‘A notable account of an epic human experience' Max Hastings, Sunday Times
‘Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war’ Sir Winston Churchill, speech to the House of Commons, 18 June 1940
The Nazi Blitzkrieg was unlike any invasion the world had ever seen. It hit Europe with a force and aggression that no-one could counter. Within weeks the German armies were at the French coast and looking across at Britain. It seemed impossible that she would be able to resist invasion.
Between the Nazis and glory stood an apparently fragile defence, but the men and women of Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands and the Royal Navy would not be cowed. Their heroics that summer would go down in history.
In The Battle of Britain for the first time, James Holland tells this most epic of stories from a 360° perspective – when the fate of the world truly hung by a thread.
This work enhances Holland's (Italy's Sorrow) developing reputation as a writer of popular military history with a solid scholarly dimension. He shifts effortlessly from a cockpit perspective to the planning systems of the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe, and the political decisions that determined the pattern of air combat over Britain in the summer and fall of 1940. Holland ascribes Germany's defeat to a comprehensive unpreparedness for war that, in particular, required the Luftwaffe to do too much with too little. The advantage the Messerschmitt Bf 109 possessed over the Spitfire I in a dogfight (easily Holland's most controversial assertion) came nowhere near compensating for "a catalogue of mistakes," ranging from poor intelligence to incompetent handling of the fighter force. The Luftwaffe's defects were highlighted by the RAF's qualities: Holland pays tribute at every turn to the heroism, the spirit, and the endurance of the fighter pilots and affirms the skill of their "inspired and brilliant leaders." But this book appropriately reserves its final praise for the British people and their collective defiance during five crucial months. 16 pages of b&w photos; maps.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book has greatly expanded upon my previously limited knowledge of the Battle of Britain. The book goes into much more detail than I had anticipated— from the politics of Nazi Germany to the experiences of British and German pilots, naval personnel, politicians and civilians. Great read for those who are interested in the details that are all-to-often merely skimmed over when reading about this great conflict.