Books: Disastrous Raid

PLOESTI (407 pp.)—James Dugan & Carroll Stewart — Random House ($6.95).

A naked woman flashed on a motion-picture screen set up at an Army Air Forces base in the Libyan desert near Bengasi one baking July day in 1943. The assembled pilots, navigators, bombardiers and gunners roared their approval. Offscreen an announcer's voice intoned that the assembled airmen were about to strike a virgin target. Its name: Ploesti.

Set in the foothills of Rumania's Transylvanian Alps 35 miles from Bucharest, Ploesti was called by Winston Churchill "the taproot of German might." From its...

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