Frederick Taylor

Grim Gallantry

Bomber Boys

By

HarperPress 429pp £20 order from our bookshop

The role of the RAF aircrew, who manned the Bomber Command aircraft that inflicted indescribable destruction on the cities of Hitler’s Germany, has been highlighted by a wave of new books on the Second World War in the air, many published to mark the sixtieth anniversary of that conflict’s end.

Most have been written in English, but an increasing number have appeared in German. Chief, or perhaps most notorious, among these German writers has been Jörg Friedrich. The Fire (German: Der Brand), first published in 2002 and recently translated (see LR, March), is a thorough and – when he stops beating the drum of victimhood – affecting account of the sufferings of Germany’s civilians, around half a million of whom died as a result of Allied bombing. The Fire is based on secondary sources and oral history collections, often gathered years after the war by local history groups. Almost all of this material had been available in specialist and regional studies, but Herr Friedrich did the general public a service by collecting it into a single volume. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,