Back to homepage

Online Store
We offer 100% money back guarantee if you're not thrilled with your order!

Questions? Call us toll free at
1-866-233-8165 or click here:

Rite Of Passage: A Teenager's Chronicle of Combat and Captivity in Nazi Germany

By Ray Matheny
Foreword: Johannes Steinhoff

From American Legacy Media

336 Pages, Softcover © 2009

Release Date: May 20, 2009

ISBN: 9780981-8489-1-4

Unsigned Copy: $18.95

Signed Copy: $22.95

In 1942, 17 year-old Ray Matheny joined the U.S. Army Air Corps, despite his still being enrolled at John C. Fremont High School in Los Angeles, California. Within months he was a seasoned warrior desperately battling for his life in aerial combat over Nazi Germany.  With incredible detail he reveals the technological secrets of the B-17, and how he and his crew battled head-to-head against the Luftwaffe’s best fighter pilots. When his “Flying Fortress” was hit by a German rocket, his plane exploded in a fireball, and although he miraculously escaped, he watched as eight of his closest friends tumbled helplessly to their deaths. 

As a POW, his clever ingenuity and dogged determination helped him endure starvation and two bitter winters in the now infamous Stalag 17.  As the European war came to a close, he survived an 18-day forced march as German guards coerced American prisoners to flee the rapidly advancing Red Army.  During that ordeal, he witnessed first-hand the horrors of the Mauthausen concentration camp, as starving Jews were being put to death.

Never before published in the United States, it was first published in 1988 as a German language version "Die Feurreiter" (The Fire Riders). It was among the very first books written by a former American enemy combatant to be commercially successful in post-war Germany.  Subsequently translated into Czech, Hungarian, and Croation, this historic autobiographical account is unique among World War II memoirs, and boasts an astonishing amount of previously classified information that will thrill historians and researchers for generations to come.

Drawing on a vast array of original source materials that has survived the decades, Ray Matheny’s Rite of Passage is a thrilling narrative history.

About the Author: As a teen, Ray T. Matheny became a veteran of aerial combat during World War II, serving in the U.S. Army Air Force. Upon  recuperating after the war, he served active duty in the U.S. Air Force serving as an aircraft inspector. After his military service, he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in archeology from Brigham Young University, and a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Oregon.  He went on to distinguished career as an archeologist, professor, researcher and scholar. He is credited for discovering the ancient Mayan civilization of El Mirador, where he was featured in National Geographic magazine. He retired from teaching in 2004, but continues doing active research as professor emeritus.

About the Johannes Steinhoff: General Steinhoff served during World War II in the German Luftwaffe, and saw action in France, Norway, the Battle of Britain, Russia, Italy, North Africa, and Romania. He was decorated with most every medal awarded for bravery, including with highest order of the Iron Cross. He was among Germany’s highest scoring aces with 176 victories, and he was also among the first to fly a jet fighter (the Me262) in combat. Despite his prowess as an ace fighter pilot, he was despised by Nazi leaders for his open opposition to them, and he was ultimately demoted to the rank of squadron pilot. After the war, he became Commander of the West German Air Force, and because of that success, was later appointed as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. He is the author of “Messershmitts over Sicily,” “The Final Hours,” and “Voices From The Third Reich: An Oral History.” He died in 1994.