The Bomber War in World War II was waged by two forces: the Lancasters and Halifaxes of the RAF’ s Bomber Command, and the Flying fortresses and Liberators of the American Eighth Air Force. Thousands of young Americans flew hundreds of raids over Germany, bombing by day in huge formations, attacking industrial plants, oil refineries and cities. These were desperately dangerous missions from which many would not return. Nonetheless, for the three years between the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the Normandy landings of 1944, fleets of bomber crews were the only way the Allies could take the war directly to Germany in Europe, making every town and factory the frontline.
Donald Miller’ s magnificent Eighth Air Force has deservedly been praised in the same breath as Patrick Bishop’ s modern classic, Bomber Boys. Miller offers a comprehensive history of this crucial phase of the Allies’ military strategy. Across 17 chapters, with 16 pages of photographs, he covers the individual destinies of the American bomber crews; the notorious raids of Schweinfurt-Regensburg and Dresden; the social transformation of sleepy East Anglian villages by a ubiquitous military presence; and the fierce controversy surrounding the ethics of area and terror bombing.