"Remarkably detailed . . . It is a tribute to Wladyslaw Gnys, the decorated ace pilot, but also to the charming and humble man himself." -Hamilton Magazine
Polish pilot Wladyslaw (Wladek) Gnys was credited with shooting down the first two German aircraft of World War II on September 1, 1939. On this day, as Gnys' squadron took off near Kraków to intercept the German invaders, German Stuka pilot Frank Neubert attacked, killing the captain. Wladek, who barely survived himself, evaded the pursuing Stukas and went on to make the first Allied kills, while Neubert was credited with the first aerial kill of the war.
Fifty years after the invasion of Poland, in the summer of 1989, Gnys and Neubert met and shook hands, making news around the world. They reconciled their differences and remained friends until their deaths. This event symbolized the prevailing friendly coexistence between Poland and Germany.
Written by his son Stefan and drawing from his logbooks, this highly illustrated biography of Wladek Gnys is the most in-depth account of the Polish hero's life. It tells Wladek's story from his childhood in rural Poland, through his time flying in three Allied air forces during World War II, his capture and escape during Operation Overlord, and his reconciliation with Neubert and his commemoration as a national war hero in Poland.
"Tells the story of one man's ride through the history of most of the 20th century . . . This is far from a run-of-the-mill wartime story, being more of a touching and revealing look into an extraordinary life." -Aircrew Remembered