Shot Down

The True and Extraordinary Story About Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

Author Steve Snyder’s father, Howard Snyder, was a B-17 pilot stationed in England during World War II.  On February 8, 1944, his plane, the B-17  Susan Ruth, was Shot Down over the French/Belgium border after a mission to bomb Frankfurt, Germany.

The book tells the true story of events leading up to and after that harrowing day.  Of the ten man crew, some died, some ended up in prison camps, and some evaded capture.   What makes this book unique is the varied, detailed, and amazing story of what happened to each crew member, in particular Howard Snyder who evaded capture and was missing in action for seven months.

Read the letters and documents that were exchanged before and after the Susan Ruth was shot down. View the photos and follow Steve on his journey to uncovering these extraordinary WW II events that must never be forgotten.

with Howard Snyder and other veterans, their families through video interviewsnews stories and articles.  As you read this extraordinary story of what happened after the B-17 Susan Ruth was shot down, we hope you will share your own stories and resources by making comments and sharing your own story and resources about this important passage of time in history.


Publishers Weekly

A great introduction to the history of the U.S. air war in Europe, humanized by the experience of a single bomber crew. -- BookLife

Foreword Clarion Review 5 Star Rating

Snyder’s masterful book puts the reader inside the cockpit, shoulder to shoulder with the pilot and crew. Accessible and relevant both to historians and readers with a casual interest in WWII history, Shot Down a must-read for anyone with an interest in this gripping period of American history. – Claire Foster

BlueInk Starred Review

Highly recommended for historians and WWII aviation buffs, it’s a thoroughly satisfying and worthwhile read. Extensively researched, packed with photographs, and neatly interwoven with background remarks, this highly engaging book offers a comprehensive, yet personalized portrait of a war.

War History Online

A masterful work. Enjoyable for those interested in the Eight Air Force and/or the B-17 Flying Fortress, but it is also broad enough to appeal to general history readers. Insightful, engrossing, and succeeds on every level. Bravo. – Nate Sullivan

World War II Today

A magnificent job. Readily accessible to anyone not familiar with the bomber war in Europe, but also much to interest those whose real passion is wartime aviation. -- Martin Cherrett

Profile Photo Steve Snyder

About Steve Snyder

Steve Snyder graduated from UCLA with a B.A. degree in Economics and has lived in Seal Beach, California since 1972. After 36 years in national sales and sales management, he retired from Vision Service Plan (VSP) in 2009.

Soon after retirement, Steve began his quest to learn about the World War II experiences of his father, pilot Howard Snyder, and his crew of the B-17, Susan Ruth, named after his older sister. It became his passion, and after 4 1/2 years of dedicated research, resulted in his book, Shot Down. One result of his new career as a World War II historian is that he is a member of numerous World War II associations and is the Vice President of the 306th Bomb Group Historical Association.

In 1994, Steve traveled to Belgium for the 50th Anniversary of the Liberation of Belgium with his parents and then again in 2004 for the 60th. His attendance at the 70th Anniversary Celebrations in 2014 marked the official European launch of Shot Down.

All books by Steve Snyder

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