‘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
A really great read. An In depth look at this important period in our history that covers the men, the machines and the tactics in great detail without getting too technical. Gripping from start to finish and well in written in an style that makes it easy to understand. I will be buying more of James Hollands books after this.
A compelling account
Initially sceptical after the slightly technical introduction (which goes over flying formations and the correct terminology for the various squadrons), I found the rest of the book thoroughly compelling. I literally could not put this book down as Holland paints a vivid picture of the aerial battles and state of the Nation over the summer of 1940. The bravery and sacrifice is painstakingly retold so that these brave men shall not be forgotten.
What a great read. This book covers all sides of the story. I have read a lot of books on the subject but not any that cover the Germans take on it, or the British Navy.
A must for anyone wanting a great all round read on an amazing period of British history.