Keith Lowe

Raiding History

Coventry: Thursday, 14 November 1940

By Frederick Taylor

Bloomsbury 356pp £20 order from our bookshop

The problem with iconic events is that myths stick to them like Velcro. Consequently, historians who write about them often have to expend as much energy writing about things that did not happen as about things that did.

Frederick Taylor is used to encountering this problem. In one of his previous books, about the bombing of Dresden, he went to great lengths to show that the raid wasn’t a meaningless attack without military merit, that the Allies didn’t strafe civilians as they fled to safety, and that the death toll was never anywhere near as high as the oft-quoted quarter of a million (the actual figure was almost certainly ten times less, at around 25,000).

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