On a foggy morning in July 1945, the B-25 Mitchell bomber Old John Feathermerchant, which had just returned from Europe, took off from what is now LaGuardia Airport in New York City, headed for Boston, Massachusetts, but instead, it crashed into the 79th Floor of the Empire State Building. A new novel? No, not exactly. The true story of the Old John Feathermerchant--the B-25 that crashed into the 79th Floor of the Empire State Building in July 1945. The pilot was tired, the crew had just returned from Europe and was headed home. All aboard were killed including a Navy Corpsman. It has concise reports and eyewitness testimony. Arthur Weingarten's 1977 book is concise and accurate. It's a good book. I should know. I read it back in the 1980s. Why didn't I read it sooner?
This is a true story of a B-25 bomber which crashed into the Empire State Building in New York during dense fog on July 28, 1945. The pilot, Colonel Smith, was a Navy pilot and a decorated war hero. He took extraordinary risks in flying the plane from Boston MA and trying to land at Newark NJ airport. All three crew members were killed and 11 people in the building died in the fire. An elevator operator plummeted 78 floors when the cables were severed by the plane and actually survived. I found this book to be a fascinating and detailed account by Arthur Weingarten who was 10 years old at the time and visiting New York with his father. He wrote the book in 1977 but was unable to get an official report from the Navy as it was classified and lost in a fire where files were destroyed. Weingarten has since interviewed many eyewitnesses and got first-hand information. I found the book hard to put down and I would recommend this novel to those who like books about epic historical events.