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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 18 June 2010
I am an avid reader of all kinds of memoirs and biographies of aircrew from world war 2...none take away the bravery and skill of those involved but most become a bit of a chronological diary ...accurately describing technical details and actual course of events but missing out on the real interest.....that of the feelings and mindset of those involved....('First light' by Geoff Wellum and 'No Moon Tonight' by Don Charlwood are two notable exceptions....absolutely fantastic accounts of personal feelings before battle, the fight itself, and then the aftemath, all interwoven with real life during a time of war and written in a way that really brings the reader into the story!)

This book however delivers none of the is a thinly veilled account of the Authors opposition to the Bombing strategy of Arthur Harris.

It constantly refers to failings of individual raids, painstakingly pointing out numbers of both RAF and German lives lost , but fails to acknowlege some of the huge successes, both strategically, and morally that the campaign achieved during these years. It is interspersed with second hand accounts of what 2 of the aircrew involved were feeling and doing at the time and supported with a few particularly boring and unrepresentative photos.

Obviously Its only right for everyone to have their own opinions on the rights and wrongs of the bomber war in WW2 but please dont push them in a book that claims to be a first hand account from 7 brave men who survived 50 missions.
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on 15 May 2011
Having an interest in Bomber Command (my own Uncle was killed flying a Wellington in 1942, 2 days before his 21st birthday) I have read many books on this subject. Generally (with the exception of Martin Middlebrooke's excellent works which are in a category of their own), they fall into one of two categories; autobiographical and based on diaries written at the time or biographical and based solely on a crew members log book.
The first category often manage to portray the real feelings and emotions of life on a bomber base where every member of an operational crew knew the odds were stacked against their survival. Harry Yates's Luck and a Lancaster, Jack Currie's Lancaster Target and Mosquito Victory, Don Charlwood's No Moon Tonight and Pip Beck's Keeping Watch are all excellent examples.
The Second category is often little short of a list of operations padded out with generic, and often irrellevent information. Sadly this book falls into the second category. It's 336 pages long but you get to page 177 before they take off for their first raid which, incidently, is covered in 3 short pages. Large parts of the first half of the book describe life on a farm in the 1920's & 30's interspersed with a potted history of Bomber Command and Arthur Harris. There is little in the way of emotion and no sense of the fear, exhilaration, relief etc captured in other books covering this subject.
There is no doubt that the members of this crew were extremely brave and exceptional young men who we all owe a great debt to, as well as the 55,573 who failed to return, unfortunately this book fails to do them justice
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on 5 October 2010
This is an interesting but not inspiring book, it reads more like a diary but it does give an indication of the risks and dangers faced by WW2 bomber crews.
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on 21 March 2011
This is a very disappointing book without any evident passion for, understanding, or knowledge of the subject. There are numerous misleading and incorrect statements - For example on page 21 why state [of the USAF] '. . .their big B-17 and B-26 bombers had started to launch daylight raids . . .' The B-26 Marauder wasn't a 'big' bomber or that widely used. Does he mean B-24 Liberator? Further on the same page he confidently asserts that the main wheels of a Lancaster ' . . .could not be seen from the pilot's seat'. In fact the pilot has a good view of the port wheel and the Flight Engineer has a good view of the starboard one. On page 177 we are told that a Lancaster has a take off speed of 100mph. Why so precise? - it was anything between 95 and 105mph depending upon load. On page 185 the author tells us that the Lancaster was capable of '. . . reaching 17,000 feet'. Wrong. The service ceiing was 24,500 feet.

Quotes from the crew who form the thread of this book are interspersed with a commentary written in the style of a school play narrative and poorly researched. The brave and incredibly lucky crew of C- Charlie deserved better than this.

A much better read is Men of Air by Kevin Wilson or Bomber Boys by Thomas Bloor
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on 5 January 2011
Given that only 25% of air crew survived a full tour of duty and that 55000 of them lost their lives,it is a miracle that this crew actually survived for 50 missions.The author intertwines recollections of crew members with details of the raids and information on the technical war.Now given that the air Battle of Berlin was effectively lost by Bomber harris there is no getting away from the fact that at times this is going to make for grim reading.I dont believe that the author is particularly anti Bomber harris but unfortunately the facts do speak for themselves,so maybe if you find that a bit unpalatable then it might be better to avoid this book.In any event as the author points out in conclusion bombing did end the war,only in Japan.One wonders what might have been the case if this country had an A bomb in 1945.Would Harris wanted to have used it on Berlin?What would Churchill have done?I found this book to be interesting although it does not rise above the considerable amount of other books written on the same subject.
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on 27 July 2013
I have, since reeading Fighter Pilot by Paul Richey, had a fascination with amy book to do with WW2 and it's aerial componet.
I bought this book and was not displeased. I read it in three days and will hapilly read it again. My Dad is now reading it and is enjoying it just as much.
Mike Rossiter mixes the story of one of the valiant crews who fought in the bombers over the course of the war with information and the goings on of the war; it's policts and tactics. He gets this mix perfect!
Definitely recommend.
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on 3 September 2011
I loved this book - mainly because it features my father who was part of the crew Mike Rossiter has written about. There were a couple of errors in the book which is very understandable - memories dim and points of view differ - but even without the personal interest, this was a cracking read
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on 23 April 2013
Purchased for my Dad on Kindle, he had a stroke so perfect for him and he seems to be enjoying the book
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on 29 October 2014
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