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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Depiction Of A Bomber's War
I first read this when I was 12 in the early '70's, and snapped this up as soon as I saw it has been re-printed.

Gibson started right at the beginning of the war in Bombers, did a stint in nightfighters (he was due for rest, but wouldn't accept the genuine break from the war that his superiors wanted him to have), then went back to Bombers through to his being...
Published on 6 Aug. 2007 by A. R. Dow

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very small print
The content of this book is exactly what was expected. However, the print/type face is very small and difficult to read, even with a magnifying glass and therefore spoils the enjoyment.
Published on 10 Mar. 2011 by Lyn


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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Depiction Of A Bomber's War, 6 Aug. 2007
By 
A. R. Dow "Primrosehillbilly" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
I first read this when I was 12 in the early '70's, and snapped this up as soon as I saw it has been re-printed.

Gibson started right at the beginning of the war in Bombers, did a stint in nightfighters (he was due for rest, but wouldn't accept the genuine break from the war that his superiors wanted him to have), then went back to Bombers through to his being killed in a raid over Germany after he returned to front line duty post Dambusters' raids.

This autobiographical book chronicles the aerial bombing campaign, and, as well as recording Gibson's personal experiences, the people he knew, and some of the scrapes that they got up to on base, charts the developing sophistication of RAF Bomber Command's tactics and aircraft.

As you'd expect, a good chunk is devoted to the Dambusters' raid. The build up to this is also good, and is written very much on the basis of what Gibson was told and "needed to know" at the time. He wrote the book before returning to active service after his post - Dambusters' break, and is very much written so as to not give away any secrets of the time.
This - I believe - provides additional atmosphere to the story.

I've heard that Guy Gibson was thought to be big headed and arrogant - well, it's hard to accomplish things if you don't have a degree of self belief, and at no time in this book do I recall him appearing to self - aggrandise.

It's a great read, and I thoroughly recommend this to anyone interested in the period.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a s good as it gets, from one of the men actually there., 28 Feb. 2010
By 
Mr. A. Moore "The Moore Family" (Redditch UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
As someone very interested in Bomber Command and Fighter Command I have read both the original version and this now uncensored version several times and find it a very informative and wonderful read. It is the autobiography of one of the most famous pilots of the war years, Guy Penrose Gibson, VC, DFC bar and DSO bar, leader of the Dambusters.

It starts flying out to the lakes on the Dambusters raid and quickly changes to several years before as the War breaks out as he reminises about hois life as a pilot in both bombers and fighters them comes full circle back to the Dambusters.

Gibsons account is not emotional, in fact far from it. It is instead a factual account telling the real stories of himself and those flying with him. The most emotional it gets is some 18 months into the war when he realises he is the only one still flying from his friends he flew with on the day war broke out (most are dead, one a POW).

It covers 1939 to 1943 and has the stories of flying getting things wrong and the struggle to improve as well as life on the ground with lots of drunken parties etc. as they all believed today they would die so we live life to the full. One exceptional part involves a Dunkirk survivor asking where the RAF had been at the beach.

Other reviewers have said Gibson perhaps didn't deserve the reputation he has, I am not one to say if he does or doesn't but he certainly lacks real emotion in his writing, its is all matter of fact, which makes this such a remarkable book. There's nothing else quite like it, a fitting tribute to Gibson and all the other fliers of WW2.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Buy for WW2 Buffs, 16 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my dad and he loved it. He's really into history, in particular the World Wars, so this book made a great addition to his collection.

He had wanted this book for ages and at first I couldn't decide which version he would prefer. In the end I chose the uncensored version so that he could read Guy Gibson's story in its full historical context, rather than reading the edited version that Dam Busters was based on. When you read it you can guess which bits might have been cut, which provides its own insight into the machinations of political censorship. And not only is this honest account of one man's experience packed full of facts, but it is also very well written which makes it a very touching and human read as well.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atlast back in print after many years., 11 Oct. 2009
By 
Mr. P. J. R. LEWIS (Llandudno N Wales) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
A dear friend of mine now well into his eighties and one of the founder members of the RAF Duxford museum loaned me the long out of print original copy of this book and a magnificent read it was aswell.

Written in a very readable manner and giving a highly accurate account of what training and life in Bomber Command entailed throughout the war.

Looking back at it now whilst watching that superb film "The Dambusters" i realised how accurate events were portrayed in the film.

They are very similar to Gibsons life at Bomber command with the tension of air raids and subsequent loss of air crews.

There are not that many books that describe in great detail what A TOUR was or what it entailed during war time Britain.

Every pilot if he was indeed lucky enough to survive had to undertake 30 missions to complete a TOUR of duty and step aside for other less experienced pilots to undertake their TOUR.

We are told in the film "The Dambusters" when Guy Gibson was first introduced to Barnes Wallace that he was on his third TOUR, an incredible feat considering every time a pilot took off on a mission he didnot know if he was going to return.

Through sheer good luck and obvious skill as an airman some pilots through loyalty to their unit and reluctance to stand down volunteered for a second TOUR of duty.

In Churchills words " Never have so many owed so much to so few" (I think that how it goes)

I cannot recommend this book highly enough and it is very pleasing to see it back in print once again.

A quality read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning First Hand Account, 19 July 2011
By 
David Austin "Clashist1977" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
As an avid reader of first hand combat accounts I have to place this book at the very top of the pile. Gibson's book is simply stunning.

The immense power of this book lies in the story of unbelievable courage shown by the men of bomber command. Gibson takes us through the early days of the war, the tragic waste of the skilled aircrews thrown away in obsolete planes and flawed tactics, the tremendous spirit shown by these young men in the face of almost inevitable death and the deep sadness of seeing their comrades lost with such regularity.

After defying the odds and completing one tour of duty, Gibson transfers to night fighters rather than resting, before going back for another tour on 'heavies' and eventually forming and leading the elite 617 squadron on the famous Dams raid.

Yes it is jingoistic, yes it is bullish, what else could it be from a warrior and leader of this nature at time when total war was still raging? Indeed, it is these traits that give us great insight into the prevailing feelings and attitudes of the men involved that make first hand accounts so valuable in our assessment of history. We should be thankful that this document encapsulating the spirit of the aircrew was written by one of their greatest leaders before he too gave his life to the cause.

After reading this book maybe a dozen times over the last 40 years, I recommend it unreservedly to all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guy Gibson's Guide To England's Finest Ale Houses, 1939-1943., 31 Aug. 2012
By 
D. Forbes "Donald B. Forbes" (Kidderminster) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
I'd first seen a copy of Guy Gibson's Enemy Coast Ahead some thirty years ago and I'd been looking forward to reading the 'Uncensored' version for some time. Some of the early reviews stated that the choice of typesetting made the new edition very hard to read; I got a copy of Crécy's 2012 reprint and I found the font size to be quite acceptable to my average eyesight. But I had to agree with other reviewers that it would have been nice to have had the reinstated text in the Uncensored edition highlighted so that it was clear what exactly had been removed from the 1946 edition.

The font types and colours used on the cover of new edition are very odd. Although the title of the book is quite clear on its spine, this isn't the case on the cover. I suspect most readers would have expected a greater part of the book to cover the attack on the Ruhr Dams: out of 274 pages only about 25 describe the actual raid, referred to by Gibson here as Operation Downwood. Due to the secrecy surrounding the weapon, Gibson uses a lot of pseudonyms to thinly disguise names and code words. Readers will easily work out the identity of the scientist referred to in the book as Jeff. In fact there isn't a single mention of the fact that the bomb was designed to bounce, again no doubt, due to the classified nature of weapon at that time. Some readers may be aghast at the author's marvelling at seeing fleeing vehicles being engulfed by flood water from the breached Möhne reservoir; but of course Gibson's jingoism, and his views on the destruction of German towns and cities, has to be seen in the context of a continent at total war.

The book opens with the flight out on the Dams Raid in May 1943, but the second chapter takes the reader back to the build-up to war being declared on Germany in 1939. Gibson's fine account of motoring back to his Unit through late-1930s Britain in an old Alvis motor car, and other depictions of England at that time, is almost as good as Orwell in its description. Apparently, the Boar's Head in Carmarthen was well worth a visit in its time.

In the next few chapters Gibson recounts his time on the Hampden medium-bomber with nerve jangling, fatigue ridden, accounts of flying deep into enemy territory. There are also occasional snippets of humour as the author tells of the lighter side of life on a wartime RAF Station. In Chapter 10 Gibson crosses to the other side and joins 29 Squadron, a night-fighter unit equipped with the Bristol Beaufighter. The author gives exciting accounts of hunting German night-raiders in the dark skies over England with his Airborne Intercept radar operator, Sgt. R.H. James. The book's underlying theme of boozy revelry continues, and one occasion the author ends up in front of a magistrate.

We don't get much of a picture of the real Wing Commander Gibson from this autobiographical account of his war experience. Far more revealing accounts have emerged subsequently from others who served with him. We learn a little about his wife Eve; and perhaps unsurprisingly, there is no mention of the mystery WAAF with whom he was allegedly very close to whilst stationed in Lincolnshire. The reader does get some insights into Gibson's Cornish connections during his few periods of leave; we also learn that the bar in the Wellington Hotel in Boscastle is a good place for a quiet beer.

The fine writing style in the first two thirds of the book starts to wane towards the end. Indeed, the final two or three chapters appear to have been written in a rush. And if the rumours about Enemy Coast Ahead being ghost written by Roald Dahl were true then Mr Dahl must have had a change of heart towards the end of this work. There are quite a few typos in the text: the one regarding the 425 (sic) degree intercept heading on page 130 being so glaringly obvious I'm amazed it has never been corrected.

Readers need to remind themselves that the author was only 25-years-old when he wrote this book. The events described therein are testament to the abilities and courage of someone quite rightly held up as one of the finest leader of men in wartime.

Donald B. Forbes 31st August 2012.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enemy coast ahead, 30 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
Very well written . I have a keen interest in the air war 1939- 45 , and especially the dams raid .Having read a few accounts of this , the "horses mouth " version was excellent . A good read .Early part dealing with the failures and the formation of the squadrons Gibson served in was unique and informative .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 21 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
The book was a gift for my husband who is delighted with it and found it a most interesting read. The picture on the front is not the same as the one displayed on the picture on the amazon website.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny, but very serious, 18 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
Riveting. Couldn't put the book down. I found myself reading it in my head with a clipped Pathe News voice until I slapped myself. How we won the war with our pilots getting totally blotto so often I cannot comprehend. Very funny, but very serious. Even Gibson's dog drank too much. Each raid is told of in great detail with great excitement and much sorrow for those who did not return. A compelling read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enemy Coast Ahead, 21 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Enemy Coast Ahead- Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson (Soft Cover) (Paperback)
This book gives a true portrayal of the lives of the young bomber crews. In particular, drawing attention to the ages of them.
The coverage of their missions is fully documented along with the heart braking losses during the fight for England's survival.
The book left me wanting to know more about Guy Gibson's life after the bombing raids.
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