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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

on 28 August 2006
To attempt a new approach to the Bomber Command saga after the publication of some 600 previous chronicles must have appeared somewhat daunting. Mark Connelly has however produced a clear, concise and impartial history of Bomber Command without the bias he alludes to and may have felt at the onset of the book.

He has shown a remarkable insight into wartime Britain, its attitudes from despair to desire for requital, which provided the stimulus necessary for Bomber Command to operate and continue to carry on in spite of appalling casualties.

I suspect that Connelly carries a grudging admiration for those crews who have been denied a share of honour and recognition, while rebuking those who have attempted to absolve themselves from any involvment.It is perhaps a reproach to those so-called 'historians' who would mar their epitaphs from the safety of armchairs thereby denying the acts of relentess courage and heroism performed before they were born , something beyond their comprehension.

A worthy addition to any Bomber Command library
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on 21 July 2002
Mr. Connelly gives us a succinct and flowing account of the youthful Bomber Command from its inception through its tough adolescence in WWII. He approaches this history with a light but detectable bias in favour of the aircrew, and their senior commanders, who were struggling with inadequate technology and untried tactics to prove new military concepts. Mr. Connelly does not shy from the moral issues of bombing civilians, and quotes extensively from contemporary critics of area bombing. I think he is quite right, though, to set this in the wider context of the overall war effort.
One of the great strengths of Connelly's book is his ability to engage us with specific detail whilst keeping the big strategic picture in the reader's view. His writing has a strong narrative drive which carries the reader along in an almost novel-like way. Nor is the work overloaded with the typical apparatus of professional histories: we are thankfully spared both tedious tables of statistics and technical aircraft specifications.
The intention is not to explore the characters of 'Bomber' Harris or the other personalities: for that, the reader has recourse to many in-depth biographies (amply signalled in the bibliography).
The only quibble I had was that Mr. Connelly's wayward use of punctuation, particularly his universal adoption of the comma where the colon or semi-colon were required, should have been bombed away by his editor.

What comes through this work is the sheer bravery of individual airmen fighting a new war against a backdrop of shifting priorities and changing leadership. The moral debate about saturation bombing needs to be heard, but Mr. Connelly does us all a service by placing it within the wider framework of a total war against a remorselessly aggressive foe.
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on 26 April 2014
A very different book from the usual polarised views about this subject. A very worthwhile read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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