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The Few: The American Knights of the Air Who Risked Everything to Save Britain in the Summer of 1940 Paperback – 7 Aug 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press Inc; Reprint edition (7 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306815729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306815720
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 703,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A powerful reminder of the human cost of war."

"The true story that inspired Saving Private Ryan."

"A moving story of uncommon valor." -- James Bradley

"A heroic, inspiring story that deserves to be told."

"Few books describe the costs of war so soberly and so vividly."

"The poignant story of twenty-one young men... who died in the D-Day invasion."

About the Author

Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling books The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter, and The Few, and two biographies: Jack London and Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kershaw, Alex: The Few. The American "Knights of the Air" Who Risked Everything to Fight in the Battle of Britain review

As historian you are working on book for years constantly correcting yourself by editing and adding new primary and secondary sources, by cross-checking every detail and then you see someone like Mr. Alex Kershaw, who is making a lot of money by copy and paste 75 years old propaganda pamflets. Very sad.

I was wondering how could anybody without corrections and without proper research use war pamflets like Eugene Tobin: Yankee Eagle over London, Liberty Magazine, 29 March 1941 and 5 April 1941, Hector Bolitho: Yanks over England, 2 March 1941 and Tally-Ho! Yankea in a Spitfire, 1943. As I see, you could, but results are like Kershaw's, unfortunately. Stories from airfield near Tours during French campaign are unproven and definitely nonsence. French soldiers killed two Czech pilots when the are running towards Potez 63? Po 63 is shooting down Ju 87 above airfield and Stuka is crashing in front of their eyes? No, this did not happened! There are even no dates of those situations and if they are some, you could find out that story is completely incorrect!
In book you can find references of Stephen Bungay: The Most Dangerous Enemy. Yes, this was bestseller, but my personal copy is full of "incorrect" notes. Book is filled with misleading and inaccurate statements. They are like hunderts of them. Why? Because Stephen Bungay is not historian, but right wing manager. So, when I found this sentence in the book, I knew imediately who was author: "Britain had 48 squadrons of 754 Hurricanes and Spitfires [roughly 16 planes to a squadron] against the Luftwaffe's 1,464 fighter planes and 1,808 bombers." Yes, this was Bungay, p. 107.
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Format: MP3 CD
The book centres on five American pilots who volunteered for service to fly with the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, and is a useful addition to the vast number of books that have been published about this particular conflict.

Unfortunately, the book is bedevilled by factual inaccuracies which should have been corrected during editing/proof reading and which ultimately detract from the narrative.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Few" is Alex Kershaw's work on five Americans who defied their country's neutrality laws to fight in the RAF during the Battle of Britain. Sounds wonderful in summary but unfortunately the book has quite a number of flaws and (as others have already mentioned) inaccuracies. I ordered a copy from the USA as soon as it was published in 2006 as I have more than a passing interest in Billy Fiske (one of the Americans covered in "The Few") and have been collecting information on him for a number of years now. What I found with "The Few", at least with Fiske anyway, was a work which basically just rehashed all the information (both true and false) already published regarding Fiske from other books and magazine articles. There was no sign that the author had tried to do any deeper digging regarding research or uncover new unpublished facts regarding Fiske, which disappointed me hugely.

Saying that, the writing style is engaging and the book whips along when read. It is not the definitive work on Americans in the Battle of Britain and it is not entirely accurate in places, but I suppose it will do the job of encouraging readers who know little about the Battle of Britain and these men to want to find out more. In my opinion it is a shame that it could not have been more, both in accuracy, scope and research.
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Format: Hardcover
Very disapointing. A worthwhile subject written in an engaging style but ruined by many basic errors that should have been picked up by the editors and proof readers. The author's credibility is seriously damaged by the publication of a book containing so many elementary howlers.
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Format: Paperback
Sadly, this book reads like a "pot boiler". There are too many factual inaccuracies and repeated phrases - "the black Bakelite telephone" is a particular irritant. Nevertheless, the narrative is quite well constructed and it does flow.

However, from the standpoint of one who was around in 1940, I think the book has defined some of the debt we owe these Americans who, regardless of initial motivations ascribed to them by the author, served selflessly (and most of whom died) in the cause of a country not their own. Alex Kershaw may not have produced a literary triumph here but he succeeds in reminding us of the obligation we have towards these people and those like them. In that sense alone, the book is a worthwhile undertaking although, in my view, the personal contributions of these brave men deserve a chronicle better than this.
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By Mr. Pj Williams VINE VOICE on 6 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The narrative is excellent as well as the style of writing. you very quickly get swept along with the stories of the men of both sides. as far as the inaccuracies are concerned, I feel they dont take away from it. yes they could have been found with more in-depth editing but they are a minuscule part of the story, in fact they involve the periphery of it.

Kershaw gets the points across with professionalism and care for his subjects.
I recommend this to anyone interested as a starting point of the huge subject which is the battle of Britain. I look forward to reading more of his work

gave it for stars just to take into account the inaccuracy otherwise would defiantly been 5
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