Top critical review
More about 'Why German authors didn't document the bombing of their country than what actually happened on the ground'
on 30 December 2014
This book is interesting in that whilst it is well written, it is more a work of philosophy than of the human suffering endured in Germany by those under attack. Chapter 1 describes in the evolution of the US and British heavy bombing of Germany, the former by day and the latter by night. The methods adopted by these two air forces and the moral imperatives guiding them are described in a superficial manner. The remaining part of the book is more of a philosophical treatise on the reasons behind the almost total lack of a written record of this disastrous human story from any German literary authority. Try looking for a first-hand account of this bombing campaign from a German author and you will find very little and most of that is not available in English. Sebald offers very little by way of insight into the unspeakable suffering of the civilian population but where it does it is very graphic and troubling. The book does demonstrate very clearly how humans can be induced to inflict massive trauma on others from distance which would be impossible were they to be required to perform the same acts at close quarters. By the end I felt I knew very little more than when I began.