Battle of Britain: A day-to-day chronicle, 10 July-31 October 1940

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From the bestselling author of Fighter Boys and Bomber Boys, Battle of Britain is a magisterial and stunningly illustrated account of a defining episode in modern British history: the epic struggle of RAF Fighter Command with the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1940.

From the shock of defeat and evacuation from Dunkirk in May/June 1940 to Fighter command’s assertion of superiority over the Luftwaffe in mid-September of that year, Patrick Bishop charts the key staging-posts of Britain’s fight for national survival. The day-to-day progress of the battle – its dogfights, its heroes and victims, its impact on flyers and civilians alike (from the Luftwaffe’s ‘Black Thursday’ of 15 August, to the opening day of the ‘the Blitz’ on 7 September) – is evoked in richly compelling and moving narrative. Alongside the chronological account, an array of feature panels provides a wealth of detailed information on aspects of the battle as diverse as radar and air-raid protection, high-octane fuel and ‘shadow’ factories, the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and the contribution of the Polish and Czech squadrons. Eye-witness descriptions and extracts from diaries and journals evoke the often horrific reality of war in the air, while ‘pilot profiles’ tell the human stories behind such celebrated ‘aces’ as Douglas Bader, ‘Paddy’ Finucane and ‘Ginger’ Lacey.

Among the volume’s 250 images are numerous contemporary photographs of planes, pilots and aerial combat, authentic pages from pilots’ logbooks, public information posters and leaflets, paintings by celebrated war artists such as Paul Nash and Norman Wilkinson, and maps locating Fighter Command groups and sectors and the air fleets of the Luftwaffe. A full-colour appendix anatomizes the aircraft that won – and lost – the Battle of Britain, including the Spitfire, the Hurricane and the Messerschmitt 109.
As enthrallingly written as it is sumptuously presented, Battle of Britain is the definitive account of twentieth-century Britain’s ‘finest hour’ from a master of popular historical narrative. No one with an interest in the history of the Second World War or of modern Britain will wish to be without it.

COMMENT

Various references to Manston.

DETAILS

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; Revised edition (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781849162241
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849162241
  • ASIN: 1849162247
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19 cm

 

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