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Bomber

Narrated by: Richard Burnip
Length: 21 hrs and 17 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (103 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bomber is a novel of war. There are no victors, no vanquished. There are simply those who remain alive, and those who die. Bomber follows the progress of an Allied air raid through a period of twenty-four hours in the summer of 1943. It portrays all the participants in a terrifying drama, both in the air and on the ground, in Britain and in Germany. In its documentary style, it is unique. In its emotional power it is overwhelming.

Len Deighton has been equally acclaimed as a novelist and as an historian. In Bomber he has combined both talents to produce a masterpiece. The classic novel of the Second World War that relates in devastating detail the 24-hour story of an allied bombing raid.

©2012 Len Deighton (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Cookie
  • Anacortes, WA, United States
  • 12-14-12

The original 24 hours

Is it too long? I wondered halfway through. This book endeavors to put all events of a bombing raid together in a 24 hour time frame. Just like the TV series, it is nearly true to time. But it does work. All the stories are well developed and brought together. Lost one star in making every female character marginal and somewhat silly (this maybe a result the narrator, but is not helped by Mr Deighton, who has written great female characters in subsequent novels). The narrator did an awesome job of giving every one of the characters a recognizable voice and did a fantastic job except for the female ones.
Replete with incredible detail, I feel like I was in the bomber and on the ground at the same time. Almost a perfect book, almost perfectly read. Highly recommended! I don't think there was an agenda to this story, although I felt for the victims, none of them were very sympathetic. I still feel that everything the allies did to try to win the war was justified, after all they did not know how it would end, and were really just trying to win a war they did not start, but had to see through.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Hilton, United Kingdom
  • 07-26-14

Deserves 6 stars

Would you listen to Bomber again? Why?

Yes, and I am certain that I will. If you ever want to know what it was really like to be involved in a WW2 night bombing raid from the point of view of all those involved on both sides, read this book!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bomber?

There are so many that it's difficult to choose, but the fate of Lambert, the English bomber pilot, after all the raids he has done and everything he has been through sums the whole thing up beautifully.

What about Richard Burnip’s performance did you like?

He has a measured delivery that does not sensationalise whilst at the same time never let's you get bored.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It came as close to making me cry as any book I have read / listened to

Any additional comments?

I spend time with WW2 RAF veterans at an annual event and these interactions just make the events depicted in the book more immediate and more personal. I can imagine these old men in their youth going on these raids, not just the one time depicted in this book but several times a week. And they are the lucky ones who made it through. In WW2, RAF Bomber Command aircrew took almost 50% fatal casualties, and hundreds of thousands of German civilians died in the raids they flew. This book makes those statistics very believable.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Walrus Rex
  • Grand Junction, CO United States
  • 11-23-14

War and Peace in the air and under the bombs

If you could sum up Bomber in three words, what would they be?

Horror of war

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bomber?

I can't identify a particular moment. The power here is in the broad scope of a single mission.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it's too long.

Any additional comments?

As Tolstoy presented the broad landscape of the Napoleonic Wars through the intimate details of a large number of different people's lives, so the author paints the details of a large number of people's lives during a single fictitious mission by Bomber Command over the Ruhr. War and Peace covers thirteen years, this covers twenty-four hours (on June 31, 1943).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A day in for all flight crews in WW2.

Well done showing the lives of German an allied pilots and flight crews. A 24 hours flow of time with the surrounding events showing clearly the horrors of war.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lee
  • Texas
  • 07-20-13

An Excellent "Read"

Would you listen to Bomber again? Why?

Absolutely. In fact, I already have listened to it again.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bomber?

The buildup really pulls you in as you follow the German civilians, knowing what is going to happen to them. And also the pilots as they go about their preparations.

Any additional comments?

This was an incredible book. I listened to it over the course of a weekend and was genuinely sorry that it ended. Plus, the forward by the author is really interesting as he describes his process of writing and researching the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unforgettable description of bombing civilians

A rare book balancing both sides of the war. The original 24. A must read.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Northern Virginia Review

Tremendous detailed review of a day in the life of a bombing mission in WWII

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Trevor
  • Trevor
  • 02-23-13

A rather ponderous reading

One of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors, this unabridged reading is good value for money but is somewhat spoiled, to my mind, by the narrator.

Richard Burnip’s command of accents is acceptable and his German pronunciation, at least to this non-German speaker, seems good. However, Deighton’s technique in this book is to describe the events surrounding a bomber raid on Germany in minute technical detail but in a completely dispassionate way. This has the odd effect, as Deighton of course intends, of emphasising rather than diminishing the sheer horror of the events described. Burnip’s rather slow, over-deliberate enunciation, together with his habit of inserting small pauses where none should exist does not, to my mind, fit well with Deighton’s narrative style and effortless mastery of technical detail.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Clark Anthony
  • Clark Anthony
  • 09-09-18

Very poor narrator

I wish to look in more detail at the problems of the narration. The basic voice is matey rather than weighty, and slow, which doesn't fit considering the subject matter. The various voices used for dialogue differ only slightly. The first speaker sounds like the basic voice. A second or third speaker speaks a little higher or lower in tone, and often even more slowly. It sounds amateurish, like an unpractised daddy reading a story to children. In places the narration slows even more, and I suspect the reason for this may be that the 'performer' has not read the text he is reading in advance of the performance, so he needs to slow down so that he will not stumble. Finally someone should have told him the correct pronunciation of 'Rathaus' (town hall) which has nothing to do with rats, and the mistake is particularly annoying because there are so many references to it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Reader
  • Reader
  • 02-19-17

Great story ruined

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A decent narrator

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bomber?

How a good book has been turned into a dire experience

What didn’t you like about Richard Burnip’s performance?

It started at the beginning and carried on throughout the book.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Bomber?

I would shoot the narrator, he sounds nearly dead already, it would be a mercy

Any additional comments?

I read this many years ago, and yes it has dated somewhat and too be honest it was too long-winded in places BUT despite that worth a read. Perhaps because some of the truly terrible scenes, like the seduction early on of Anna-Luisa by Bach (not the famous one) could, I imagine, be skipped.

Now I listen to many books and thought I'd revisit it via Audible. A nice long book I thought to listen to while cooking, doing up the house etc.

But my God, what a disappointment. I mean truly. The narrator sounds as tho' he has been told he die at the end, and he drags it out, presumably to live, sadly it made me wanted to die. He reads it without any sense of action or excitement. In a way his achievement is actually remarkable. It sounds like the recording has been slowed down, truly. Can you imagine the most boring voice you can imagine, then some, no then a lot. This is a book about a bombing raid over Germany and well there are some slow bits and some action and of course tension. This narrator makes the tense exciting bits sound like someone reading a telephone directory as slow as he could. Was he paid by the hour? The slower bits, well I can't really describe them.

He does make the seduction scene mentioned above an absolute scream though - truly funny. I mean buy it and listen, then send it back cos the rest is terrible.

The narrator is a crucial part of an audiobook, and there are bad examples, this one isn't the worst I've heard on audible, but its right up there.

I managed to last till the end of part 1, couldn't face opening part 2, so sadly I'm returning it. This is a fine thing audible does, although in this case they are culpable because the 'trailer' is not a part of the book and is the voice of Len Deighton.

Audible, you could actually do more here. List in under comedy, for the 'trailer' use August Bach and Anna-Luisa's looooooooooooove scene. It'll fly of the shelves.

OK in summary I would suggest avoiding, try and get hold of the BBC dramatization to listen to and read the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for S. Roche
  • S. Roche
  • 07-24-14

Richard Burnip.....avoid at all costs!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not as an audible book due to the dreadful, comedy 'narration. '

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bomber?

In the preview narration it is no surprise that it is the voice of Len himself rather than Burnip....no wonder, Audible know what they are playing at!

What didn’t you like about Richard Burnip’s performance?

It's read out like someone reading a tiresome shopping list.....the characterisation is uninteresting and some of the accents border on offensive. RB clearly has no prior interest or passion about the subject. The narration is too laboured and doesn't flow....imagine being stuck next to this fellow on a plane or in a dinner party!!! :(

Did Bomber inspire you to do anything?

Turn off and reach for the paperback!

Any additional comments?

Avoid Richard Burnip at all costs!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for D Molesworth
  • D Molesworth
  • 08-15-13

An old favourite revisited

Would you consider the audio edition of Bomber to be better than the print version?

I like both formats in this case but I would say that the audiobooks probably brings the characters to life more. It is long time since I read the book though.

What about Richard Burnip’s performance did you like?

It gave the characters greater depth and gave them more life and in a lot of cases death.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Probably the trapped in the cellar sections.

Any additional comments?

I found it lived up to memories of the original book and though dated in a lot of ways it still brought out the terrible reality of war on people's lives.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for B. Shaw
  • B. Shaw
  • 07-20-16

Not for me

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Maybe a different narrator. Maybe.

What will your next listen be?

Anything that will lighten the mood and feel less wooden.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Richard Burnip?

James Lailey.

Any additional comments?

I am normally a huge fan of Len Deighton's writing and devoured my way through the Bernard Sampson trilogy of trilogies, SSGB and Winter but Bomber has me stumped. Such a dour plot and at just over the half way point I gave up for my own sanity. I'm afraid Richard Burnip's reading didn't help - sorry, but not a patch on James Lailey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for heather
  • heather
  • 05-16-13

Revealing

Totally brilliant account of air warfare from both sides,not just horrific and gripping but excellently written delivering a story of love,life,death,bravery,courage,and stupidity all in the period of 24 hours,a must for anyone with a sense of humanity and the futility of war.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Adrian Whittaker
  • Adrian Whittaker
  • 08-31-19

Love the book, dissatisfied by the production.

I've read Bomber several times and it's a superb war story. Gritty, horrifying, tragic, and heroic in all the right places on both sides of the conflict. For me it both lends weight to the argument that the men of Bomber Command deserved recognition for their bravery but also that what they did to the cities was a terrible thing.

This production is adequate to the material but terribly flawed. Richard Burnip is a talented voice artist but, he is miscast and very badly directed. His characterisations are distinct and, in themselves, allow one to follow dialogue but they're so dull, especially the German ones. More of which shortly. The British characters are OK, the regional accents are a tad clumsy but they don't detract. There's a sort of an introduction by Len Deighton himself in which he talks about his characters and how he wrote them 'straight', using word order and rhythm to depict accent, avoiding phonetic spelling. In a printed or e- version of the book this is OK, your own inner voice supplies the accent and can't overdo it. In an audio book this is not so, the actor must supply the accent and, like seasoning food, too much or not enough is a terrible mistake. This is the job of the director of the piece and this director failed, badly. It's particularly obvious in the German characters. Germany has regional accents, as distinct and contrasting as British regional ones, and not one German character was performed like it. There was a nod in the direction of class - Lowenhertz was a bit posh sounding since he was the son of a nobleman but that was about it. None of them had even a trace of "German" accent either - I'm not expecting 'Allo 'Allo parody levels but some, into which a little regional spin could have been injected would have been great. This was compounded by the reading of German comms traffic - telex, fax, memos etc. - was done using German pronunciation, presumably Richard' s own, best schoolboy German pronunciation too, which jarred and grated even more when all the German people in the performance hadn't so much as a hint of German accent! An egregious director's mistake that poor old Mr Burnip gets to take the blame for.

I can't recommend the paper edition of this book enough, it's a great read giving a horribly realistic insight into the world of the Second World War bomber operations but I can't recommend the audiobook anywhere near as wholeheartedly. The flaws are glaring and you can't enjoy the book if you can't overlook them, and I could only overlook them because I love the book itself.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Norman
  • Norman
  • 07-30-19

Very respect that that’s really nothing powerful

I have one or two friends whose fathers were in bomber command during the war.
Without exception, they say that they just never talked about their experiences there. After listening to this book, I think I understand why. It was just so awful in every respect that there’s really nothing to say.
It’s a powerful got wrenching book, a real eye-opener.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James
  • James
  • 07-11-19

Problem with this recording

While this.is one of my favourite books ever, this recording is jumbled with the chapters out of order. It is impossible to listen to and needs correcting.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James M
  • 05-01-19

overwhelming, frightening, exhausting, complete

If you want to know about the night bomber air war over europe in ww2, this is it. throughly researched and confronting this is not for the faint hearted. many australians lost their lives in this controversial air war.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Darryl Clarke
  • Darryl Clarke
  • 08-08-17

Marathon of a story, a Deighton delight

Deighton at his finest. 20+ hours but just couldn't stop listening. Felt like a few hours. High level of factual detail around WWII aerial antics, woven into a fictional story, guts and all.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for john
  • john
  • 01-11-17

Poor narrating kills what was a brilliant yarn

Would you try another book written by Len Deighton or narrated by Richard Burnip?

Not narrated by Richard Burnip

What did you like best about this story?

based loosely around fact, real characters etc

Would you be willing to try another one of Richard Burnip’s performances?

no

What character would you cut from Bomber?

na

Any additional comments?

I have read the book in paper edition several times and it is a great read. Both my son and myself, trapped in the car for 4,000km across Australia relied on Audible to get us through - Bill Bryson books excellent. The narration on this one put our teeth on edge! Narrator sounded like he was reading an ABC book to kindergarten, making a myriad of truly awful character voices - the housekeeper to the German Air Force Station Commander was the final straw.
Sorry if I offend, but the audible version was horrible, due 90% to teh narration and 10% to the need for a bit of condensing.