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Bomber: Events Relating to the Last Flight of an RAF Bomber Over Germany on the Night of June 31st, 1943 by [Deighton, Len]
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Bomber: Events Relating to the Last Flight of an RAF Bomber Over Germany on the Night of June 31st, 1943 Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Length: 549 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

‘A massively different novel… the effect is – quite literally – devastating’ Sunday Times

‘A massive and superbly mobilised tragedy of the machines which men make to destroy themselves. Masterly and by far Mr Deighton’s best’. Douglas Hurd, The Spectator

‘A magnificent story… the characters lean out of the pages’ Daily Mirror

‘For sheer readability he has no peer’
The Standard

'The magnificent Bomber is rich with historical detail' The Times

Review

'A massively different novel... the effect is - quite literally - devastating, Sunday Times 'A massive and superbly mobilised tragedy of the machines which men make to destroy themselves. Masterly and by far Mr Deighton,s best,. Douglas Hurd, The Spectator 'A magnificent story... the characters lean out of the pages, Daily Mirror 'For sheer readability he has no peer, The Standard 'The magnificent Bomber is rich with historical detail' The Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1774 KB
  • Print Length: 549 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (15 Oct. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TU1Q3Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,011 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kingsley Amis called this one of the best ten books of the 20th century, and I'm not going to argue. Deighton normally writes agreeable spy and war fiction, but this is on a higher plane (no pun intended). The story of Creaking Door, Joe for King, The Volkswagen and all the other Lancasters flying out of Warley Fen seems to have tapped a deep root of emotion in Deighton, leading him to write a book that for sheer emotional engagement has few parallels. He writes above himself consistently, making the characters live - and die - for you in a way few if any writers could equal. The story is by turns amusing, interesting, and in the end horrifying. I find it hard to believe that anyone could read this without being deeply moved. If Deighton could write like this all the time, he would be acclaimed as one of the greatest novelists of the age; he never reaches such heights in any other work, but I for one am glad he did it once.

The audiobook of the 1995 BBC radio adaptation is (if possible) even better, being quite simply one of the finest examples of radio drama ever produced; Deighton's powerful story is interwoven with comments from real veterans of the bombing campaign (British and German) and the terrific acting, incredible atmosphere and superb adaptation combine into a solid gold masterpiece. Buy both book and CD, and enhance the quality of your library.
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Format: Paperback
Len Deighton's "Bomber" is a searing anti-war novel and his own views about the futility and pointlessness of the Allied air raids against Germany (the Luftwaffe having proved in 1940/41 that such tactics don't succeed in destroying morale) are clearly reflected here. The novel features many diverse and fascinating characters, some of whom the reader comes to care about deeply. There is one passage in particular which describes in dreadful, horrible, stark detail the unravelling, unstoppable complexities that occur as a German nightfighter stalks and shoots down a Lancaster bomber, down to the moment the stricken aircraft and its dying pilot hit the ground - a piece of modern literature that every politician should be made to read before making any kind of decision commiting nations to war. Truly a classic novel.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Len Deighton writes a book, he indulges in such a high degree of research that the reader of his novels becomes quite certain that he participated in the events he depicts.
In "Bomber" he surpasses himself: in the detail (often horrific), characterisation (they aren't heroes but they are - a contradiction?), the inanities of war and by providing a real sense of period. He's really written a dramatised documentary - what TV producers would now call "faction" but it's a very powerful method of evoking the real drama inherent in the subject.
And it can become addictive too - as he states in the Epilogue to the book, don't stand on a desolate runway on a long deserted former RAF bomber base in East Anglia and expect not to be moved. He was moved enough to write this excellent work.
It really stands best as a testimonial to the bravery and persistence of the RAF Bomber crews and the fortitude of their victims, the German populace. The RAF Bomber crews facing the worst survivability odds of any Service in WW2 (50% loss rate of aircrew) yet still continued to "Do their duty" - knowing that if they didn't they would be branded as having "Lack of Moral Fibre" (LMF) anyway. The German populace (no stereotypes here) who, like their British "Blitzed" counterparts, stoically enduring the pain and misery and terrifying cacophony of an RAF Bombing raid.
You don't so much read the book as immerse yourself in the characters and events, alternating between the stance of the bomber and the bombed, developing their fates and fortunes.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
How truly delighted I am to see another reviewer's reference to Kingsley Amis supposedly having considered this to be one of the ten best books of the 20th Century. To this accolade can be added Anthony Burgess's opinion of it being amongst the finest 99 books written in the English language since 1939. After that, anything I can contribute will be of little consequence I suspect. But this is a book like no other so I'm going to weigh in.

Five hundred pages, around one hundred characters and set within a single day and night, Deighton has pulled off an impossible feat. Further, I would boldly venture that this book should become the definitive work of reference about the British bombing campaign; the author, after all, claims to have read more than two hundred books in order to have written this one. On the one hand, the detail is mind-boggling in its rigour, whether it be the exact cost of a Lancaster bomber, the colour of the dashboard lights on a German night fighter or the arrangement of sewage pipes in a German town. On the other hand, the experience and reaction of ordinary townspeople to being bombed by seven hundred aircraft will surely never again be portrayed in all of its forensic horror like Deighton has done here. What makes Deighton unique, though, is his being a single voice in describing both sides of the story. It's probably impossible to remember all one hundred characters but one comes to care a great deal for almost all of them, whether British or German.

And so for me, above all else, this magnificent novel gave me startling new insights into my own qualities of compassion and humanity, ones that perhaps I didn't really expect to experience within the confines of a novel about a vicious and savage war.
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