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Tail End Charlies: The Last Battles of the Bomber War 1944-45 Hardcover – 4 Nov 2004


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1st edition edition (4 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670914568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670914562
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 4.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 528,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description

Review

'A spellbinding new book.' -- Daily Mail

'Good stories are plentiful...crammed with anecdotes, all true, some of which stretch the imagination.' -- The Spectator

'In this detailed, vivid and moving account...Nichol and Rennell have made an important contribution towards righting a historical wrong.' -- Daily Telegraph

About the Author

John Nichol is a former RAF flight lieutenant whose Tornado bomber was shot down on a mission over Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991. He was captured and became a prisoner of war. He is the bestselling co-author of Tornado Down and The Last Escape, and author of five novels: Point of Impact, Vanishing Point, Exclusion Zone, Stinger and Decisive Measures. He is also a journalist and widely quoted military commentator. His website is at www .johnnichol.com Tony Rennell is the author of Last Days of Glory: The Death of Queen Victoria and co-author of When Daddy Came Home, a highly praised study of demobilization in 1945 and The Last Escape: The Untold Story of Allied Prisoners of War In Germany 1944-45. Now a freelance writer, he was formerly associate editor of The Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Darren Bell on 10 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
Having read many Bomber Command books, i found this one particularly good. The authors bring out a roller coaster of emotions within the reader... sorrow, joy, anger and pride to name but a few.

It is a very full and riveting read with extremely brave and moving accounts of the exceptionally well disciplined men of Bomber Command (all volunteers) led by an equally disciplined and robust commander (Harris).

The book is very well balanced in its views, making the reader aware of the fact that the 'tail end' of the war was a very uncertain time and certain logistical decisions, such as Dresden, were certainly justifiable at the time considering the climate of 'total war' and the fact that there could not be any 'give' whatsoever, not to mention the fact that Harris was leaned upon from above to hammer Dresden (which was actually bristling with war industry, contrary to popular belief) to assist Russian movements into Germany.

Some of the more personal accounts left me with a lump in my throat. Sad, sad tales of aircrew dying on thier very last op, often just shy of the airfield after getting through a very rough Ruhr Valley sortie, and the sad tale of the POW who'd been incarcerated since 1940 and kept motivated by letters from his loyal wife to be, whom at the end of the war, excitedly put banners up and gathered family for his return, only for him to be killed as the overloaded Lancaster bringing him home crashed.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
I couldn't agree less with Michael - this is a truly awesome book. The authors have done a brilliant job in bringing to life the fears and emotions of the Bomber crews. My uncle was a rear-gunner in Bomber Command and he says this is the best, and most accurate book he has ever read on the subject. It's exciting and emotional and, to use a well-worn phrase, it's a real "couldn't put it down" book.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book - it is such an emotional and rollercoaster of a read, to coin a phrase, "it's difficult to put down".
I have a couple of relatives who flew in Bomber Command and they all say that this is the most "true to life" account of their war that they have ever read. It really captures the fears and emotions of the time and portrays the horrors the men endured in such a realistic way that you feel as if you are sitting in the aircraft with them.
It is a magnificant tribute to the bravery and heroism of the time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Stafford on 3 Feb. 2005
Format: Hardcover
I suspect the light-hearted title does this book few favours. I approached this with some trepidation, having received it as a gift and expected it to be little more than a whimsical collection of first-hand recollections. In fact these are synthesized with narrative and analysis that does not shy away from asking the hard questions about the bomber offensive.
The reader thus sees the human face of the bombers who brought devastation to German industry and civilians, without losing sight of the moral issues. The book is not an apology for 'Bomber' Harris and indeed points out his strategic and political mistakes; but it also seeks to make its judgement in the context of a war that the Allies were desperate to conclude, rather than simply indulge the benefit of sixty years of hindsight. I can empathise with the reviewer from Oxford brought close to tears.
Recommended to experts and novices alike.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sudworth VINE VOICE on 17 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is not a comfortable read - over half the people of Bomber Command never came back from their missions over Germany - yet they kept going and sustained more casulaties in one raid for example over Nurnberg that in the entire Battle of Britain. This is not to say their sacrifice was worth more - but it just shows the sheer scale of the sacrifice. The book covers the last two years of WW2 and makes the point that it was not over bar the shouting, and regardless of some 20:20 hindsight, at the time these crews did a great job for us and in my opinion it was churlish not to recognise that.
The descriptions of the raids, the brutal deaths that people suffered and the emotions of the survivors make this a very raw read about real people and their sheer courage against the odds
I recommend this book for telling a story of people who gave everything night after night and I think a quote in the book sums it up 'theirs was the courage of the small hours'
After reading this I understand more of the debt we owe these guys - 55,000 out of 100,000 crew never came home and no other service in the war sustained this casualty rate - brave men indeed !
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Iceni Peasant on 19 April 2005
Format: Hardcover
From a historical point of view this book looks at the various missions and reasons for certain actions of Bomber Command in the latter part of the war. In the personal accounts it also looks at the crews, both British and American, their backgrounds and their recollections of certain missions, and their feelings in the aftermath, both of bombing runs and of the bad press Bomber Command received after the war right up to the current day.
The book is so much more than just facts and figures on missions though. It's the personal accounts, taken from the time, and current day interviews with the men in those bomber crews, that will fill the reader with admiration, awe and very often bring a lump to the throat.
Throughout the book many crews lives are followed, with one or two individuals being followed more closely through their diary accounts and letters. It is these men that the reader will feel most attached to, and by the end of the book you feel you have lived through some of the horrors sitting next to them on a Lancaster or Flying Fortress. It is also this part of the book that it hits home the hardest, when you discover that some of the men you've got to know from the excerpts were eventually killed in action.
It's an easy book to read on the technical front, but harder to read from the emotional angle....all in all it's a brilliant read.
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