If you’re not a true fan of Jimmy Stewart, you will have a hard time making it through the very detailed novel MISSION: JIMMY STEWART AND THE FIGHT FOR EUROPE. Carefully researched, the non-fiction book includes some educated conjecture about conversations, happenings, and motives. These only add a dimension of interest to Stewart’s story. It is a must read for the true Jimmy Stewart fans, revealing factoids and information that have not previously been assembled in one place.
Tracing his dedication to military service from his grandfather, who fought in the Civil War, and father who served in World War I, the book alludes to the idea that military service was “mandatory” for the men in the Stewart family. The story also pays great homage to Stewart’s self-education on flying, in preparation for military service.
The author includes a full perspective on Stewart’s personal life including his conquests in Hollywood – both on and off the screen. It’s hard to imagine that “George Bailey,” the “richest man in Bedford Falls” was really quite a ladies’ man, capturing the hearts of many A-list movie stars. His friendship with greats like Henry Fonda and Burgess Meredith are treated with care and compassion.
Despite success in movies, Stewart eagerly left Hollywood behind when drafted into the army, where he defied bureaucracy and health issues to become a World War II bomber pilot. Although Stewart refused to speak of his experiences in the army, the author manages to describe the emotional ups, downs, and horror of life in a bomber crew as Stewart commanded a series of missions over Germany.
Mission begins and ends with production of the first film Stewart made after returning from the war: It’s a Wonderful Life. A beloved holiday favorite for 70 years, Life reestablished Stewart in Hollywood after returning from war.
Mission is an interesting and detailed story, which true Stewart fans will love and read again and again, so as not to miss a detail of the experience. The portrait we see of Stewart is that of a true patriot, proving that he was truly part of “the greatest generation,” something today’s Hollywood stars could learn from.
Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe Hardcover – October 24, 2016