Book Review: Boots from Heaven (Janet L. Howard and Odile Lavandier) : AVH | HistoryNet MENU

Book Review: Boots from Heaven (Janet L. Howard and Odile Lavandier) : AVH

8/11/2001 • Aviation History Book Reviews, Reviews

This very thoroughly researched 270-page book presents French and American personal perspectives of the eventssurrounding an American bomber pilot’s imprisonment in Germany’s Buchenwald concentration camp during World War IIand his reunion with his French Resistance rescuers nearly 40 years after the war. The genesis of the work was a reunionattended by co-author Howard’s father, who got together with his French Resistance rescuers 40 years after World War II.The meeting was dominated by discussions of the events surrounding 2nd Lt. J.D. Coffman’s rescue by French civilians afterhe bailed out of his stricken Consolidated B-24, his subsequent capture after a Gestapo collaborator betrayed them, and hisimprisonment. The realization that neither the French community nor the pilot was aware of all of the related events prior to thereunion, and the coincidence that led to re-establishment of contact between the aviator and the family that hid him from theGermans, spurred the writing of this book. Boots from Heaven is told from both the American and the French perspectivesby pilot Coffman’s daughter and the granddaughter of the French Resistance family who hid him in their home until he wascaptured by the Gestapo.

Cross Roads Books, Notre Dame, Ind., 1994, $28.95.

Arthur H. Sanfelici