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The Burning Blue: A New History of the Battle of Britain [Paperback]

Paul Addison , Jeremy Crang , Jeremy A. Crang
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 2000
Published in time for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, this new history broadens and deepens our understanding of an event that became an instant legend. For the first time, "The Burning Blue" brings together the facts, the legends, the memories and the judgement of historians in a panoramic reassessment of one of the most famous battles of all time. An international cast of authorities review the Battle from the British and the German sides and explore the way it is remembered today by the airmen who took part in it. The book also traces the legacy of the Battle in British culture since 1940; and pinpoints its significance in the overall history of the Second World War. Contributors include Richard Overy, Brian Bond and Angus Calder.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico (1 Jun 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712664750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712664752
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,084,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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.'

THE GUARDIAN

'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.'

RUSI JOURNAL

'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'.

WARTIME

'Jargon-free and refreshingly readable'.

DAILY MAIL

'Refreshingly astringent'.

SUNDAY TIMES

'Impressive breadth and depth'.

THE SCOTSMAN


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but limited 11 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a refreshing review of the well known events of the summer of 1940, analysing the "battle of Britain" and how the legend developed from many unusual perspectives. It, thankfully, does not bore the reader with pages of the usual rah-rah, biggles view of events nor does it fall into the kind of emotional rubbish that more populistic accounts have done in the past.
Fortunately, avoids the other trap of being reactionary, or anti-state which characterised Clive Ponting's earlier work on the events of 1940. The analysis is clear and cool and leaves the reader with a more informed picture of events without diminishing ones admiration for "the few".
The survey demonstrates how the battle became a myth within a (remarkably) short period and the essayists deconstruct the myth without the sense of it's emotional importance being patronised. As Richard Overy (who knows it's limited importance compared to the vital turning points of WWII) intelligently concludes, it was important because for the British it was perceived to be important.
If this review suffers from any faults, i would suggest that it does not sufficiently analyse how the battle is perceived today. Not to mention an assessment of it's contempory infulence. For instance, an evaluation of how the events of 1940 may or may not effect sentiment towards the Europen Union debate - maybe the authors avoided opening that can.
Also, i would add that not enough is done to portray the reasons for fighting the war, especially when one considers that the strong memories of the horrors of 1914-18 must have still haunted people. Today's public need to understand that challening the holocaust was not the motivating force as most people would comfortably assume today.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rather "academic" read 3 Oct 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not so much a cohesive book as a summary of the proceedings of an academic conference on the Battle of Britain run by the book's editors, who are lecturer's at the University of Edinburgh. As such it is not for the faint-hearted, is rather stuffy and is not much of an introduction to the subject for those readers not already well grounded in the subject. Keen amateur historians and academics will find much to like in this work, there are much better, more rounded texts for the rest of us.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Family History 8 Jan 2012
By Joy2no - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Learning about this piece of history especially from those who were there has been exciting. I bought several copies for family as one of the chapters was written by a relative from Scotland making it all the more fun. The books arrived in a timely manner and condition as described. Wish I could have found a new editi0on but these worked just fine.
3.0 out of 5 stars Collection of Essays on the Battle of Britain! 24 Oct 2008
By Michael OConnor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Though this book is subtitled A NEW HISTORY OF THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN, that subtitle is misleading. Rather this is a collection of 18 essays or reminiscences originating in a 1996 University of Edinburgh conference on the BoB. While informative, THE BURNING BLUE is, in no way, a history in the traditional sense.

The book is divided into six sections: 'Before the Battle,' 'The Battle,' 'The View from Afar,' 'Experience and Memory,' 'The Making of a British Legend' and 'The Significance.' The first section provides a German historian's summary of the Luftwaffe's development and history prior to the Battle followed by a British historian's summary of the RAF. Part two offers up a German historian's account of the Luftwaffe's assault followed by a British historian recounting the RAF's response and so on.

Given its academic background, BURNING BLUE is informative but dry. The esays do offer some new 'food for thought' regarding the BoB but, with one exception, BURNING BLUE does not make for exciting reading. That exception is the 'Experince and Memory' chapter which features reminiscences from a Luftwaffe and an RAF pilot along with letters written by an RAF pilot during the Battle.

Battle of Britain enthusiasts will want to avail themselves of BURNING BLUE but, be forewarned, it's no page-turner. Methinks an optional purchase.
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