To commemorate the 60th anniversary of arguably the most important air battle in history, two academics from the University of Edinburgh have assembled this multi-faceted collection of essays on the Battle of Britain, offering a variety of new perspectives. Some of these are intriguing: for instance, Owen Dudley Edward's piece on "The Battle of Britain and Children's Literature" and, taking a similarly cultural rather than military approach, Tony Aldgate's "The Battle of Britain on Film"--although he is rather unfair on that superlative bit of celluloid stiff-upper-lippery, Reach for the Skies
. Other essays seem pretty pointless: an essay on "The American Perspective"-unless, of course, the Battle was won by the Americans after all. The gems here, however, are Wallace Cunningham's "Memories of a British Veteran" and Nigel Rose's "An RAF Pilot's Letters to His Parents, June-December 1940," full of schoolboy jollity and have-at-'em spirit:
I'd no sooner arrived back when a crowd of Junkers 87s dive-bombed Tangmere and just about razed the hangars to the ground. We had a magnificent view of the whole affair and it was most thrilling to watch.
So, although this is no match for the sheer narrative thrill of Len Deighton's Fighter
or Deighton and Max Hastings'Battle of Britain
, there is still some good stuff here and provocative new ways of looking at a national legend. --Christopher Hart
From the Author
Reviews of The Burning Blue
'It is terrific. It's not only an acknowledgement of the heroism of the fighter pilots, but a serious contribution to the historical record. Seventeen contributors write about the Battle from pretty much every conceivable angle; and Addison and Crang have chosen them well.'
'This is a nugget of a book. Issued for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, it assembles, most readably, a range of authoritative and international views on the Battle, its history and significance.'
'This book is a first-class piece of work, stimulating, informative and concise.'
TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT
'This excellent book...whose lucid and concise summaries of current scholarship will please the general reader and delight generations of hard-pressed students lucky enough to have so useful a book drawn to their attention...Better still, it breaks new ground.'
JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY
'It's difficult to imagine how any work can provide a new perspective or any new information on this vastly oversubscribed topic - but this is precisely the feat which The Burning Blue manages to achieve...The Burning Blue is a fine work which certainly enhances our understanding of an event which has become increasingly indistinguishable from the myth and legend which has sprung from it.'
PC STRATEGY AND GAMES
'It offers fresh and stimulating insights into the Battle'.
'Jargon-free and refreshingly readable'.
'Impressive breadth and depth'.