What are you reading at the moment?

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Gage, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. pierce09

    pierce09 Member

    I've got Mayne's book on the shelf to read. I'm hoping between these two, they'll provide plenty of detail to 39 Sqn ops as the history docs for the Sqn are pretty thin during this period.
    Orwell1984 likes this.
  2. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Sadly the casualty levels at the period those two were flying were truly shocking, so I’m not sure there were many eyewitnesses left.
  3. Waddell

    Waddell Active Member

    Bomber Command.JPG

    I found a First edition of Max Hastings Bomber Command a while back and recently read it to gain more of an understanding of Bomber Command’s role during the war. I haven’t read any of Hastings books before but am aware of his reputation in the UK and I have to say that this is a very well written book that I learnt quite a lot from.

    In common with other newspaper journalists Hastings does a good job weaving individual squadrons and their actions into the overall story, but he also explains the politics behind the scenes which so involved Bomber commands role throughout the war. My edition has an image of Churchill on the cover watching a Stirling take off, which is appropriate as the book well covers the relationship between Churchill and Harris. My observations are that Churchill used Harris effectively when he needed him (early in the war when bombing German cities was the main way Britain could effectively hit directly at the enemy and take some pressure off the Russians) and pretty much walked away from him at the end of the war after the invasion had taken place and the area bombing campaigns weren’t required to the extent they were before D-Day.

    Hastings is very sympathetic to Harris’s cause and to the men in bomber command who flew the missions and this shows through clearly in the book. But Hastings explains clearly Harris’s faults, in particular his stubbornness, which led to his isolation at the end of the war. Much like Churchill himself, Harris was the right man for the time but not for the future.

    The book was first published in 1979 and there well may be more contemporary books on the subject, but as a first read on a large subject I would recommend this book.

    stolpi and Charley Fortnum like this.
  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I read it a couple of years ago--my first 'history' book on Bomber Command after starting out on a few memoirs:

    Jack Currie's Lancaster Target (brilliant)
    Don Charlwood's No Moon Tonight, (haunting)
    Guy Gibson's Enemy Coast Ahead (flawed but interesting).

    I felt much like you that Hastings' book was undeniably well written and sympathetic to the men of Bomber Command, who had a bloody awful job to do and a good chance of not making it home, but at the same time he didn't shy from showing what happened once the bombs struck their targets. The descriptions of the firestorms, the families buried alive and how the victims perished with the oxygen sucked from their shelters was the equal of the gruesome ends some of the air crews met. The section on Darmstadt was truly awful but compulsively readable.

    This is the stuff of nightmares (Click to read):

    Screenshot 2019-08-20 at 23.52.06.png
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    In the Trade of War, by James R. Allan.

    Great little book about the 2nd Green Towards in the Arakan region of Burma.
  6. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Finished reading the attached by the only Icelandic pilot to serve in the RAF. A real gem that doesn’t hide from realities such as acknowledging his poor marksmanship, visiting brothels and the inevitable signs that he was starting to suffer from combat stress. No bravado but still plenty of combat info and obvious pride when he was awarded a medal. A nice balance.

    Attached Files:

  7. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    So far it's been superb.

    Chris C likes this.

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