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3.9 out of 5 stars11
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 8 February 2009
Richard Overy is an eminent academic historian. He writes lucidly and persuasively. If you want a relatively short but nevertheless very rounded account of the Battle of Britain then this is the first place to look. This is not a blow by blow account of who shot who when. It is an exceptionally well written analysis of why the battle was fought, how well Britain was prepared for it, and what really happened to both sides. History in perspective doesn't get much better than this.
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on 7 May 2015
What a breath of fresh air. Richard Overy has managed to debunk a national myth without in any way denigrating the participants in this battle. The sources are good and the book contained large amounts of material that I was unaware of.

Richard, Christine will be proud of you!
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This is a high-level study of the Battle of Britain, told in just over 120 pages, with a few notes and appendices. It is a study, not a story: while other authors tell the story of the battle, this is far more hands-off and clinical. For instance, there are no extracts from pilot's diaries (or anyone else's for that matter) and anecdotes are few and far between.

It's a good starting point for reading about the battle, but never seeks to emotionally involve you. There are lots of facts, and some short perceptive analysis: little that is not in other, much longer works, but brevity in a book is its own strength too. I think this is the fourth book of this title (all by separate authors mind you!) of this title on my shelf, so I am not the average reader here, but still was able to learn something from it. There is a lot of fine detail left out of this book, but if you want more its not hard to find other relevant titles to fill in those gaps.

It is clear that the result of the Battle was not that WWII was won; but if Germany had won the battle - either by invasion (which was problematic) or British surrender then they had also won the War, and history would be very different indeed.
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on 20 August 2015
Excellent history. A short book, I read it in conjunction with Patrick Bishop's Battle of Britain and they complemented each other perfectly.
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on 28 December 2005
An interesting read which helps to dismiss many of the myths that have arisen about the Battle of Britain (including its very existence as a battle in its own right and lots of myths you've never heard of)
Unfortunately the book therefore somewhat makes itself pointless; how can you have a book about the Battle of Britain when you just showed that there was no clearly defined battle?!
However, the book does cover an interesting period of history and a lot of the background of the period in question, although it is very thin on the details of the intense period of fighting (for thin, I mean almost non-existent). The book is clearly written by a historian and not a writer; it is well written but it isn't exactly exciting.
So, if you want a quick top up on your history then this book is a worthwhile read, if you want to know about the actual battle period, you'll need to read something else, like the superb 'First Light' by Geoffrey Wellum. Better still, read both!
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on 27 May 2016
After buying the other edition of this book (70th Anniversary) and enjoying it I thought this special edition 75th Anniversary may have more information in it and maybe some extra pull-out documents which I like. I then purchased this edition only to find the book is exactly the same and instead of more documents there were less! Not really impressed.
So buy the 70th Anniversary edition rather than this later one.
Apart from that they are a quite nice coffee table book but that's about it. If you really want a book about the Battle of Britain there are a lot of good ones around. Most dangerous enemy is probably the top one. James Holland and Patrick Bishop also have written books on the same subject that are very good.
Dave Sheppard.
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on 20 July 2015
It's short and does not contain first hand accounts of heroic pilots. It doe show just how much the story was manipulated as propaganda from the off by both sides. Clearly written it does give insight to the decisions made about tactics (the German side) and British preparedness and adaptation.
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on 7 December 2015
An excellent overview of this aspect of the Second World Two.
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on 3 September 2015
Very informative book
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on 13 February 2008
Although this book is a decent overview of BoB it is poorly researched and has little detail for the serious reader, Overy really doesn't deserve his reputation if it is based on mediocre books like this.

I recommend The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain by Dr Stephen Bungay! ISBN-10: 1854108018

This book is a much fuller history that was researched and written with great care and accuracy.
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