Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Bomber Boys by Patrick Bishop

This book is subtitled "Fighting Back 1940-1945" and that really gives the game away.

This is a non fiction historical presentation. The author takes a look at all aspects of the Allied Bomber forces during World War II.

He takes us from the Dunkirk campaign where the bombers were desperately out gunned , in pitiful machines and sufffered terribly, right through to the end of the war.

I found this book a real pleasure to read from end to end. It's not some dry series of facts but the details are presented in a very readable humane way. The experiences of the lads flying the bombers are always at the fore in the text, so if the author is explaining some abstract political motivation it's done through the effects it had on the crews with anecdate and memoir.

I found myself enlightened about a number of things relating to the Bomber forces. For instance how the design of the aircraft might cost crew their lives when bailing out, or how ineffective the machine guns in the turrets were. I was astounded to learn that the crew were being encouraged to use amphetamines when flying.

The book does not shy away from the horror that the Bombers wrought on the ground, especially in the area-bombing of cities. It also highlights how the Bomber crews were forgotten after the war, or rather, sweapt under the carpet by an embarrased officialdom.

An excellent and well written book.