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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Lags of Bomber Command
As an ex Bomber Boy this book is first class and shows the modern youth how we responded to the threat of Nazi domination and despite the denigration of our efforts by modern 'hindsight' historians, most young people I have met do not look upon us as 'terrorists'. I for one have faith in our 21st century young men that they would respond as we did in 1943/45.
Published on 18 Oct. 2007 by Mitchell

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable general summary
A reasonable non academic summary that will suffice for those seeking a general over-view. However, it is not a patch on the works of Martin Middlebrook (The Battle of Hamburg, The Berlin Raids etc), which I would fully recommend as being far more evocative and better and more exhaustively researched.
Published 20 months ago by Biff Otodge


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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Lags of Bomber Command, 18 Oct. 2007
By 
Mitchell "LancNav" (Harrogate Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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As an ex Bomber Boy this book is first class and shows the modern youth how we responded to the threat of Nazi domination and despite the denigration of our efforts by modern 'hindsight' historians, most young people I have met do not look upon us as 'terrorists'. I for one have faith in our 21st century young men that they would respond as we did in 1943/45.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading!, 4 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945 (Paperback)
This book is the best book I have read so far this year.

It describes the strategic air war against Germany by the RAF in the Second World War. That description makes it sound maybe a bit dry and academic but it is far from being either of those things! It tells the story of this chapter in the war from a very human point of view. For example, there are chapters describing the airmen's training, lives at their bases, their motivation, how they dealt with the fear of being killed whilst carrying out operation over Europe at night and many other highly interesting aspects of the lives of these remarkable men.

The book also describes the strategy behind the bombing of Germany, from the beginning to the end of the war and gives a good insight into the main commanders - people such as Charles Portal and Bomber Harris.

The story told in these pages is often very moving and I once I had finished the book I thought about it for a long time afterwards, quite unlike other books I have read. I felt great sympathy for all the men of Bomber Command, which has never had the vital role it played in World War II properly publicly acknowledged. I hope that this book will cause many to ask why this is so and perhaps focus efforts to have a permanent memorial specific to these men built, and to have this done before the last of them die and they recede from living memory.
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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 10 April 2007
One word sums up this book: magnificent. It is history of the highest calibre. It is thoroughly researched and written with sensitivity and great style. It is a fitting memorial to the thousands of brave young men of Bomber Command who gave their lives in the cause of freedom. For too long have these men been forgotten and often reviled. Mr Bishop's brilliant book is a long overdue reminder that they deserve to be revered as much as the heroes of Fighter Command.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars smashing, 1 May 2003
By A Customer
Luckily enough i procured a copy of this book in advance of official publication and am glad i did so. I have read dozens of books on the great aerial conflict known as the Battle of Britain and thought there was no more to say on the subject. How wrong I was! Mr Bishop has dug deep into the subject and has found all sorts of new things shedding new and unimagined light upon the battle that saved Britain from the Nazi invaders. He hails the young pilots who fought so bravely. He does not fall into the common trap of lauding them as unblemished heroes (no heroines in the skies in those days!). He says many were ordinary and flawed though also undoubtedly they were brave. He pours scorn on the myths regarding their foes, the Germans, saying they too deserve credit. There is so much to enjoy here. Mr Bishop conjures up the fear and excitement of battle. He evokes the smell of combat and the relief when crews sat down in their Messes to tuck into a good old fashioned English supper of egg,chips and baked beans. This book is not for the faint hearted. He pulls no punches.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bomber Boys, 12 April 2007
By 
M. W. Withnall (Shropshire England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I thought fighter Boys was excellent, this is as good, this book gives a human perspective to the men who flew every night over Germany in the second world war, they have been largley forgotten by history and of late unfairly maligned. I would not have been brave enough to do what they did night after night with apalling losses. I have had this book 3 days and have not put it down I cannot recommend it highly enough, if you are interested in well written history buy it !
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving but balanced account., 1 Jun. 2008
By 
Mark Davison (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945 (Paperback)
Bomber Boys brought tears to my eyes. It is a movingly written record and assessment of the horrors that aircrew endured during World War II. My father - a navigator in a 44 Squadron Lancaster - had told me on many occasions about his war service and I understood something of the difficulties. However, it was only by reading this book that one can put into perspective the terrible loss, the low chances of survival as well as the physical and mental strain of missions.
Nor does the book shirk from the real moral ambiguities of the campaign and follows through to officialdom's post-war embarrassment of their role. The book fills in many of the gaps that I did not appreciate when talking to my father and allows me now to understand how truly heroic his and his fellow aircrewmen's contribution was. I only wish that my father could have survived a couple more years to have enjoyed reading it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Bishop has allowed us to know them, 24 Dec. 2009
By 
Benjamin Girth "NI5 MCR" (Hampstead N6) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Opposite my house (20km South of Dijon, Burgundy) past the war memorial in the village cemetery lie the crew of a Short Sterling shot down on the 13th August 1943 by a Messerschmitt 109.

· Pilot: Pilot Officer Frederick MATTHEWS Royal Australian Air Force, 25 years old
· Bombardier: Flight Officer Franck HOLLAND Royal Australian Fleet Reserve, 32 years old
· Navigator: Flight Sergeant Alistair ROSE Royal New Zealand Air Force, 20 years old
· Gunner: Flight Sergeant Albert HARRIS Royal New Zealand Air Force, 23 years old
· Radio officer: Sergeant Kennet CORK Royal Air Force, 21 years old
· Mechanic: Sergeant John KNIGHT Royal Air Force, 27 years old
· Gunner: Sergeant Henry OTT Royal Air Force, 19 years old

The book succinctly details the strategy and tactics of the bombing campaign. It is an explanation not a justification - none is needed - where the sheer terror of the aircrews experience is equalled by the horror of those beneath the bombs. Bishop presents the mass of data well. He gives a balanced account of Anglo American strategic goals/arguments and his comments on Dresden were reasoned. Before that he explains how aircrew found love, and what happened to the WRAF who fell for a married Wing Commander. What emerges are stories, how crews were recruited, trained, commanded and lived. This book is rich in detail, about people rather than military technology or command and control structures.

Bishop allows us to understand the most controversial aspect of the bombing campaign in Europe. After the war there was little recognition for those engaged in the bomber offensive, ineffective and savage the politicians preferred to ignore those who had participated. This was despicable - Churchill in particular is culpable while some air marshals and planners have a case to answer. The crews believed they were attacking the military capability of the enemy, assisting the land war and supporting the Red Army (especially in the destruction of targets in Eastern Germany - Dresden et al). By default - not design - it was a war against women and children but that could only be appreciated after the Germans had been beaten.

As for "my" Stirling bomber that was shot down, I learned it was a poor aircraft giving its crews an excellent chance of death. For the seven it was a cruel end, fighting and failing inside a burning plane there was no escape. Each year our small village places a wreath at the war memorial then process to the cemetery to play both national anthems on a bugle. Having read this book I have an appreciation of what they went through. An excellent history, well-written Patrick Bishop has allowed me to know these people. He has made them human. It left me shocked, having read so many war histories as entertainment here on my doorstep is the reality buried under seven immaculate headstones.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring, 13 Jun. 2003
By A Customer
As someone who has studied the Battle of Britain in copious detail these many years past I can say this book adds nothing to the sum of knowledge. What it does superbly is give people who are not specialists as I am a fine summary of what it felt like to be a young man in the RAF charged with the onerous duty of combating the Luftwaffe's formidable onslaught upon the British Isles. In sweeping and breathtaking prose Mr Bishop steers the non specialist reader into the skies with such vividity the non specialist must feel he or she is actually up there. For non pilots this must be a strange yet also exciting sensation. Courage, courage and courage. These are the qualities that sustained these young men. Also humour as Mr Bishop amply explains. To specialists such as me there are minor quibbles and flaws, of no interest to the run of the mill reader. Mr Bishop is wrong most emphatically in his assertions regarding the turning circles, acceleratory capacities, air frame to power inverse ratios and aerlion spivets of the Spitfire in comparison to the lesser known Hurricane. To specialists such as myself these are irritations. To the general public they will not detract from what is a magnificient work and a worthy tribute to the men who saved us from the German armada awaiting across the Channel had the RAF faltered. To all who doubt our debt I say they should read this wonderful book.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 16 July 2007
As the grandson of a flight-engineer on Lancasters I have a personal reason to value this original and thoughtful look at the lives of the only 'boys' who fought from start to finish of World War II. Bishop takes a ground-up perspective and focuses on the experiences of the airmen themslves, adding details of policy and politics where it becomes appropriate to the main theme. He has researched both ageing memories and first hand documentary accounts of what is thankfully our only strategic air war. The sacrifice of those who were clearly so talented and gave so willingly shines as an inspiration from these pages. The scale of the losses is sobering - eight thousand men died in training accidents alone. Could we do it again? I wonder.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sobering story, 11 Oct. 2009
By 
C. L. Grant (Berkshire,England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945 (Paperback)
I picked this book up in the local Oxfam shop and didn't read it for about a year. How silly - it was difficult to put down.
Whilst some may find the detail a little tedious please go with it as it is really essential to the story. I was born only three years after the war ended and I thought I knew quite a lot about the RAF during WW2. Reading this changed my mind completely.I knew little and understood less.
The sheer magnitude of the Bomber Command losses is bought home.
Losses to the German population were far worse. We all know about Hamburgh and Dresden but city after city suffered and I'm sure those lost on the ground can only be estimates.
This brings home the true horror of the war, to one not alive at the time.
To any Bomber Boys still with us , Thank You.
I'm now going to read Fighter Boys.
Well done Patrick Bishop.
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Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945
Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945 by Patrick Bishop (Paperback - 3 Mar. 2008)
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