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During the Second World War aeronautical technology gathered rapid pace. By 1945, bombers had not only greatly increased in engine power and range, but the bombs which they carried rose from 250lbs to 10 tons; the navigator's pencil and rubber of 1939 had been supplemented by infinitely more sophisticated electronic aids. Yet the success or failure of each and every bomber still depended entirely on the efficiency of every member of the crew at his individual position, the interaction and co-operation of all crew members as a body. One member of 617 squadron graphically explained that 'every time we went out, it was seven men against the Reich'. Drawing on letters, journals and diaries, John Sweetman examines the lives the bomber crews lived, from the highs and lows of their missions to the complexities of their friendships and the impact their place in the war had on the families and loved ones they left behind. Part collective biography, part military history, part social history: this will remain the definitive account of the bomber crews of the Second World War for years to come.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780316727716
ISBN-10: 0316727717
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 153mm x mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Little, Brown & Company
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publish Date: 4-Nov-2004
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions


UK Kirkus Review » Every time an RAF bomber crew flew a mission over Germany it was seven men against the Reich. Seven men committed to keeping their heads down, flying low and going through the endless walls of flak sent up by a vengeful enemy. Through their bravery, teamwork and expertise the Allies were able to strike at the heart of German industrial might. Bomber crews faced enormous daily dangers and were awarded seventeen Victoria Crosses for individual acts of bravery. Inevitably bombers were shot down and the loss of a single aircraft meant the loss of seven airmen, each with family and friends left in mourning. Making use of contemporary diaries, letters, and personal reflections, John Sweetman pieces together the poignant stories of the bomber crews and their families, highlighting the fears and triumphs, loves and losses that defined their war years. It is an account of how ordinary men found the strength to become heroes. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - John Sweetman

John Sweetman worked for many years at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, first as Senior Lecturer in War Studies and then as Head of Defence and International Affairs. He is the author of numerous publications including the acclaimed and bestselling THE DAMBUSTERS.

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