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Dambusters: A Landmark Oral History [Kindle Edition]

Max Arthur
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

On the night of 16-17 May 1943, nineteen Lancaster bombers from 617 Squadron headed for Germany. Their mission, for which they had been trained under a cloak of absolute secrecy, was to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley and in doing so cripple the Nazi industrial war effort. It was to become one of the most famous raids of WW2.

For the first time, acclaimed oral historian Max Arthur has gathered together the voices of the 'Dambusters', including Guy Gibson, commander of the mission and Barnes Wallis, who developed the iconic Bouncing Bomb. These voices tell of the hard training and sheer bravery that went into this legendary mission. We also hear from the German civilians who suffered the attack, who speak of the devastation that was wrought in their lives. This was a raid like no other, and in this extraordinary collection Max Arthur has created an enduring record of a unique event in British military history.

Product Description


"Not only can Arthur make people talk; he also doesn't flinch from what he hears" (Sunday Express)

"An extraordinary and immensely moving book" (Stephen Fry, praise for Forgotten Voices of the Great War)

"What a story. And I do not believe that it has ever been better told" (Stephen Fry, from the foreword)

"May well challenge his seminal Forgotten Voices of the Great War ... Hard to put down ... a masterpiece of concise storytelling" (Sunday Express)

"A gripping tale capturing the exhilaration of the expedition, while contrasting the sense of loss of 56 men of Bomber Command. A thrilling read for anyone with a nose for a good true tale" (News of the World)


'May well challenge his seminal Forgotten Voices of the Great War... Hard to put down'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1885 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Digital (27 May 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753515733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753515730
  • ASIN: B0038LB4XK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #240,068 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Max Arthur is an oral historian who specialises in bringing together first-hand recollections of the twentieth century. He is the best-selling author of Forgotten Voices of the Great War,Forgotten Voices of the Second World War and Last Post: The Final Word from our First World War Soldiers.

Other titles include the classic work on the Falklands Campaign, Above All, Courage; Busby Babes: Men and Magic; Men of the Red Beret; The Edwardians; Dambusters and Last of the Few. His most recent title is The Road Home: The Aftermath of the Great War Told by the Men and Women Who Survived It.

His awards include Audiobook of the Year 2004 from The British Book Awards, and he has recently made two documentaries based on his books: The Brits That Went to Spain to Fight for the History Channel and The Dambusters.

Prior to becoming a writer, he served with the Royal Air Force.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dambuster raid comes alive 11 Nov. 2008
There are many histories written about the Dams raid where you can glean the clinical facts - and there was the film ... but there's nothing like oral history to engage the imagination and bring you close to the people who were there. The Dambusters, far from being 'gung-ho' come over as men of enormous skill, courage and resourcefulness, with a strong camaraderie among the crews. Their own words ring true - some readily admit that Gibson wasn't universally popular - but none doubted his resolve and courage. The crews trained to the increasingly exacting demands by the designer of the new bomb - they recall hair-raising flying at just 60 feet, honing their bombing accuracy - and their accounts build the tension until, on the day of the raid, they learn their night's target and recall their emotions. The accounts of the flight out and the bomb runs on the dams are riveting as some aircraft and crews go down in flames - and as an added bonus, there are detailed recollections from Germans who found themselves under the breaking dams. It's a brilliant read and a great tribute to all involved in the raid, from Barnes Wallis and his work to develop the bomb, to Gibson and all his crews and ground crews of 617 Squadron. Can't recommend it enough.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dambusters: A Landmark Oral History 5 Feb. 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An event from WW2 that many will know about, however this book takes you into the very centre of the events as those who took part in or supported the mission whether air crew, ground crew, as well as Barnes Wallis. It also includes a chapter of accounts of those who were on the receiving end of the attack. The book is gripping from the start and was difficult to put down. Even more remarkable is the age of many who took part, the leaer Wing Co Gibson was in his mid 20's and others much younger. Yet without the modern gizzmo's we take for granted they showd a level of xommitment in the face of danger that is rarely seen in today's society. The mission was deemed a success, yet thios can overlook the fact that many paid the ultimate sacrifice. A book that you should have on your bookshelf.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting 11 Mar. 2009
Everyone has heard about the 'Dambusters' in some way or form but not many would know what was put in to make it possible. I haven't read a book written in this style before and i thought it was a very good way of doing it, avoiding the small talk to link stories and just getting straight to the facts. There are accounts from both sides which gives you the opportunity to judge the mission on a moral and war effort stage. In my opinion one of the great operations of WWII.

A great book which will have you reading till the small hours, thoroughly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living History 3 Jun. 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a gift for my husband. He is very well read when it comes to war books, and so, quite hard to impress. He has really enjoyed this book,and would certainly recommend it to anyone who is interested in The Dambudters Raid. He found the 'living history' aspect especially rivetting, and felt that there is nothing to compare with hearing from the people who were actually involved. A great read, easy to dip into, but difficult to put down !!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars all the witnesses 27 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read Guy Gibson's autobiography, Enemy Coast Ahead, Paul Brickhill's narrative of the Dambusters, and 617 Squadron I thought I had read everything useful on this subject. But this volume is excellent and essential to anyone trying to understand this perplexing and valiant raid. What makes this book different is that it is made up of extracts from interviews with all the players, arranged in chronological/thematic order. And this means it presents the voices of Dutch and German witnesses too, whether downstream from the dams, manning anti-aircraft stations, or finding the remains of RAF crews on the ground. A moving and four dimensional book that re-places all the actors where they were before during and after that destructive night. Much to be recommended if you wish to understand further the nature of war for all its participants.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dambusters 16 Aug. 2009
I found this book first class, after having been on a tour of the dams the book brought the whole experience to me. It really should be considered a classic
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dambusters an oral history 1 Jun. 2009
fascinating record from opposing sides of the raid, really enjoyed reading it, also as I was serving in Germany in 1968 went to see the Mohne, and the rebuild showed no sign of the previous damage! Interesting sign of the times that most of the officers received 'gongs' whilst the Sgts did not!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dambusters 23 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A brilliant book, about a brilliantly carried out wartime operation. Very appropriate that it should be available on Kindle in this, the seventieth anniversary of it being carried out. If you haven't already read it, I heartily recommend it as a must read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Exactly as described !
Published 1 month ago by C. A. Garton
4.0 out of 5 stars bought for my husband to read on holiday.
my husbands choice, loaded onto my kindle for him to read on holiday. he enjoyed the read, but prefers the film
Published 13 months ago by babs
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of repetition.
Enjoyed the book and found the first hand accounts very informative. The issue foe me was having to read several accounts of the same incident which although from different people... Read more
Published 20 months ago by bob bigland
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book!
I have read many many books on the great Dams Raid and this book is very good. It is highly detailed and goes into the raid in its entirety.
Published 20 months ago by Guy Fleshbourne
4.0 out of 5 stars Dambusters, an inside view.
This book is different from any other that I have read on any subjectinsofar as the actual reflections of those who were there is exclusively used to give the reader an indepth... Read more
Published 22 months ago by sturat
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A new slant on a familiar story. Because it is told in their own words by people involved, it is sometimes repetitive, but it also interesting to see slight different views of the... Read more
Published 23 months ago by I. Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Dave
An excellent account through the voices of the aircrew and also the often forgotten ground crew,who enabled the raid to take place by modifying the aircraft. Read more
Published 24 months ago by david holliday
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings the raid to life
I have read many books on the Dambusters but this book brings the crews to life in a way that no mere narrative can. Read more
Published on 21 Mar. 2013 by Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Guy Giibson
This is the third one I have read about 617 Squadron but wont be the last very interesting subject always very readerable.
Published on 25 Jan. 2013 by BR STANIER
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I Have Read many Dambuster books this one gives a more accurate account of events from both sides, the book has given me a greater insight into what actualy happend on the raid
Published on 21 Jan. 2013 by Mikeyb
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