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4.3 out of 5 stars46
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 14 October 2013
This is a deeply impressive novel. There is no "war is hell" angst; there are no wacky characters doing improbable things; there are no dollops of modern political correctness; instead there is the story of ordinary men - men made extraordinary by their having being pitched into the most terrible and prolonged aerial campaign in history, and simply getting on with the job. The author succeeds brilliantly in depicting the thoughts and feelings of his cast of characters, both men and women, and throughout the narrative the research he has carried out shines through. There is a high level of historical and technical accuracy, with the reader being placed firmly in the crew positions of "647 Squadron's" Lancaster bombers throughout the operational period recounted; the Battle of Berlin that took place between the autumn of 1943 and the winter of 1944. The balance between philosophy and action is well-maintained throughout, and I cannot see anyone who has an interest in the experiences of the men of Bomber Command being disappointed in this book.
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A good read. Story is about a bomber command pilot, the raids, the airfield, the love lives 3 or 4 of the people based in and around the airfield as well as glimpses of the life of the village near the airfield. It's also a story about how pressure can affect people and the day to day decisions they make.

I don't know if it's in any way accurate, I once knew a bomb aimer who'd been to the Big City several times and although he would cheerfully show me raid photo's and talk a little about the people he had flown with I rather got the impression that no matter how a bomber raid was talked about I'd never really know what it was like. There is one scene in the book told around a dead rear gunner getting taken out of his turret, that rang true because one of my uncles was a rear gunner on Lancasters during the war and that was about the only "story' I ever got out of him, the use of hose pipes.

The book is an enjoyable read and I was sorry when I turned the last page, in part it reads a bit like Nevil Shute's Pastoral and in parts is similar to Dirk Bogarde's 1953 film "Appointment in London". I'm not for one minute suggesting that the author has `pinched' anything from either but that this book is about the same subject and has the same style. If you enjoyed either, or both, of those I'd be really surprised if you didn't enjoy this.

Some 12110 `pages' on my iPad, in the main it's very well formatted, I only came upon half a dozen or so occasions where a word had been left out or repeated.
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on 9 August 2014
I have read a great many books about the Bomber War and the part played by RAF Bomber Command, most of them factual historical accounts of the campaign.
'Until the Night' is a noveI and none the less worse for it.
Personally I would say that it ranks alongside Len Deighton's fictional masterpiece, 'Bomber'.
But whereas 'Bomber' was an in depth account of a raid against a target in Germany, seen from all aspects of the British attack and the German defence; 'Until the night' deals solely, but at length with the RAF bombing campaign against Germany's cities, culminating with the great raids of the Battle of Berlin.
James Philip has plainly studied his subject, and the amount of detail in the story is astonishing. Although it is not the case, one could almost believe that he writes from personal experience. In a matter of fact way he describes the minutiae of flying a Lancaster bomber on operations, and the experience of working and living on an operational RAF Bomber Command station during the traumatic winter months of 1943 and into 1944 when the bomber war at it's most deadly; for all concerned.
The dis-spiriting feeling engendered of the inevitability of death that the young aircrews and those around them suffered at this time is brought home forcefully to the reader.
A great novel.
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on 30 June 2014
This is one of the finest, if not the finest, book of fiction I have ever read about life, and death, in RAF Bomber Command. It follows the fictional characters through the whole gambit of the bomber war from the early days of 1939 through to 1945. The author has a very clear understanding of his subject and he mixes the technical aspects of flying a Lancaster very skilfully into the story. The author also paints a very vivid picture of routine on a bomber station; the preparations prior to each operation, the operational briefings and the thousand and one other sundry details required to mount an operation.
This is an outstanding read and very highly recommended for all who have a fascination with bomber command. The characters are all well drawn and believable. All in all , I could not put the book down. Well done to the author and thank you for giving me such enjoyment.
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on 12 August 2014
This book is a great read, if you are a Lancaster fan. Although it is fiction it is based on historical facts with very human interests interwoven into it.
I was unable to put it down and spent too many hours late at night and early morning reading it when I should have been asleep.

Excellent from page 1 to the last.
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on 14 September 2014
Just finished reading this book over a weekend and I have to say that it was an absolute pleasure. I went through RAF Navigator training in the late '60s and I know that the basics hadn't changed much from what Bomber Command navigators went through. We learned DR, airplot, astro (sun and star shots) - even still used Gee. I went on to fly four-engined 'Heavies' and often thought that if I had been born 30 years earlier I would probably ended up as a Lancaster navigator, and would probably have died as one.

I thus found it very easy to relate to the characters and the awful circumstances that they had to live through. The author was very good at describing how crews coped with losses and their own short life expectancy - basically a combination of ignoring the fate of others and believing in one's own invincibility. This could lead us now to believe that they were callous, but I think that this attitude was the only way to get through and keep your sanity.

All-round an excellent read. If you get emotional make sure you've got a box of tissues with you.
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on 25 October 2014
As someone with the utmost respect for Bomber Command, I loved this story.
The characters are well thought out and drawn and the technical aspects of the story are well researched without dominating the narrative. This is NOT a book about aircraft and bombs; it is a story of the dreadful task allocated to Bomber Command and the peerless men who stepped forward to carry out the tasks. I am a keen reader of factual aircrew accounts and for me this was as good. You get a real feeling for the varied protagonists and become invested in their stories.
As an aside I also enjoyed the descriptions of 1940's life and technology.
On a minor negative note there are several spelling and grammatical mistakes but as you read you know what the author was trying to say. Suffice to say these tiny errors in no way put me giving this 5 stars as overall it is a rattling good read and I recommend it highly to anyone who likes a good
story well told.
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on 25 June 2015
A gripping account of life and death on a Lancaster squadron in the grim autumn and winter of 1943-44. The author has accurately captured the moment of the toughest period in Bomber Command's wartime history and told it, refreshingly, from a 1 Group perspective, whose exploits are often overshadowed by those of neighbouring 5 Group. The characters, both RAF and civilian, are well drawn and don't rely too heavily on stereotypes and the action sequences are, just as they were at the time, swift and brutal. It is also largely historically accurate although I would take issue with the author on a couple of points - conversion flights on 1 Group Lancaster squadrons were phased out very early in 1943 and there was only briefly ever one Bomber Command OTU in Lincolnshire. Minor points that didn't spoil a thoroughly good and sobering read.
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on 7 December 2013
This is a truly great book, I was most impressed one or two typing eras but still excellent, as good as that great book by Len Daighton 'Bomber' I think this writer will become a top seller.
Cannot wait for another book in the same vain.
Thanks Gary Dover.
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on 4 March 2014
The basic story is a good account of life in Bomber Command at the height of the Battle of Berlin. The story quite cleverly weaves several characters through the story, linking them with the common bond of aircrew (and their families and friends) living at a time when life expectancy was measured in days and weeks rather than months and years. Three are a number of errors in the story, in nomenclature and in typographical form, but, setting these aside, it is a book that I would recommend to others who enjoy this genre of novel. It tackles some of the moral issues of the mass bombing of Germany without appearing to take sides. It presents the arguments almost in passing, in conversations between the characters, without making judgements.
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