With an introduction read by Max Hastings. Bomber Command's offensive against the cities of Germany was one of the epic campaigns of the Second World War.
More than 56,000 British and Commonwealth aircrew and 600,000 Germans died in the course of the RAF's attempt to win the war by bombing. The struggle began in 1939 with a few score primitive Whitleys, Hampdens and Wellingtons, and ended six years later with 1,600 Lancasters, Halifaxes, and Mosquitoes razing whole cities in a single night. Max Hastings traced the developments of area bombing using a wealth of documnets, letters, diaries, and interviews with key surviving witnesses. Bomber Command is his classic account of one of the most controversial struggles of the war. Max Hastings, author of over 20 books, has been editor of the Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard. He has received many awards for his journalism and was knighted in 2002.
©1979 Max Hastings (P)2014 Audible Studios
Iranians keep their nukes, Americans lose their insurance.
My favorite WWII book, second only to The Rise and Fall. I often fear getting into my car to hear the book, wondering what our poor lads will suffer tonight. And the most thoughtful and cogent analysis of area bombing you will EVER hear. I told my WWII POW father to NOT read this book. He will be right back there in the 15th AF flying over Poland and Hungary. Too real. Just awesome.
I tend to listen to each of my Audible purchases twice. Not this one, although I may do so in the future. It just isn't as comprehensive a book as Max Hastings' later works.
Barnaby Edwards' reading was excellent. I appreciated the second to last chapter, which detailed the experience of the Germans "under the bombs" (whereas the bulk of the book dealt with the British experience of the campaign).
To an American ear, his Churchill performance seemed spot on.
I had no extreme reaction to this book. The material verged on dryness a lot of the time. Hastings takes on a very strong British tone in this book. There's a slight air of detachment that persists throughout the telling. That's not to say the material isn't enlightening.
As an American brought up on tales of the air war over Europe, I realized that the breadth of my knowledge dealt with the American and German perspectives. I wanted to know what the British went through. I appreciated this book because it gave me exactly that: a British perspective on their area bombing campaign. I've gained plenty of knowledge on their campaign, and along with it, a new appreciation for what the British bomber crews went through in the night skies over Western Europe.
In this book, you spend a lot of time in the bombers with the crews, and an equal amount of time at the planning table with figures like Butch Harris. What you don't experience in great detail, however, is the experience of the Germans. Hastings does devote some time to explaining the German air defenses. He quotes the night fighter pilots on one or two occasions. The second to last chapter is devoted to the experience of the civilians on the ground at Darmstadt. However, I craved more--so much that I've actually bought a separate book on the Hamburg raid of 1943 to bolster what I feel is a gap in my knowledge.
The short is this: Bomber Command isn't as comprehensive as Max Hastings' later works, such as Nemesis and Inferno.
The vast majority of this book is from the British perspective--which makes complete sense, absolutely. I just felt that it bore mention that as I listened, I had a continuous urge to get out of the Lancasters, Sterlings, and Wellingtons. The voice and tone are also distinctly British, which isn't easy to explain, but as an American, I had trouble *feeling* the events that Hastings was recounting. There's a sort of divide between our cultures that other Americans will probably notice as they listen to this story. I don't enjoy saying this, but I couldn't bring myself to root for the British bomber crews in the same way that I do for the boys in the Fortresses and the Liberators.
If you, like me, are an American who's looking to expand his knowledge about the air war, this book is worth your time. You'll learn a lot. Just be prepared to know the British side--don't expect a comprehensive telling from all who experienced the night bombing campaign.
This is a well told story of the other great air campaign of the Second World War. In the US we normally only hear of the 8th Air Force. Well done on a wonderful telling of the story of Bomber Command from 1939 to 45.
I struggle slightly with this title. Large portions of the book felt cold and impersonal as the author quoted memorandum after memorandum in tedious detail. The personal stories of tribulation and courage where too few and far between, and the pain and suffering of war was relegated to almost a footnote.
There were some very good portions of the book, but it dragged endlessly in some areas making the listening arduous to say the least, boring to say the most. An abridged version, I think, would be much better and you could cut the length in half. I believe it had too much added hyperbole for dramatic effect and that coupled with getting too far into the minutia of each operational plan and detail was mind numbing. Edwards was just alright, his singing was horrible though, yes he sings at one point. I guess I expected more from this book and was looking for the British side after listening to "Masters of the Air" by Donald L. Miller. This book is completely and strictly an historical account for history's sake and it reads like one. As opposed to "Masters of the Air" "Bomber Command" is boring.
I enjoy history and especially WWII and while I'm not looking for it to be entertaining in the fictional sense of entertainment it does need some level of personal dramatic effect to bring it to life. This book had none of that. That said, if you really enjoy knowing each and every detail of WWII without really getting a feel for the personal emotions of the characters being discussed then you'll likely enjoy this book.
Hastings as always brings both the humanity and the horror to war. His tales of the bravery of Bomber Command's crews and breathtaking and the aftermath of a firebombed German city will leave you heartbroken and horrified. His is a master of his craft.
Great analysis, great history, and exceptionally well spoken. Highest recommendation. A fascinating and moving story very relevant for today's issues.
"Masterful Military History"
Hastings presents an extraordinarily multifaceted picture of the role of bomber command in world war 2 through the eyes of flight crews, those who planned the raids, famous figures like Churchill and Bomber Harris as well as those who were bombed. Gripping first hand accounts of bombing raids are intercut with fascinating explanations of how the big beasts of the allied military fought over how best to deploy their forces against Hitler. And all of this is brought to life through Hastings' trademark hard work in finding letters and journals as well as eye-witnesses he can interview which are skilfully built up to create a mosaic of human detail which in turn shows how the international conflict unfolded. The author adopts this approach in all of his books but it seems to work especially well here as he explores the morally complex issues associated with young men risking terrible odds to bomb civilians as part of the fight against Hitler and Nazism. The result is a five star listen which stayed with me long after the first listen. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in history or ethics.
If you enjoy this one it's worth noting that Hastings' Das Reich offers an interesting follow up to the sections of this book that deal with the furious debates within the Allied Command about how air power could best support D-Day forces. They work well as a double bill.
Loved this book. Makes you want to know more. Max Hastings is a great historian and author. Beautifully read by Barnaby Edwards.
"First of a long series of truly exceptional books"
This is an exceptionally well written account of British bombing of Germany during WW 2, in Hasting's own style.
One truly awe inspiring part is the detailed story of a bombing as experienced by its victims.
"A fitting tribute"
All in all, a very good audio book.As an aviation enthusiast i Had more than a passing familiarity with the subject of RAF heavy bomber operations to start with, and yet I still learned a great deal and felt entertained throughout. This will certainly bear re-listening in the future.
Very good narration
Very interesting store and opened my eyes to the truth
No always an easy listen but one that every body should listen to
"Must read for anyone interested in bomber command"
Great detailed and frank history of Bomber Command. Fascinating to understand what drove the strategy and the men who carried it out.
"Changed my thinking"
This was beautifully written and narrated, telling sometimes harrowing stories with compassion and accuracy. Unlike many histories, this worked as a story in its own right. Well worth listening to.
"Bang On Target!"
An outstanding look at the history of Bomber Command during the second world war! A fantastically written book only equalled by the quality of the narrator this is an absolute must have for any World War 2 or aviation enthusiast.
This book helped dispel and clarify many myths and clear up just how effective and relevant the RAF bomber force was to the outcome of the conflict. Going in chronological order through the war years the facts and figures are balanced out nicely by looking at the history of a specific squadron for each year of the war.
It would be impossible to state how much I enjoyed this book apart from saying that although it took many hours to reach the end I instantly started it from the beginning again!
Arguably the most controversial and debated allied campaign of the war, impossible to have an informed opinion without first reading this work
"Nice balance view of Bomber Command"
Brings to life the personalities of BC but don't pull any punches at describing both the positives and negatives of the management, strategy and tactics used.
Very enjoyable listen.
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