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Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945 [Paperback]

Patrick Bishop
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

3 Mar 2008

Patrick Bishop looks at the lives and the extraordinary risks that the painfully young pilots of Bomber Command took during the air-offensive against Germany from 1940-1945. As featured on the BBC 1 documentary BOMBER BOYS, presented by Ewan McGregor.

They came from every corner of Britain and its Empire. They were the best of their generation…heading for one of the worst tasks of WWII.

Like RAF pilots, the thousands of brave young men who joined Bomber Command took to the air to help Britain triumph in World War Two. But in the glow of victory, the fighter pilots were lauded for their efforts while the Bomber Boys faded in national memory. Crucial in the heat of combat, they were politically awkward afterwards.

Yet with an average life expectancy shorter than that of soldiers on the Western front in WWI, these men faced death, injury and capture time and again to send bombs through the shrieking flak onto enemy territory. ‘Bomber Boys’ is a tribute to their strength, courage and heroism – filling in the historical blanks and immortalising their memory.

Frequently Bought Together

Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945 + Fighter Boys: Saving Britain 1940 + Battle of Britain: A day-to-day chronicle, 10 July-31 October 1940
Price For All Three: 21.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1st Paper Back - 2nd Impression edition (3 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007192150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007192151
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick Bishop has been a foreign correspondent for over twenty years, reporting from conflicts all over the world. He is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling 'Fighter Boys', 'Bomber Boys' and '3 Para'.

Product Description


‘A superb human portrait.’ Daily Mail

‘A deeply humane, lucidly written and powerful tribute to some of the unsung heroes of the Second World War.’ Michael Burleigh, Sunday Times

‘Superbly written and authoritative…the members of Bomber Command now have a fitting commemoration of their heroic deeds.’ Observer

‘This is the best kind of military history – the kind in which the author never loses sight of the impact of war on its victims, German as well as British, and those who were left behind. “Bomber Boys” will remind the survivors that they and their lost comrades are not forgotten. And it reminds the rest of us what their war was all about.’ Daniel Johnson, Evening Standard

‘This is a terrific book, so riveting, exciting and moving that it must help bring back the Bomber Boys to their rightful place of honour. A true war memorial.’ Montagu Curzon, Spectator

‘A compelling account of life in RAF Bomber Command.’ Telegraph

Daily Mail

'...Bishop has produced a superb human portrait of the men who did
so many remarkable things over Germany...' --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Lags of Bomber Command 18 Oct 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As an ex Bomber Boy this book is first class and shows the modern youth how we responded to the threat of Nazi domination and despite the denigration of our efforts by modern 'hindsight' historians, most young people I have met do not look upon us as 'terrorists'. I for one have faith in our 21st century young men that they would respond as we did in 1943/45.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading! 4 Jun 2008
By Mr X
This book is the best book I have read so far this year.

It describes the strategic air war against Germany by the RAF in the Second World War. That description makes it sound maybe a bit dry and academic but it is far from being either of those things! It tells the story of this chapter in the war from a very human point of view. For example, there are chapters describing the airmen's training, lives at their bases, their motivation, how they dealt with the fear of being killed whilst carrying out operation over Europe at night and many other highly interesting aspects of the lives of these remarkable men.

The book also describes the strategy behind the bombing of Germany, from the beginning to the end of the war and gives a good insight into the main commanders - people such as Charles Portal and Bomber Harris.

The story told in these pages is often very moving and I once I had finished the book I thought about it for a long time afterwards, quite unlike other books I have read. I felt great sympathy for all the men of Bomber Command, which has never had the vital role it played in World War II properly publicly acknowledged. I hope that this book will cause many to ask why this is so and perhaps focus efforts to have a permanent memorial specific to these men built, and to have this done before the last of them die and they recede from living memory.
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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent 10 April 2007
One word sums up this book: magnificent. It is history of the highest calibre. It is thoroughly researched and written with sensitivity and great style. It is a fitting memorial to the thousands of brave young men of Bomber Command who gave their lives in the cause of freedom. For too long have these men been forgotten and often reviled. Mr Bishop's brilliant book is a long overdue reminder that they deserve to be revered as much as the heroes of Fighter Command.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bomber Boys 12 April 2007
I thought fighter Boys was excellent, this is as good, this book gives a human perspective to the men who flew every night over Germany in the second world war, they have been largley forgotten by history and of late unfairly maligned. I would not have been brave enough to do what they did night after night with apalling losses. I have had this book 3 days and have not put it down I cannot recommend it highly enough, if you are interested in well written history buy it !
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving but balanced account. 1 Jun 2008
Bomber Boys brought tears to my eyes. It is a movingly written record and assessment of the horrors that aircrew endured during World War II. My father - a navigator in a 44 Squadron Lancaster - had told me on many occasions about his war service and I understood something of the difficulties. However, it was only by reading this book that one can put into perspective the terrible loss, the low chances of survival as well as the physical and mental strain of missions.
Nor does the book shirk from the real moral ambiguities of the campaign and follows through to officialdom's post-war embarrassment of their role. The book fills in many of the gaps that I did not appreciate when talking to my father and allows me now to understand how truly heroic his and his fellow aircrewmen's contribution was. I only wish that my father could have survived a couple more years to have enjoyed reading it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Bishop has allowed us to know them 24 Dec 2009
By Benjamin Girth VINE VOICE
Opposite my house (20km South of Dijon, Burgundy) past the war memorial in the village cemetery lie the crew of a Short Sterling shot down on the 13th August 1943 by a Messerschmitt 109.

Pilot: Pilot Officer Frederick MATTHEWS Royal Australian Air Force, 25 years old
Bombardier: Flight Officer Franck HOLLAND Royal Australian Fleet Reserve, 32 years old
Navigator: Flight Sergeant Alistair ROSE Royal New Zealand Air Force, 20 years old
Gunner: Flight Sergeant Albert HARRIS Royal New Zealand Air Force, 23 years old
Radio officer: Sergeant Kennet CORK Royal Air Force, 21 years old
Mechanic: Sergeant John KNIGHT Royal Air Force, 27 years old
Gunner: Sergeant Henry OTT Royal Air Force, 19 years old

The book succinctly details the strategy and tactics of the bombing campaign. It is an explanation not a justification - none is needed - where the sheer terror of the aircrews experience is equalled by the horror of those beneath the bombs. Bishop presents the mass of data well. He gives a balanced account of Anglo American strategic goals/arguments and his comments on Dresden were reasoned. Before that he explains how aircrew found love, and what happened to the WRAF who fell for a married Wing Commander. What emerges are stories, how crews were recruited, trained, commanded and lived. This book is rich in detail, about people rather than military technology or command and control structures.

Bishop allows us to understand the most controversial aspect of the bombing campaign in Europe. After the war there was little recognition for those engaged in the bomber offensive, ineffective and savage the politicians preferred to ignore those who had participated.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good book
Published 3 hours ago by Christopher M. Wells
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book!
Hubby really enjoyed it
Published 1 month ago by Susan
5.0 out of 5 stars True
You had to admire their dedication.
Reminds of the news Broadcasts - "Last night our bombers attacked ......"
Such bravery
Published 1 month ago by Pat Janes
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book - meticulously researched, highly recommended
I recently finished the third volume of Kevin Wilson’s excellent WWII Bomber Command trilogy, Journey’s End. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift
A very enthralling account of the exploits of these brave men who were thrown into a terrible conflict (mostly) at a very young age and who put their country first. Read more
Published 2 months ago by anon 337
5.0 out of 5 stars Dishing out retribution
An exceedingly warm, well researched book by a master author, which I couldn't put down! Had the Bomber Command wigs given the go ahead sooner doubtless many more British lives... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. J. Russel
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely unappreciated
What a book. I bought this for my Dad who lived and served through the war and was fascinated with all things RAF. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dr. Feelgood
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Enthralling voyage through the war years written with enthusiasm for what the pilots and aircrew faced on a daily basis attempting to hold back production of war materials for the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars Trlling it as it was
Well written and thoroughly researched. As a former "Bomber Boy" (Now 90!!!) I found it brought back memories and gave a very accurate and clear account of how it was... Read more
Published 10 months ago by J. L. Macdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars Salute to all the bomber crews
The book thoroughly explored the various thinking behind the bombing techniques of the WWII by the RAF and USAF. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Peter Curtin
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