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4.3 out of 5 stars
12
4.3 out of 5 stars
Lancaster: The Biography
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:£4.74


on 6 January 2010
This is one of the most recent books about the Lancaster bomber and its history, and uses material contributed by one of the brave men who actually flew it over Germany, one of the skilful and lucky few who survived the whole war and is still here to tell the tale today.

Much of the material has been covered before in other books by other authors, but this 2009 book pulls together a central theme of the plane, its environment, and the people who made it work so successfully. It was definitely a product of its time, and without it, the Allies would probably have lost the war. The same could be said of several other key ingredients, the Hurricane, the Spitfire, the Mosquito, all perfect tools for their specific jobs. The book also shows how the Lancaster was almost never made, and draws some parallels with the Spitfire which also had a fortuitous beginning dependant on the actions of just a few individuals.

I found this a fascinating Christmas read, and unlike some books I have bought recently, this gift kept me between its covers from beginning to end. It was scary to think that the life expectancy of bomber crew was less than twenty missions, while a tour of duty was thirty. Tony Iveson began the war in Spitfires and ended it in Lancasters. I have the greatest respect for someone who went into action so many times with the expectation that each trip might be his last. A true hero.

I found the layout of the book a bit confusing and the sequence was less than obvious, but having re-read it I can see why it was done - it makes it clear why the inauspicious beginnings were so significant and what a miracle it was that the plane was ever built at all, and yet still holds the reader's attention.

Other reviewers have said there is nothing new here. That may be so, especially after all this time, but this story is well told, and definitely worth a read.

A couple of other books I've read recently that can add some context to it are Pierre Clostermann's Big Show and Johnnie Johnson's Wing Leader.
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on 6 April 2010
An excellent book that was bought for my father.
He has informed that the book is very good and has some interesting facts, he cannot put it down
My mother also thinks the book is good as it is keeping my father quiet.
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on 17 June 2013
Excellent informative literature.

A great learning tool as well as historical evidence.

Very thankful for those that survived and wrote these accounts.
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on 20 January 2014
A most interesting book. Detailed description of aircraft's origins and going on to review development after the war . An excellent book.
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on 26 December 2011
This book doesn't quite know what it wants to be. It attempts to be a parallel biography of one of the authors (Tony Iveson - formerly of 617 Squadron) and of the Lancaster itself, but for the most part it disappoints in both departments. As a scholarly and balanced treatise on the strategic bombing campaign in general, and the technical development of the Lancaster in particular, it is too superficial and too partisan to add anything of great value to the existing body of knowledge. As an insightful personal biography of a real-life RAF bomber pilot it falls short of giving us much more than some (genuinely) interesting anecdotes. Other authors have done it better (e.g. Jack Currie). Quoting verbatim from VC citations becomes rather tedious - the stuffy official language tends to detract from these extraordinary tales of bravery and self-sacrifice. The stories could be much better told if the citations were used as a source rather than just reproduced verbatim. Likewise, not all the cut-and-paste testimonies from various "Last Witnesses" are very interesting or enlightening.

Today there are many, often extreme, views about Arthur "Bomber" Harris and the Allied strategic bombing campaign of WW2, but Iveson is clearly (and perhaps understandably) a loyal fan. He is completely entitled to that opinion, but he fails to argue his case, beyond the bald assertion that there was no alternative. It is a viewpoint that has already been expressed many times - and rather better - by many earlier authors, including Harris himself. There is no real attempt to address the accusations of war crime and genocide that the strategic bombing campaign still attracts.

There was the potential for a very good book here, but for anyone who knows a little (or a lot!) about the subject it does not add much to the existing body of knowledge.
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on 24 July 2015
An excellent book by someone who was involved in the sinking of the Tirpitz. Would liked to have seen rather more images but perhaps I am being over fussy as I say previously I enjoyed the book very much.
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on 7 June 2009
For anyone who has read the history of bomber command this book adds very little. The pages are filled with citations for the Victoria cross which are simply copied and seem to be used to fill the book in lieu of the main subject, the lancaster bomber. The sections on German defences are interesting and covered new ground for me. However, I was disappointed by a book that I felt would be of interest to me.
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on 22 May 2016
I thought just another book on the Lancaster but I was wrong as this book kept my attention from cover to cover.
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on 15 December 2014
good price,
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on 23 August 2009
An excellent book with many harrowing accounts of the progress and development of the Lancaster Bomber, without which the outcome of the Second World War may well have been very diferent.
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