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Bomber Command (Pan Military Classics) Paperback – 17 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (17 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330513613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330513616
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'A brilliant tour-de-force.' (The Times Literary Supplement) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Max Hasting's classic account of one of the most controversial struggles of the Second World War.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By CherryBee on 23 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
Bomber Command - the 'terrorflieger' - much maligned and their courage greatly to be admired, in my personal view. Max Hastings, as a journalist, can certainly make words meaningful. As an historian he has put together this well crafted, well researched book. Hastings goes to great lengths to be as accurate and as fair as possible, with a shrewd assessment of Arthur Harris in particular, and a number of other RAF staff officers and politicians. The main content of the book though, is devoted to the building up of the strategic bombing offensive, from the early 'nickle runs' and appallingly costly daylight operations when the bombers were forbidden to risk civilian casualties on the ground, to the final devastating raids in the closing days of WW2. We are left in no doubt of the strain on aircrew, the great personal courage of the young men who flew expecting (with good reason) to die, the insensitivity of the RAF to those who broke down, and the struggle for resources to fund the bomber offensive. We have the advantage of hindsight, and the perspective of the 21st century mind. To understand we need, if possible, to think what it was like to be there at the time. Max Hastings enables us to do this with his balanced and thoughtful assessment of the bomber offensive. I am sure his comments were not universally welcome to some of those who served in Bomber Command, but I think we are entitled to make a judgement on history - which Max Hastings has done so ably - otherwise we learn nothing from it's appalling sacrifices. An excellent book.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Manly Reading TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Bomber Command is a masterpiece, an in depth study of strategic bombing in WWII by the RAF. From the opening days of 1939, when Bomber Command was limited to largely dropping propaganda leaflets, to the firestorm of Dresden in the last days of the European war, everything is covered off in detail. The growth in planes, both in number and capability - from the single engined Battle to the unused Avro Lincoln, the change in method to (or rather, the default acceptance of) "area bombing", the creation of the pathfinder force, the technical advances...it is all here.

Some raids are discussed in detail - notably, not the Dambusters raid - and the loss of life, the flak, the nightfighters, the sheer terror of being in the air over Germany, and in some cases being on the ground being bombed are all set out. Planes, crews, the role of 'Bomber" Harris - all you could want is here. But where this book comes into its own is by asking the question whether it was all worth it, and giving each reader the tools to make his or her own evaluation.

The economics is covered off, as is the military impact of bombing on Germany. It is incredible in one sense to read how much slack there was in the German ecomony until the last days of the war: the sacrifices that Britain made in 1940 (such as killing zoo animals) were never made in Germany until the bitter end, if at all. German women were meant to remain in the kitchen, not building planes in factories, unlike in Britain, the US, and course Russia.

In asking how effective was the bombing campaign, the question is only worth asking to the extent alternative uses of the capital can be identified.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Clarke on 14 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Once again, Max Hastings has hit the target 'right on the chin,' with his superb account of the RAF's strategic bombing campaign. Hastings attention to detail and objectivity is clearly evident in this well researched account of the RAF Bomber Command offensive against Germany. Hastings covers the activity of the bombers from the somewhat bumbling early activity of the RAF in 1939-41, when predominantly antiquated machines such as the Whitley & Blenheim were pressed into battle, often with disasterous results. He highlights the dismal levels of accuracy achieved 39-42, and the lack of navigational aids that meant that the RAF was initially unable to actually mount effective attacks against targets. Hastings goes on to detail the evolution of Bomber Command under Harris, into the extremely potent & hard hitting military organisation that it became. Every aspect is covered in great detail, from the experiences of aircrew at the sharp end, the devastating impact on German civilians, the strategy employed by both sides, the evolution of technology IE Gee, Oboe & H2S, & counter-measures such as window, the development of the German defences etc.
This excelent book is an essential addition to the bookshelf of any person interested in RAF Bomber Command & it's activities 1939-45. It is every bit as well researched, & readable as Patrick Bishop's superlative, "Bomber Boys."
Hastings provides an objective & thorough account that allows the reader to form his/her own conclusions as to the contribution that BC made to allied victory. On reading the book, it is impossible not to be impressed & full of respect & admiration for the many thousands of British, Australian, Kiwis, Canadians and other Common Wealth aircrew who served in Bomber Command 1939-45.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
I always think of Max Hastings as that bloke on Question Time with the pinstripe suits that have the stripes just a little too wide.
Pity he has to waste his time with all that journalism, his real forte is military history and I think he should stick to it.
This is an extremely good book that manages to convey the appalling unreality that must have been the lot of bomber crews who knew they only had a few months to live - at best and yet conveys a proper appreciation of 'Bomber' Harris and his vital role in maintaining British morale when all we had to hit back at the Germans were the bombing raids of dubious accuracy and effectiveness. The sense of theatre that Harris brought to the job - with his 1,000 bomber raids and his uncompromising public statements - is well chronicled here.
But when Hastings describes the carnage of the raid at Darmstadt - a really boring little raid by Bomber Command standards - you feel real revulsion about what was done in the name of freedom.
Great stuff. Well worth buying.
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