What are you reading at the moment?

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Gage, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Cockney Tone

    Cockney Tone Junior Member

    Just getting to the end of 'The Forgotten Massacre' by Guy ROMMELAERE, (Tuesday 28th May 1940, The Battle for Wormhout and the War Crimes)

    An interesting (and at times harrowing) account of the massacre and events leading up to it.

    Scottie.
     
  2. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    After you read it, don't watch the film!!! If you have seen the film, don't read the book!

    I agree totally. I found the book hard going.
     
  3. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    I agree totally. I found the book hard going.

    I did as well, I had read Black hawk down and thought it might be similar, but it was no where near as good.

    i notice something which seems common to american books, if they are quoting someone, they tend to give their home towns as well!
     
  4. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    I picked up a copy of Dresden by Frederick Taylor, looks good and I have to admit that the only other book on Dresden that I have read was David irving's.
     
  5. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I picked up a copy of Dresden by Frederick Taylor, looks good and I have to admit that the only other book on Dresden that I have read was David irving's.

    Me too, I got a copy a couple of months ago but I still haven't time to read it. If you haven't read them, trying getting hold of Martin Middlebrooks books on raids by Bomber Command. They are excellent.:)
     
  6. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    trying getting hold of Martin Middlebrooks books on raids by Bomber Command. They are excellent.:)

    I have a couple and I agree with your assessment
     
  7. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I have a couple and I agree with your assessment

    I think The Peenemude raid and The Battle of Hamburg were the best. I need to re-read these as it's been a while.
     
  8. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    I think The Peenemude raid and The Battle of Hamburg were the best. I need to re-read these as it's been a while.

    I have both books, I found the one on Peedemeunde was very good.
     
  9. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I have both books, I found the one on Peedemeunde was very good.

    Yes it was probably the best of the bunch. But all are well worth a look to anyone interested in Bomber Command.
    Morse, have you read Bomber (fiction) by Len Deighton? If so what did you think?:cop:

    The thing is I went off Deighton after he wrote some wrong info in his book on the Battle of Britain.
     
  10. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    For those interested who haven't read these. Excellent, well worth the time.:)
     

    Attached Files:

  11. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Yes it was probably the best of the bunch. But all are well worth a look to anyone interested in Bomber Command.
    Morse, have you read Bomber (fiction) by Len Deighton? If so what did you think?:cop:

    The thing is I went off Deighton after he wrote some wrong info in his book on the Battle of Britain.

    I have only ever read 14 novels in my life and most of them was at school!
     
  12. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I have only ever read 14 novels in my life and most of them was at school!

    Bomber was about a raid on Germany from the position of the crew and the civillains on the ground. The RAF bomb the wrong target. Good book.
     
  13. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Right now instead of this forum I should be reading the US Army Handbook 1939-45 by George Forty, Sutton Publishing. I finished a couple of days ago The Battle of Kursk by D. Glantz & J.House. God bless eBay!
     
  14. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Bomber was about a raid on Germany from the position of the crew and the civillains on the ground. The RAF bomb the wrong target. Good book.
    Bomber? Ah, yes, quite pungent, isn't it? I'm a Len Deighton fan too!
     
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Right now instead of this forum I should be reading the US Army Handbook 1939-45 by George Forty, Sutton Publishing.
    Make sure you don't forget! it's a great little book with all of Forty's exceptionally readable style, I'm a great believer in the 'Handbooks' series but it does depend on the author, The SS one is very thorough but the German Army one's a bit weak. British Army Handbook (again by Forty) is the best of the bunch so far (though Japanese, Red Army,German Navy and USAAF one's are all pretty good too).

    I'm a Fan of Deighton's 'Bomber' too, read it when I was a kid and it made a great impression on me.
     
  16. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Bomber was about a raid on Germany from the position of the crew and the civillains on the ground. The RAF bomb the wrong target. Good book.

    IMHO, there are non fiction books which use the same style and are more interesting than anything a fiction writer can do.
     
  17. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Guess you're right, I remember at the time being mesmerised by reading in my father's library (that's where I got the bug) Clostermann's memoirs and Rudel's too.

    Ah, but the plot was weaker, no doubt about it ... ;)
     
  18. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    IMHO, there are non fiction books which use the same style and are more interesting than anything a fiction writer can do.

    I agree but it was well thought out and executed. And you can still learn from fiction.:)
     
  19. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Me too, I got a copy a couple of months ago but I still haven't time to read it. If you haven't read them, trying getting hold of Martin Middlebrooks books on raids by Bomber Command. They are excellent.:)

    here is a review written By Angie and posted on the carpet bombing thread

    This is a copy of a book review that I posted on Historic-Battles some moths ago which is relevant to the topic:

    Dresden, Tuesday 13 February 1945, by Frederick Taylor, London, 2004. Published by Bloomsbury, cover price £20.

    Length about 530 pages, plus photos. The standard of proof reading could have been better, because there are a number of typographical errors, such as word transpositions.

    Interestingly, although my copy is the edition published in Britain, the spelling is American English, presumably in preparation for US publication - I wonder if this marks a trend and, if so, what it means for the future of English.

    Anyway, the book is about the two RAF raids on the night of 13/14 February 1945 and the daylight raid by the USAAF on 14 February. It adequately covers the bombing technicalities, but I think the perspective is firmly on the ground, so the results get much more space. We are told in fairly graphic detail how the firestorm took hold and developed.

    We are introduced to the history of the city of Dresden, how it grew and developed over the centuries. We are told something of how Dresden experienced earlier wars, such as the 30 and 7 years wars and the Napoleonic era as the capitol of the then Kingdom of Saxony and links, through the ruling Wettin family with the Kingdom of Poland. The detail increases as we get nearer to WWII, including the growing reputation of Dresden as a city of art and culture and, in particular, how the city fared in the Nazi era.

    We also learn that Dresden was in fact a major industrial centre in WWII, heavily involved in armaments production, including electronic and optical equipment and ammunition manufacture. It was also a major communications, particularly rail, and administrative centre.

    However, although the Dresden area had been bombed by the USAAF on previous occasions, the historic heart of the city was untouched and it had not suffered an area bombing raid from the RAF main force. This acted to reinforce the commonly held view that the allies had decided not to attack Dresden because of its cultural significance. As a result, air raid precautions were totally inadequate and not on a par with other important German cities. Thus, Dresden was particularly ill prepared for the raids.

    After the war, the Communist regime in the DDR both inflated the casualty figures and used the raids as anti-western, particularly anti-US propaganda, but we learn that the Soviet leadership had requested in a plenary session at the Yalta conference for assistance in the form of bombing. It is also stated that in an unminuted discussion, General Antonov, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Red Army, had specificaly asked for Dresden to be bombed, although this account relies on a single oral source.

    What is for sure is that Dresden had been on the RAF's target list for some time and that it was a high priority target on a list produced at the top level in early February 1944.

    Anyway, what of the raids?

    The USAAF had been due to bomb first, on 13 February, but this raid was postponed due to bad weather. As a consequence, the first raid was by 5 Group RAF at about 10PM that evening. They found air defence practically non-existent and, although there had been thick cloud all the way, the sky over the target was clear. This meant that they were able to mark the target at low level with a high degree of precision and achieve concentrated bombing. The designated target was the old town and it was this raid that started the firestorm. The mix of HE and incendiaries was standard for a major RAF raid, but what stands out is the degree of concentration achieved.

    The RAF always hoped to achieve highly concentrated bombing, but seldom did. But without it there would not be firestorms.

    The second RAF raid, at about 1AM on 14 February, was less concentrated, but the damage caused enabled the existing firestorm to spread.

    The USAAF raid encountered poor visibility, but caused severe damage, particularly to the rail marshalling yards and surrounding areas. Like the RAF, the bombs dropped included a high proportion of incendiaries.

    The aftermath of the raids is discussed at some length, including the casualty figures. Previous writers have claimed various numbers, from about 25,000 to as many as 250,000 killed. The evidence is reviewed and the author states his opinion of the best estimate - between 25,000 and 40,000, which is actually consistent with the figures from other firestorm raids, including Hamburg.

    Other legends are debunked at some length, including the story that part of the USAAF fighter force with the bombers strafed Dresden.

    In my opinion, this book is a valuable corrective to other writers, such as David Irving and others, who are responsible for many of the myths which have grown over the years.

    Also, by telling us about Dresden both before and after the raids, it places the bombing in context.

    Taylor is a writer of some skill and I found his style very readable.

    My verdict: if you are interested in the history of air warfare in WWII, this book is for you.

    I expect it to be attacked by those who use Dresden as part of the myth of the "German holocaust", because it undermines their position, but with 30 pages of endnotes and an extensive bibliography, this is source based history and any future writers will need to come up with new research if they want to challenge Taylor.
     
  20. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    For those interested who haven't read these. Excellent, well worth the time.:)

    The Middelbrook works, including the Bomber Command diaries, are rivetting. It's like reading a minute-by-minute account, from both sides, of these raids, so that you almost know which bomber dropped which bombs on whose heads, and the fighter that shot the bomber down. Amazing research. And he started off as a farmer who was just interested in Somme veterans.

    They are models of writing and research.

    Deighton tries to do the same thing with a fictional air raid on a fictional day (June 31, 1943), in everything that can go wrong does, and that's seen in the book...every character's life hits a life turning point that day, all ironic, usually for the worse. The destruction of a small town by RAF bombs is the ultimate irony of the book. As usual in Deighton's novels, everyone has a double agenda and is double-dealing, which can be annoying. And his real villains in the piece are two British officers, the Group Captain, a Colonel Blimp type, and Flt. Lt. Sweet, a blond public-school cad who patronizes his subordinates and brown-noses his superiors to cover his incompetence.

    Everyone in the book seems to get theirs, whether they deserve it or not, usually by surprise or irony. Oddly, the only open thread at the end of the book is the ultimate fate of the little town...you're not quite sure if it was rebuilt in any way.
     

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