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Inferno: The Fiery Destruction of Hamburg, 1943 Hardcover – 5 Jun 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company (5 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743269004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743269001
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,464,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Was the destruction of Hamburg an Allied war crime or the moment when ordinary Germans realized that they couldn't win the struggle except at prohibitive cost? Or was it perhaps both? Keith Lowe's admirably objective book allows you to make your own judgment on the only criterion that counts: what Total War really meant at the time."

-- Andrew Roberts, author of "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900"

"This is a brilliant book with a skillful mix of eyewitness accounts and deeply researched narrative. The appalling stories of German civilians caught in the Hamburg firestorm are balanced with the equally mind-numbing experiences of the RAF, USAAF, and Luftwaffe aircrews who battled in the skies over Europe by day and night."

-- Major General Julian Thompson

"If anyone still believes that war is a glamorous business, they should read this brilliantly researched book. The author has produced many new firsthand accounts, which give a human face to a tale of epic destruction."

-- Paul Callan, "Daily Express" (London)

"Facts and figures cannot do justice to the sheer horror of what happened to Hamburg in July 1943. But Keith Lowe's admirable book, which is impeccably researched and engagingly written, is full of moving little details and stories. A thoroughly engaging and sobering book. There are rather too many military histories of the Second World War, but this one deserves its place on the shelves."

-- Dominic Sandbrook, "The Daily Telegraph" (London)

"Not since Len Deighton's classic Bomber has there been a book which re-created with such objectivity both sides of the story, or which painted in such vivid detail the destruction of a city, and the sufferings of those who lived there, and those British and American young men who put their lives at risk to destroy it."

-- Michael Korda, author of "Ulysses S. Grant" and "Journey to a Revolution"

"A grim and timely reminder of the terrible cost of war, Inferno is a brilliantly told story of the destruction of Hamburg by the Allies in 1943 by a talented new author. Keith Lowe writes compassionately of death, agony, courage, and survival in the hell of a doomed city. Highly recommended."

-- Carlo D'Este, author of "Decision in Normandy" and "Eisenhower"

"A real triumph: shocking, yet sensitive and supremely fair-minded. This is a wonderful book about hellish events."

-- Richard Holmes, author of "Acts of War" and editor of "The Oxford Companion to Military History" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Keith Lowe is an editor in the United Kingdom and the author of Tunnel Vision. He lives in London. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having just finished reading Keith Lowe's book on the bombing of Hamburg in 1943 I felt I should say something about this book - it's horrific - not the book but the story. This is a book that should be read by anyone who has an interest in military history and who needs the occasional reminder about how terrible war really is. I sometimes tend not to see or forget that war means dying in some of the worst possible ways, its not all glory and great stories, its death in its most terrible form for many.

The beauty of this book is that the author tells the story of those subjected to the allied bombing campaign against Hamburg in 1943 along with those doing the bombing. It offers the story of those civilians on the ground that were caught in the terrible firestorm that became Hamburg in 1943. It also offers the accounts of those who caused this terrible event and what they went through to do the job that they were ordered to do. The casualties suffered by RAF Bomber Command were horrendous as was the casualty rate for the USAAF who conducted the daytime raids against the city.

The author presents the stories of all those involved; German and allies, civilian and servicemen and he does not put forth an agenda or try to present one as good and the other as bad, he just tells the story and leaves it to you, the reader, to reach your own conclusions. Some of the accounts in the book are terrible, especially when they involve children and the photographs used by the author to illustrate the effects of the firestorm do make you sit back and think. For example here are two separate accounts of the second RAF Bomber Command mission to Hamburg in 1943 and the affects of the intense fire on the road asphalt:

" ....
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great condition and unreal cost
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fairly good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real eye opener 22 Oct. 2016
By gooneybird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was an eye opener for me because I never really knew what went on during that fateful week in July of 1943. I was born and raised in Hamburg and was not quite four years old at that time, too young to remember many details. Bits and pieces come to mind from that time, or any other time during the war, like sirens screaming, bombs falling, running to the bunker with my mother, or lying in a ditch by the side of the road with bombers flying low overhead. And then there were all the bombed-out houses and mountains of rubble everywhere. But most of all I remember how terrified my mother was. I myself had no idea at the time what it all meant or what life-threatening events were taking place. To me it was normal because it was all I knew. In May of 1945 I asked my mother: "What is peace?"
I found this book very fascinating to read, even with its graphic details, but what I like most about it is that the author describes events from both sides of the enemy lines, so to speak.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done account of another of mankind's terrible bad deeds 2 April 2014
By Phil Parish - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this book because of its connection to two people: my father-in-law who was born there, and a golfing friend, also born in Hamburg, who became an atheist because of what he experienced there during WW II. ("No god would ever let such a terrible thing happen.")
Well-researched with a flowing narrative, this thoughtful account of how and why the RAF and USAAF destroyed Hamburg-with vivid accounts, including interviews with survivors/victims, of the effects of their bombing raids on the lives of the people of Hamburg. Complete with maps, charts and other relevant data.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Factual and impartial account 21 Feb. 2016
By Thomas C. Knueppel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding, well researched book that shines a light on a little understood and unknown event in WW2. I am a former "Hamburger" and well understand the authors descriptions and research. Highly recommended for those who want to gain a better understanding of the horrors of WW 2.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best single volume on WWII Strategic Bombing 14 Jan. 2015
By sgt_maddog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very fair and balanced view of both sides of the Strategic Bombing issue all condensed within a very poignant and detailed analysis of a single series of raids--one of the most devastating in terms of human life lost. This is the one volume I would chose as an discussion starter on WWII Strategic Bombing, or for that matter aerial warfare in general. Superb!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and well written 5 Sept. 2016
By Tatyana71 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent and well written, with a thorough presentation of the facts. Usually it's a chore to read books like this. Not this one. I couldn't put it down. Especially riveting were the accounts of those who actually experienced it, both on the ground and in the air. Anyone interested in military history or World War II should read this.
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