For hundreds of years Dresden, Germany, was a bastion of civilization and culture. Because it was also the center of an extensive railway system and weapons-production facilities, Allied bombers burned the city near the end of WWII, causing a firestorm of destruction and controversy. Michael Prichard's pleasant and resonant voice leads listeners through a well-researched documentary of flight, politics, and technology. He sometimes uses deft pauses to punctuate the quotes, and at other times a theatrical portrayal of the speaker. Prichard handles the abundant German with ease and the sadness of death with sobering respect. While the book on paper might be dull, Prichard's touch brings a welcome luster.
In Firestorm, Marshall De Bruhl re-creates the drama and horror of the Dresden bombing and offers the most cogent appraisal yet of the tactics, weapons, strategy, and rationale for the controversial attack. Using new research and contemporary reports, as well as eyewitness stories of the devastation, De Bruhl directly addresses many long-unresolved questions relating to the bombing: Why did the strike occur when the Allies' victory was seemingly so imminent? Was choosing a city choked with German refugees a punitive decision, intended to humiliate a nation? What, if any, strategic importance did Dresden have? How much did the desire to send a "message" to Imperial Japan, or the advancing Soviet armies, factor into the decision to firebomb the city?
©2007 Marshall De Bruhl; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"De Bruhl [is] quite good at analyzing the tactics that transformed Dresden into an inferno.' (San Francisco Chronicle)
This book sets forth how the Allies, in response to German air-war atrocities, and in response to widespread British desire of for revenge in the wake of the Blitz, proceeded inexorably toward committing their own air-war atrocities. Carpet bombing, or "morale bombing", is traced from its beginning stages through the fire bombing of Dresden a short time before the end of hostilities. I would have enjoyed some more information on to what extent the huge bombing effort against Germany succeeded in slowing industrial production. I would also have liked a more organized statement of what the historical arguments against bombing Dresden have been.
All in all, this is a fine book.
I expected to learn more about the bombing of Dresden. I did, but I also learned the history of bombing, from two Italian pilots dropping grenades on Turks in 1909 to February 14, 1945. Aerial bombing was intended to save lives by making obsolete the massive armies of World War One. A few bombers would fly from a home base, destroy an enemy oil refinery, power station, or ball bearing factory, and return home safely. War with a minimum of casualties. What went wrong with this good intention is the story of this book.
What was best about the story was the Historical detail. It was very interesting to learn about the history and evolution to air power.
If I could find one criticism it would be that more time was spent on the history of air power and very little on the actual events that surrounded the bombing of Dresden. Dresden's history may have been pivotal but is also somewhat distracting from the main point of the narrative, which is, of course, the details of the bombing.
I could not listen to more than 5 mins of the intro. The intro was against the practice of using bombing during war without any recognition of what war is. Good book for someone that is a pacifist
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