Top critical review
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Does not do justice to a brave crew who survived.
on 15 May 2011
Having an interest in Bomber Command (my own Uncle was killed flying a Wellington in 1942, 2 days before his 21st birthday) I have read many books on this subject. Generally (with the exception of Martin Middlebrooke's excellent works which are in a category of their own), they fall into one of two categories; autobiographical and based on diaries written at the time or biographical and based solely on a crew members log book.
The first category often manage to portray the real feelings and emotions of life on a bomber base where every member of an operational crew knew the odds were stacked against their survival. Harry Yates's Luck and a Lancaster, Jack Currie's Lancaster Target and Mosquito Victory, Don Charlwood's No Moon Tonight and Pip Beck's Keeping Watch are all excellent examples.
The Second category is often little short of a list of operations padded out with generic, and often irrellevent information. Sadly this book falls into the second category. It's 336 pages long but you get to page 177 before they take off for their first raid which, incidently, is covered in 3 short pages. Large parts of the first half of the book describe life on a farm in the 1920's & 30's interspersed with a potted history of Bomber Command and Arthur Harris. There is little in the way of emotion and no sense of the fear, exhilaration, relief etc captured in other books covering this subject.
There is no doubt that the members of this crew were extremely brave and exceptional young men who we all owe a great debt to, as well as the 55,573 who failed to return, unfortunately this book fails to do them justice