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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars balanced and fair
By and large this is a balanced and measured account of the cases for and against deciding whether the allied bombing of targets in Germany during the second world war -- under the 'area bombing' policy -- was a legitimate or an illegal act of war. It has very obvious parallels in illuminating the legality or otherwise of recent acts of policy in regard to the Balkans and...
Published on 12 April 2006 by Barton Keyes

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26 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the book it claims to be...
Grayling presents this book as a necessary corrective to apparent moral complacency in Britain and the USA regarding the bombing of Germany during the second world war. Certainly, events of the last decade have given questions about the ethics of bombing a renewed urgency. But Grayling can only make his claim to be saying something challenging good by downplaying more...
Published on 12 April 2006 by General Reader


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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 Nov 2014
By 
E. osborn - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Among the Dead Cities: Is the Targeting of Civilians in War Ever Justified? (Paperback)
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not by an expert, 8 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Among the Dead Cities: Is the Targeting of Civilians in War Ever Justified? (Paperback)
This book was written by a man who isn't an expert on Bomber Command or the bombing campaign and it shows. However it does have some interesting aspects
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War is HELL & Hindsight Proves Just That Fact..., 18 Aug 2008
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This review is from: Among the Dead Cities: Is the Targeting of Civilians in War Ever Justified? (Paperback)
One needs no further proof that we live in a free and democratic society than the fact that books such as this one are readily available.
That the victorious would be criticized for their actions decades later would never have happened had the AXIS powers prevailed in World War 2.
It is startling to note that Germany itself was virtually wiped off the face of the planet; were the actions of the Allied powers justified? No. But consider that just a few years later, the same foe that defeated Germany would save the nation; witness the Berlin Airlift. Again, one doubts that the NAZIS nor Imperial Japan would have shown any such humanity to the nations they would have been in control of had they won the war.
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10 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pompous arrogance past its sell-by-date, 9 Dec 2009
By 
Paul T Horgan (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Among the Dead Cities: Is the Targeting of Civilians in War Ever Justified? (Paperback)
This is an unnecessary book. I'll give away the ending. The author thinks that the area bombing was not moral.

As with all other hostile commentators he takes pains not to undermine the obvious bravery of the crews, especially those of Bomber Command, who died in their thousands bringing the war to the very people who started it. However this is the starting point for all critics of the bombing campaign. They all say "we all think you were very brave but..."

The fact is that Bomber Command actually succeeded in its objectives, despite what the political establishment, peaceniks and professional rivals state. The nature of the Nazi state was such that only Soviet tanks in the ReichsChancellery garden could bring the final downfall of Germany. But the actual defeat was complete by November 1944 at the latest and Germany could no longer win the war by May 1943, and Bomber Command had a place in driving Germany to this state.

A greater philosophical challenge would have been to demonstrate Bomber Command's success and not to simply conform to the leftish historiography that denies any form of praise to British armed forces in either world war. And that is the failure of this book. It does not say anything that has not been said many times before. So in effect this book is in fact unnecessary repetition. And therefore unnecessary to buy.

The author has particular issue with raids that took place in 1945. With hindsight these do seem to have little military value. But mass destruction is not exclusively military and does have a political dimension. Given that the death rate was at its peak in 1945, any effort to shorten the war was vital. Why should every yard of Nazi territory have to be fought over when devastating a few cities would cause the Germans to raise the white flag? The fact that they did not is not the fault of Bomber Command, but rather the ridiculous political mess that the Germans had got themselves into, such that the only way there could be a change of government was through a bomb in a hut or a bullet through the brain. Of all the powers fighting the war, theirs was the only one who had no non-violent mechanism for the transfer of power. The Germans were victims of their own intransigence. The Germans were also very good at transporting soldiers, concentration camp inmates and whole factories across the length and breadth of their territory. But when they were faced with a campaign of explicit area bombing, they seemed reluctant to move their citizens out of the way. The fact that they remained in the cities to be bombed has to rest in the end with the Germans.

So, if you like discrediting British military history then this is the book for you. If you don't then there is no need to waste your time here.
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