Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A day which shaped the course of history., 8 Oct 2002
This review is from: The Hardest Day: Battle of Britain, 18 August 1940 (Cassell Military Paperbacks) (Paperback)
This is Dr Alfred Price's masterwork on the Battle of Britain. Now more than twenty years old, the book retains it's vitality and is as easy to read and understand as any book on the subject could possibly be. For the uninitiated, the Battle of Britain is the most pivotal air campaign in history. For approximately ten weeks in 1940, the fate of Britain depended entirely on the Royal Air Force. With her army almost destroyed at Dunkirque, her allies in Europe defeated, Britain stood alone. German raids on RAF airfields almost crippled her ability to defend herself but with the tactics used by Air Chief-Marshall Dowding and Air Vice-Marshall Park, as well as a primitive form of radar (a British invention), a handfull of incredibly brave pilots saved the island nation from invasion.
The book covers a single day; 18th August, 1940, in an easy-to-read narrative style with lucid observations by the people who were actually there. Civilians, Police officers, Telephone linesmen, RAF plotters and fighter pilots, as well as many of the combatants from the Luftwaffe, are quoted freely and eloquently without any apparent break in the pace of the book. The author's exhaustive research was indeed well timed as many of those people are no longer around to give their version of events and Dr Price gives us a good insight into just how this book came to be written in the first place. Unlike many similar books, this one does not get bogged down in detail, nor does it use overly-long quotes from the participants which could distract the reader. It seems to have been the first of it's kind in this regard and remains much-imitated but yet to be matched.
The mere fact that he was able to get so many people from both sides, including several who actually faced each other that day and who subsequently became friends, gives this book a human touch which will give it unique appeal even to those who may not be specifically interested in military history. This book is an absolute gem. If the subject is your thing then don't miss it.
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