiction book might be, how many mistakes can it make about the history of its subject before it strays into fiction?

Consider:

- The authors get the crew itself wrong, leaving an important regular crew member almost completely out of the book (flight engineer/top turret gunner "Bud" Thues), his job and expertise given incorrectly to another crew member (ass't flight engineer/belly gunner Johnnie Able), while adding a regular crew member who wasn't (Forrest Dillman, substitute belly turret gunner on the 16 June 43 mission), among other crew mistakes.

- They badly misunderstand Zeamer's and Sarnoski's actual histories in the Southwest Pacific, and confuse the chronology of events bearing directly and indirectly on the crew's story. Partly because of this, and in addition to it, elements of different personal experiences, missions, and events get blended together into a bizarre concoction. Or, going the other direction, one person becomes four, with quotes from a single friend of Zeamer’s ascribed not just to him but three other people as well. Still others are just confounding, like a mission presented as, they quote Zeamer as saying, Sarnoski's "baptism of fire" as bombardier during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea—except no such mission is found in Zeamer's own flight log or official flight record or indicated by the squadron mornings reports, and the Bismarck Sea battle occurred in March 1943, two months after Sarnoski sank a ship in Rabaul Harbor on his first mission with Zeamer. More confusion, or invention? The result is an extended uncanny valley of alternative history in which the actual origin of the crew and other formative events are missed entirely, and others flirt with fiction.

- They colorfully confuse the story of B-17 #41-2666, from which LUCKY 666 takes its title, describing it as a "hulk" resembling a "rotting skeleton" "languishing in the boneyard," the origins of its "previous" name "Lucy" "lost to the mists of time," that Zeamer's crew restores to flight status. All of which would have surprised the 8th Photo Recon Squadron—which was flying '666 for a month before Zeamer appropriated it in mid-May 1943 when it was returned to the 65th BS—and Zeamer, too, who named the previously unnamed Fortress "Lucy" shortly before his last flight in it, after an old girlfriend at Langley. What's especially puzzling about such mistakes—and a number of others, big and small—is that the documents needed to correct them can be found in LUCKY 666's list of sources.

- They repeatedly play up the decades-old but wholly untrue "screwups and misfits" characterization of the crew, even as their own biographies and portrayals of the crew members rightly disprove it.

- Based on my own conversations with his crew members, squadron mates, and conversations with his wife spanning fifteen years, they fundamentally misunderstand the character of Jay Zeamer himself.

LUCKY 666 does its best job as biography in giving a pre-war account of Zeamer. Sarnoski's is good and gives a good representation of his personality, but by my reading misses the fact that Joe dropped out of school after eighth grade, spent his teens working the family farm, joined the CCC at 21, and went straight into the Army from there. It's when the narrative shifts to the SW Pacific that the book steers almost completely into alternative history. In the end, little of the story of the crew presented in LUCKY 666 after Zeamer and Sarnoski arrive in theater is accurate except in the broadest bullet points.

It's fair to question what my own basis for all this is. That would be the almost-thirty years I've spent—and continue to spend—researching this compelling, historic crew. Besides extensive consultation with experts on every aspect of their war, I had the privilege and honor of interviewing and corresponding with members of the Eager Beavers themselves, and the squadron mates who knew them best, before they passed away, as well as with almost two dozen family members of the crew, who generously provided personal letters, diaries, photos, news articles, and personal mementos from the war from the various crew members. Due to the notoriously fickle nature of memory, though, especially in war, I did check them against squadron histories, diaries, unit morning reports, individual flight records, flight logs, and official orders.

Now obviously limited time for research and bad timing with regard to being able to interview those directly involved can't be held against the authors, and there will likely always be more information that comes to light later, requiring an abundance of caution and humility when writing about real people and events. But that's different from a failure to make use of the considerable sources that are available—or even all the source material you have—and that's the iceberg LUCKY 666 runs into. The limited list of essential official archival records in its bibliography goes far toward explaining the confusion, but ultimately much of the story it presents of the crew isn’t even supported by the sources listed.

The question for potential readers, then, is what they hope to get from a nonfiction book. Again, LUCKY 666 is a well-told tale that does admirably convey the nature of the war in the Southwest Pacific theater, especially to those new to it, and the friendship and heroism of the crew. The "impossible" 16 June 1943 mission comes off better than most accounts.

But if a reader's goal in buying a biography is to learn the real story about a subject—in this case, the actual circumstances of the formation of Jay Zeamer’s remarkable crew, and an accurate relating of their experience in the SWPA—that doesn't happen here. Readers get only the authors’ convincing but quite mistaken impression of what this historic, remarkable crew experienced, and to a significant degree, who they were.

Clint Hayes
Images in this review
Customer image Customer image
Customer imageCustomer image
17 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 28, 2017
7 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 21, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 18, 2022

Top reviews from other countries

Brendan T. Mckenna
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of the war in the Pacific
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 6, 2018
irishpropheticart
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Medal of Honors awarded on the same Recon Mission
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 22, 2019
Chris Hulme
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on May 7, 2021
Han
4.0 out of 5 stars ☺️
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 12, 2018
Rastarn
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the most highly decorated bomber crew in U.S. History
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on January 27, 2020
One person found this helpful
Report abuse
Report an issue

Does this item contain inappropriate content?
Do you believe that this item violates a copyright?
Does this item contain quality or formatting issues?