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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A former enemy that has to be honored and admired.
The title of the book comes from the fact that Adolf Galland began WWII as a flight captain, and though rising through the ranks like a meteor to the equivalent rank of 3 star general, ended it the same way after refusing to kowtow to Adolf Hitler. Galland was a man who proves that even evil regimes have their worthy heroes. He had well over 100 air combat victories...
Published on 22 Mar. 1999

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To many printing errors.
OK i know this is a copy of an out of print book, but it has several printing errors in every Chapter .
It looks like the original book was copied using OCR scanning & no one bothered to proof read it
Still an interesting story.
Published on 12 Jun. 2013 by Bill Jamieson


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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A former enemy that has to be honored and admired., 22 Mar. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: First and the Last (Hardcover)
The title of the book comes from the fact that Adolf Galland began WWII as a flight captain, and though rising through the ranks like a meteor to the equivalent rank of 3 star general, ended it the same way after refusing to kowtow to Adolf Hitler. Galland was a man who proves that even evil regimes have their worthy heroes. He had well over 100 air combat victories despite being promoted to general at age 30 (the youngest of any of the war) and removed from active combat for most of WWII. The top Amercan aces of the war, great as many of them were, scored less than 40. Generally regarded as one of the finest fighter pilots ever, he was also a great leader and stategist whose understanding of the air war was apparently far in advance of Hitler's and other Nazi leaders. Luckily for us, most of his advice as commanding general of the fighter side of the Luftwaffe fell on deaf ears. Despite his great accomplishments and impact,he generally downplays his role and tells the story of the European air war from a very humble perspective. Reading it is like reading the mind of Alexander the Great, but without any trace of ego or bitterness towards his former enemies. He was also as strong a humanitarian as combat permits, for example, insisting that his pilots refrain (though not always successfully) from gunning an enemy pilot who has bailed out and is helpless in his parachute. It is noteworthy that after the war he was among the few high ranking German leaders who was not found guilty of a war crime. He was just a man who served his nation, however wrong it was, to the best of his rather astonishing ability. Further evidence of his character is shown by the fact that he was for the rest of his life held in the highest regard by those he fought against. For example, he was asked to read the obituary for British Wing Commander Douglas Bader, a great Battle of Britain hero, many decades after the war. Despite the dry style of the writing, the inside story of a pivotal time in world history told by a dominant insider has to rank the book as one of the finest military historical and autobiographical works ever written. Like Chuck Yeager, he was a man bigger than life, whose story could make a wonderful movie.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must", 4 Oct. 2014
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I have read some of the other customer reviews with some puzzlement. This book was written not that long after the end of World War 2, in 1956 I think, and should be viewed in light of this. My father served in the RAF during WWII, and as a boy I eagerly grabbed any and every opportunity to read about the war in the air. Nowadays, there are to say the least a plethora of books on the second world war in the air, and it seems pretty much every month a new autobiography/biography appears. But not so back in the 1950s, and to me reading it then it was amazing. My father had the "Corgi Paperback Giant" copy, which I still have, albeit rather tatty now. Of course by modern historical standards it appears rather weak in some places, almost robotic. But Galland was writing at a very difficult time for Germans. Unlike the "victors" , eg the British, German youth could not easily ask their fathers "what did you do in the war, Father? for fear of the answer on both sides. Galland comes over as a dedicated fighting man who was not afraid to question his superiors. He doesn't dwell on the unpalatable side of Germany, that was not his purpose. Many years ago, in 1969 I was in a road accident just outside the town of Wurzburg. I was taken into hospital there where I remained for a week. I had a illustrated book on the German Panzer divisions with me. It so happened that Wurzburg was the HQ of Guderian's Panzer brigades ( I have probably got the terminology wrong, apologies). I was in a shared ward with germans, one of them a grizzled Luftwaffe bomber veteran of the Eastern Front ; he had some fascinating stories to tell, but this is not the point of my little story. One day the consultants came in on their rounds, and as they got to me they noticed the book on my bedside table, picked it up, went over to the other side of the room and in a very comradely way, went through the photos in the book, laughing from time to time. I asked the ex-Luftwaffe pilot what was going on, and he said "some of them are in the photos". OK, what's this got to do with Galland's book? My point is that a lot of German soldiers, sailors and airman were proud of what they did, their regrets more they ended up losing. Indeed Galland's criticisms are reserved for the German leaders who he blamed for letting down the armed forces. There are many example in his book of his feelings on this. One of the more famous ones bring when Goering, during a heated argument, asked Galland what more he needed ( to do better during the Battle of Britain) and Galland responded " a squadron of spitfires". However as he later pointed out during an interview,this was not because he felt the spitfire was so much superior to the Me109, he was simply "having a go at Goering". I would therefore thoroughly recommend this book, not only for the details provided by a very senior Luftwaffe pilot during WWII, but as a "feel" for what the Gemans felt during the 1950s, some 10 years after the end of the war in respect of their service in the armed forces.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read from amaster of air warfare, 14 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: First and the Last (Hardcover)
This is Adolph Galland's autobiographical account of his experiences throughout World War Two. It starts with him as a flight commander on the Western Front then progresses through as he assumes the role as the Inspector General of the Fighter Arm of the Luftwaffe and then back to commanding a flight of jet fighters right upto the German surrender.
As a result of Gallands varied activities during the War, the reader benefits from a gripping account of the Battle fo Britain at the tactical level before getting into the strategic insight of the German High Command. His depth of knowledge and understanding of the strategic issues makes this book a valid history of the war as well as an account of his own personal experiences.
His obvious and justified pride in his Fighter Arm does not deter him from writing a very fair, balanced, humble and knowledgeable narrative of World War Two. He gives credit where it is due to friend and foe alike and his disappointment with the Higher Command of the Luftwaffe, particularly of Goring, is apparent but never bitter.
This is a very well written book by a tactical genius. This book will appeal not only to aerial warfare historians but also to anyone with an interest in World War Two. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and learned a lot from him at the same time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The First & the Last - initial view, 10 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The First And The Last (Paperback)
I was expecting a standard size paperback book - and was a bit surprised when an A4 size book arrived. The translation from German to English is a bit hard going some times and so far there has been a few printing errors when large blocks of text have been repeated.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important account, 22 Aug. 2007
By 
Philip Spiers (Moravia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: First and the Last (Hardcover)
Galland was a key figure in the German fighter arm from its inception to the very end. It is no surprise therefore that this is a must read for anybody interested in the air war on the western front. It is also an interesting commentary on the inadequacies of the German war effort and the hierarchy.

The frustration Galland felt at what could have been done better is the recurrent theme. Perhaps it's just as well he wasn't listened to more for Galland was a talented pilot and clear headed commander who made many sensible deductions from his experience, which could have cost the allies dearly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To many printing errors., 12 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The First And The Last (Paperback)
OK i know this is a copy of an out of print book, but it has several printing errors in every Chapter .
It looks like the original book was copied using OCR scanning & no one bothered to proof read it
Still an interesting story.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very dry account from a very interesting character, 25 Feb. 2010
By 
Siko (Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: First and the Last (Hardcover)
This is a decent book, but it left me disappointed more than possibly any book I can recall.

Galland was one of the foremost aces of the Luftwaffe and one of it's most promising officers, rising in rank quickly through the war. He was obviously one of life's characters, for eg flying his Me109 with a cigar on was normal for him, but his character doesn't really shine through as strongly as perhaps it should in this book.

As a personal account of the war in the air it is incredibly dry and as a book it concentrates much more on the strategic and tactical side of things - perhaps because Galland was promoted so quickly that became his focus. However, he gained a massive amount of aerial victories and also flew the Me262 fighter at the end of the war, so you would assume that he would go into more detail about the flying side of things, but sadly no.

To be honest I learnt a massive amount from this book, but I didn't enjoy it and couldn't wait to finish it off and pickup something more interesting instead.

There are better autobiographical accounts out there and there are better accounts on the strategic/tactical operations of the Luftwaffe, this book, in my opinion, tries to combine both and fails.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super book and read!, 21 Dec. 2014
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Terrific read! I remember watching and listening to Adolf Galland on the telly series "The World at War" - he looked just like my GP at the time! I recall much that he said made a great deal of sense, and gave an excellent peek into the workings of the Luftwaffe during WWII.
Thus, having espied this item during a trawl for some new Kindle reading material...only just over £1 for heavens sake...I couldn't resist the temptation to download and read it instantly. It is not a long tome, and I finished it last night propped up in bed with the other half dead to the world. It's a very easy and very interesting read...and it reeks of honesty in all the areas he covers. Of course, Galland is most famous for answering Goering re what he would like to help with fighter operations against us English, by replying "a squadron of spitfires"! Priceless! Strangely, Hermann was not impressed?
What also comes across very strongly from Galland's reminiscences is his wholehearted admiration for us English, and the way we defended our island against the Nazi's. What struck me the most was how different matters would have been had Galland and his great friend Molders been in charge of fighter operations for the Luftwaffe - indeed, hard to see how we possibly could have won the battle of Britain. Highly recommended.
Galland was a true character as well as being a superb fighter pilot, and if you are at all interested in this subject and the man himself, I can heartily recommend this book. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A short but useful book, 31 Oct. 2014
By 
K McCarthy - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The First And The Last (Paperback)
The publisher should be ashamed of itself. There are basic errors littered on every page - no exaggeration - that a five year old could correct in proofing. The paperback I bought was A4 sized and the book isn't exactly bursting with content, though that isn't Galland's fault.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and his accounts of discussions with senior Nazi figures (including Goering and Hitler) and his comments regarding their strateg, 20 Nov. 2014
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An absorbing account of the aerial campaigns of the second world war, seen from a German perspective. The author, a genuine air ace with a wealth of flying experience, served both as front-line pilot and high-level commander, and his accounts of discussions with senior Nazi figures (including Goering and Hitler) and his comments regarding their strategic failures are of great interest. One can only be grateful that Adolf Hitler, and not Adolf Galland, was the supreme commander of the German armed forces.
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The First And The Last
The First And The Last by Adolf Galland (Paperback - 9 Feb. 2012)
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