• Lancaster

  • The Second World War’s Greatest Bomber
  • By: Leo McKinstry
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 25 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

A comprehensive history of Britain's greatest bomber plane.

The Spitfire and the Lancaster were the two RAF weapons of victory in the Second World War, but the glamour of the fighter has tended to overshadow the performance of the heavy bomber. Yet without the Lancaster, Britain would never have been able to take the fight to the German homeland. Highlights the scale of the bomber's achievements, including the famous Dambusters attacks. With its vast bomb bay, ease of handling and surprising speed, the mighty Lancaster transformed the effectiveness of the Bomber Command. 

Whilst addressing the political controversy surrounding the bombing offensive against Germany, Leo McKinstry also weaves individual tales into this compelling narrative. Rich characters are brought to life, such as Roy Chadwick, the designer, who taught himself engineering at night school, and Sir Arthur Harris, the austere head of the Bomber Command. This is a rich saga, a story of triumph over disaster and the history of an iconic plane.

©2009 Leo McKinstry (P)2009 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Personal connection to a book section

A solid story about the development and deployment of the great bomber. There was a section of the book that dealt with the repatriation of prisoners of war that had personal resonance.

My wife's uncle was a Canadian navigator in an RAF Lancaster squadron. He died at the end of the war in crash near Paris and he's buried in Clichy. The author details the decision to fly liberated prisoners to Britain due to the dangers of road and naval traffic. There was one crash in the entire massive air lift; a plane that suffered mechanical troubles at take off and failed in its attempt to get back to the airfield - he was on that plane. The detail around the airlift, the investigation and review at high levels of the RAF and Air Ministry give some context for the death of her uncle and the humanitarian work he was doing after all the painful duty required by Bomber Command.

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  • Sean
  • 10-17-18

Well read & well written

An awesome description of how the Lanc came about & designed by the brilliant Roy Chadwick
superbly written & an insight into the horrors of War.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kev W.
  • 09-21-18

Excellent

An excellent book, well written and well read. This book is a companion to the nook about the Spitfire.

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  • Mr A N M Penfold
  • 07-11-18

Interesting story of Bomber Commands use of the Lancaster in the Second World War

Not as good as the spitfire story, if your interested in the history of the development and use of the Lancaster. The book concentrate mostly on Harris and his use of the Lancaster, with fascinating first hand accounts from those involved. Perfectly read, however it’s quite repetitive. Personally I’d like to have heard more from the development of the platform and less analysing the morals of Bomber Commands actions with hindsight.

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  • Jade
  • 04-21-21

One of the best books about the Lancaster bomber!

A truly outstanding audiobook,very vivid details covering most subjects in the bomber war some of which are often forgotten for example the role of ground crews and armourer's. The great detail into how the Lancaster was built,operated and eventually retired is portrayed superbly. I'm gutted I've finished it. I'll definitely read/listen again in future. Narration is also top notch. Buy it, you'll not be disappointed.

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  • B. A. Cass
  • 02-05-21

Perfect biography of the best heavy of WW2.

I found this immensely intriguing, from the story of it's birth, through the gripping accounts of it's successes and failures, through to it's eventual retirement from service, illustrated by the extracts of the first hand accounts of some of those involved. I am somewhat biased in this, because my late Dad was aircrew in, first, 44 squadron, and, later, 199 squadron, and I found the graphic descriptions of the trials, tribulations and terrors faced by the aircrews both illuminating and informative. This work is as much a tribute to the grit, tenacity and bravery of the aircrew as it is to Mr Chadwick's creation.

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  • allan isaacs
  • 09-15-20

Great story/writing and a great reader

Everything you could wulish to know on the story of the Lancaster and the people that made it happen, and I think the reader made the story all the more compelling.

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  • Ciderman
  • 09-13-20

An epic book about an epic aircraft.

This book is of course about the Lancaster but also about so much more; it's rivals and why it was seen as better than them, it's employment in battle and the politics of that employment. Sir Arthur Harris, his flaws but also his strengths, the story of those that build it and those that fought and died in it (and were conceived in it!). Leo McKinstry's writing is excellent but without Peter Noble's fine narration such a long listen could be a chore, it's not and both are to be thanked for this.

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  • Stephen Howlett
  • 05-24-20

Brilliant

All the history of the greatest bomber of the war. An especially good listen of the dams raids but the whole listen was fascinating. My uncle was a navigator in a Lancaster so interesting to know what they went through.

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  • YM
  • 04-22-20

The story of a legend

An excellent book with lots of info about the development of the Lancaster bomber and the crews who flew it. I found the stories of the manufacturers AV Roe and their competitors to be very informative and the drive of Roy Chadwick to develop the troublesome Manchester, into what i believe to be the best aircraft of all time. For the Lancaster Bomber lover this is a must listen. Lest we forget.

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  • Steven Emsley
  • 04-20-20

Enthralling

As a child I made the airfix kit and later listened to the memories of my father in law who had been Lancaster ground crew, but until now I had not grasped the full picture. I was enthralled every minute of this 25 hour history. Leo McKinstry has used a wide range of sources and voices to compose a moving and informative picture of the bombing offensive and the people caught up in it. This is no gung-ho celebration of the legend, but a balanced account of the moral controversy woven with strands of horror and heroism. Even the boardroom tussles over aircraft design, deployment and tactics are made gripping. But with Churchill, crusty Arthur Harris, Barnes Wallis, Leonard Cheshire, Guy Gibson and many more as dramatis personae the reader is in for an interesting time. Peter Noble is excellent.

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  • Robert Watkinson
  • 08-27-18

Fantastic narration

Peter Noble's narration sustained my interest through to the end. The book is a holistic recounting of the plane from its conception to its highly praised and highly criticised role as part of Bomber Command in WW2.

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  • Phil The KIWI
  • 03-06-21

Exceptional Audio book very well researched

for anyone interested genuinely in ww2 and bombers...this is exceptional.... a must for any ex or current pilot too..