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Book captured the imagination of the battles over Britain, great book


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Book captured the imagination of the battles over Britain, great book

30 review for Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Vincent

    Fighter - Thre True Story of the Battle of Britain Recommended. As its title obviously implies, this book is about the Battle of Britain. It is a general overview of the battle as seen from both side of the Channel and makes for an interesting introductory reading. Those who have a thorough knowledge of the battle will find it brings an interesting perspective and a good read, but not much "new" informations per see. The book is made of five parts: 1- Strategy 2- Air Chief Sir Hugh Dowding, Commande Fighter - Thre True Story of the Battle of Britain Recommended. As its title obviously implies, this book is about the Battle of Britain. It is a general overview of the battle as seen from both side of the Channel and makes for an interesting introductory reading. Those who have a thorough knowledge of the battle will find it brings an interesting perspective and a good read, but not much "new" informations per see. The book is made of five parts: 1- Strategy 2- Air Chief Sir Hugh Dowding, Commander in Chief Fighter Command 3- Weapons: The Metal Monoplane and Radar 4- Tactics 5- The results It aslo includes a short selected bibliography. The author is a good writer, and the pace of the story keeps you into it all along. The book goes into the most important elements of the battle, from RAF and Luftwaffe high command problems, intents and ambitions, its technical side, to the way it's been fought, up to its results. As with most books on the BoB, the misfortune of Dowding is ever-present, and one can safely assume Deighton is rather sanguine about this (and so Leigh-Mallory and Bader each get 'sort of' a beating). It does have a few shortcomings though. The most important is the lack of footnotes/endnotes. It's not possible to know where Deighton got his information, and as such, it cannot be considered a "true" histroical work. This is especially true when Deighton write about the role of Ultra intercepts during the battle, refering to "Nonsenses" that have been written about this, without saying just what he refers to (My guess is Anthony Cave Brown's "Bodyguard of Lies"). Deighton, for example, refering to the infamous Coventry bombing during the night of the 14-15 November, dismiss the idea that Churchill was aware - through Ultra - of its impending occurence, explaining the horrific efficiency of the raid through a failed british attempt to jam the X-Gerät guiding device that actually helped the German formations instead of confusing them. That may well be the case, but good historian practice requires one to actually offer arguments to counter previous thesis. Sneering hardly cuts it. This also leads to the second irritating aspect of the book: Deighton write as if he was the first to do so, without mentionning previous work on the matter. This would have help put his own book in perspective, but as stated above, the book, being aimed at a large audience, is really more a vulgarisation. All in all, I definitely recommend this book as a quick, interesting read on the Battle of Britain. Jean-Vincent Roy

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    This was one of a projected series of twelve factual books I believe, that Deighton intended to write about the history of WW 2. As he now appears to have retired from writing we are left with just some. One of the problems of reviewing non fiction works is whether you rate on accuracy, or as a good read, or both. On the basis of ' both ' I based my rating. Again his capabilities for research into his subject shows through, excellent.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Passingham

    This is without doubt the best book on this subject I have ever read. It is not only impeccably researched but it also explodes many myths that have grown out of propaganda and are widely regarded as truths. I am re-reading this yet again for research purposes mainly

  4. 4 out of 5

    Reverenddave

    Full of interesting facts but an oddly disjointed book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leif

    This book has the kind of writing I wish all war-books had. Fascinating descriptions of the planes, the weapons, and the people involved. Very fair to both the RAF and the Luftwaffe...I don't know if I've ever seen such an even-handed approach. One of the few military histories I would recommend to a friend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Though more of an exposition than a narrative, Fighter provided me a lot of meat in terms of the conditions the pilots faced, the strengths and limitations of each aircraft involved as well as the myriad personalities of men of all ranks who fought in the Battle of Britain.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    This covers the development of the Spitfire, Hurricane, and Bf 109, radar, combat tactics of the Luftwaffe and RAF, and the personalities of the strategic decision makers on both sides of the Channel all with an extremely readable light touch.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter Jochinger

    The early part of this book delved mostly on the technical part of aviation and airplane design. Past this dialogue one had a very precise account of the Battle of Briton. Great for historical reference.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Graeme

    Very detailed account of the Battle of Britain; its leaders, the equipment, the tactics, and the outcomes.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence Molloy

    A MUST read for anyone wanting to know about the Battle of Britian

  11. 4 out of 5

    Denise Cumming

    Great non-fiction about the people who made sure the Brits won the air battle against the Nazis.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jones

    English resourcefulness and innovation was key to resisting German aggression.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Tschirhart

    Mr. Deighton writes a superb history of the Battle of Britain. Excellent reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael Romo

    Fighter is Len Deighton’s analysis of the battle of Britain. His analysis goes along way towards dispelling some of the myths surrounding this epic battle. A worthwhile read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Neil

    best book i have ever read on ww2 battle for the air in Britain! Len went into great detail from interviews to govt. records. Written well and keeps you going1 Learned a lot!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Peter Brimacombe

    The Battle of Britain remains the most compelling story of warfare. it was one of the decisive battles of the Second World War. It was the first significant defeat of Nazi Germany. I read the whole book carefully. The most telling passage was on page 338: "Inevitably the war grew larger and larger. Before it ended, the Luftwaffe was to lose, in one day's combat, the same number of planes that it lost in the whole summer of 1940." The German high command did not take the Battle of Britain seriousl The Battle of Britain remains the most compelling story of warfare. it was one of the decisive battles of the Second World War. It was the first significant defeat of Nazi Germany. I read the whole book carefully. The most telling passage was on page 338: "Inevitably the war grew larger and larger. Before it ended, the Luftwaffe was to lose, in one day's combat, the same number of planes that it lost in the whole summer of 1940." The German high command did not take the Battle of Britain seriously, for them it was a case of heads we win, tails it doesn't matter. They were wrong. Five years later Germany was pounded into submission, its armies destroyed, its cities in ruins. Hermann Goring was the worst. From page 341 "Galland described the log cabin made of huge tree trunks, with a thatched roof jutting far over the eaves. Goring came out of the house to meet me, wearing a green suede hunting jacket over a silk blouse with long, puffed sleeves, high hunting boots, and in his belt a hunting knife in the shape of an old Germanic sword. That night no mention was made either of the war in general or the Battle of Britain in particular." For the man in charge, Goring just wasn't that interested. The Third Reich seemed to raise up petty and vindictive men such as Erhard Milch who persecuted his mentor Professor Hugo Junkers. The German high command collectively bear responsibility for the German defeat. In agreeing to the Battle in the first place, for failing to take it seriously and ordering that the development of the jet engine be stopped. It was Milch who ordered that the production of the Messerschmitt 109 proceed at full speed even thought the Focke-Wulf FW 190 was superior. In contrast the British commanders did take their job seriously. Notably Hugh Dowding and Keith Park. Both had a vision for defending Britain and did so at the cost of their careers. Astonishingly they were both sacked at the conclusion of the Battle of Britain. A personal note: when I first started at Agriculture Canada the Director of the Land Division Pete Clarke made a singularly brilliant decision to acquire ESRI's Arc/Info software. The software was the basis of my career for the next 20 years and was widely adopted throughout the Department. Astonishingly like Dowding and Park, Pete Clarke was dismissed from his post once the software was acquired.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Victor Gibson

    This book apparently took the author seven years to research and write. It was published in 1977 almost thirty years ago, so it is itself now part of the history of the Second World War. Len Deighton was able to interview some of the people who had actually participated in the Battle of Britain on both sides and there is a picture of him with one of the German fighter aces amongst the photographs. The biographies of the participants are a revelation, as is the rivalry not only between the German This book apparently took the author seven years to research and write. It was published in 1977 almost thirty years ago, so it is itself now part of the history of the Second World War. Len Deighton was able to interview some of the people who had actually participated in the Battle of Britain on both sides and there is a picture of him with one of the German fighter aces amongst the photographs. The biographies of the participants are a revelation, as is the rivalry not only between the Germans and the British, but also between participants on the same side. Errors on both sides are highlighted as are their successes. I was surprised to learn that even in the 1970s the numbers of aircraft shot down by whom and when on both sides were still in dispute. It could be that the whole battle which took place during the summer of 1940 was futile, since it was based on an outside possibility that there might be going to be an invasion of Britain, for which the other German forces were not prepared, particularly the navy which had suffered considerable losses by this time. It is a very informative read, whether you are a student of WWII or just interested, although the edition I read had a limited number of photographs in it. I was familiar with the Spitfire, the Hurricane and the Gloster Gladiator on the British side, but was unfamiliar with the German fighters which were not well illustrated so it would have been an advantage had I trawled through the internet for photos of the Messerschmitt BF 109, 110 etc. before starting the book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    S.

    contrary to the GR listing, published 1977. possibly to some degree a 3 star is warranted, a notch off Beevor or Atkinson in war writing (although the latter two are writing several decades later), certainly better than Deighton's fiction. very detailed, complex account of battle of britain that clearly eliminates the simplistic "british had better octane fuel" "germany should have attacked factories" explanations. point by point, the twists and turns of the battle of the BMW Messerschmitt 109s contrary to the GR listing, published 1977. possibly to some degree a 3 star is warranted, a notch off Beevor or Atkinson in war writing (although the latter two are writing several decades later), certainly better than Deighton's fiction. very detailed, complex account of battle of britain that clearly eliminates the simplistic "british had better octane fuel" "germany should have attacked factories" explanations. point by point, the twists and turns of the battle of the BMW Messerschmitt 109s and 110s vs. Hurricanes and Spitfires. the familiar aspects of the air-war, "the race to build more fighters;" the relative failure of the 110s heavy-fighter concept (too heavy to dogfight, too light to bomb), the mixed-reception of the hurricanes themselves (all kills attributed by German casualties to spitfires as matter of pride) are covered, as the minute decisions of Fighter Command and Goering. for the military buff; for the aviation specialist; for the ww2 reader.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This is a thorough history of the Battle of Britain which takes the reader from the transition from biplane to monoplane fighters through what happened to key leaders in both the Luftwaffe and the RAF after the Battle of Britain. The author sets the scene well by tracing the rise of the Luftwaffe, technological developments in aircraft design and radar and the internal politics in both the Luftwaffe and the RAF. The descriptions of the daily events during the Battle of Britain are a surprisingly This is a thorough history of the Battle of Britain which takes the reader from the transition from biplane to monoplane fighters through what happened to key leaders in both the Luftwaffe and the RAF after the Battle of Britain. The author sets the scene well by tracing the rise of the Luftwaffe, technological developments in aircraft design and radar and the internal politics in both the Luftwaffe and the RAF. The descriptions of the daily events during the Battle of Britain are a surprisingly small portion of this book. But because of the author's engaging style, he'll keep your interest and you'll learn a lot. One criticism of the paperback edition I read is that it's hard to read a lot of the details in the legends of several of the maps. This probably isn't a problem in the hardcover edition. An amusing inclusion are several caricatures of key Luftwaffe leaders by one of their own, Ernst Udet. If you're only going to read one book about the Battle of Britain this would be a good choice.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Iain

    Len Deighton has an interesting style. I find he often brings up points or individuals that no one else has ever mentioned, and then stresses their importance with hyperbole. In this work, he largely contains that tendency though he ranges far-and-wide topically. Covering, as an example, the evolution of the airplane itself. During which he mentions the man who built the Wright brother's engine and makes the claim that he "was more important as a pioneer of powered flight than were the Wright br Len Deighton has an interesting style. I find he often brings up points or individuals that no one else has ever mentioned, and then stresses their importance with hyperbole. In this work, he largely contains that tendency though he ranges far-and-wide topically. Covering, as an example, the evolution of the airplane itself. During which he mentions the man who built the Wright brother's engine and makes the claim that he "was more important as a pioneer of powered flight than were the Wright brothers." (p56) That tendency aside, I appreciated Deighton's coverage of the numerous technologies and tactics employed by both sides in the conflict. His comparisons of the aircraft involved and coverage of the personalities on both sides of the Channel was excellent as well. Finally, the book has great illustrations throughout. Bottom line, this is an approachable, engaging, and informative book on the Battle of Britain.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This is quite a fascinating book - meticulously researched and, in Deighton's tradition, extremely well written. He covers the summer (June through September) of 1940, the Battle of Britain.In separate sections, he covers the strategy, people, weapons, tactics and results in an unbiased and thorough manner. He shows why and how this battle was won and lost (as all battles are) and exposes some of the blunders and incompetence and incompetents that led to victory and defeat and some of the implic This is quite a fascinating book - meticulously researched and, in Deighton's tradition, extremely well written. He covers the summer (June through September) of 1940, the Battle of Britain.In separate sections, he covers the strategy, people, weapons, tactics and results in an unbiased and thorough manner. He shows why and how this battle was won and lost (as all battles are) and exposes some of the blunders and incompetence and incompetents that led to victory and defeat and some of the implications for the further aspects of the war. He also explodes some myths, for example that the British allowed the Coventry raid in order to protect their decoding of Ultra messages - not so, it was a technical blunder associated with the jamming of the German radio guidance beams. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in WW2 or in how personalities shaped a historic conflict.

  22. 5 out of 5

    nicdavdi

    I reread this after a few years having just finished Stephen Bungay's The Most Dangerous Enemy. Deighton is very good on the technical aspects of the battle: machines,technical details and tactics. He gives you a very clear idea of the state of the two sides but doesn't address as clearly as Bungay the bigger picture. One quibble is that Deighton believes the RAF were closer to losing the battle than Bungay. It's always going to be a point of argument and to some extent it doesn't matter. The RA I reread this after a few years having just finished Stephen Bungay's The Most Dangerous Enemy. Deighton is very good on the technical aspects of the battle: machines,technical details and tactics. He gives you a very clear idea of the state of the two sides but doesn't address as clearly as Bungay the bigger picture. One quibble is that Deighton believes the RAF were closer to losing the battle than Bungay. It's always going to be a point of argument and to some extent it doesn't matter. The RAF by surviving prevented Hitler from getting into a position where he could either invade (unlikely) or force peace terms if the Germans did gain air superiority. He also illustrates the shocking treatment given to Dowding and Park aftere the battle was won. Another example of British establishment stupidity.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Matt Ossip

    I have read this book now 3 times, and each time I read it I like it less. When I was younger and more easily impressed I enjoyed the quick style and the matchbook sketches of the main players in what was later called the Battle of Britain. Now... I find them painfully underdeveloped and shallow. They are caricatures of the people, almost, rather then a true examination of (for example) Goering's reasoning and strategy for the engagement. This is true for pretty much everyone in the book except I have read this book now 3 times, and each time I read it I like it less. When I was younger and more easily impressed I enjoyed the quick style and the matchbook sketches of the main players in what was later called the Battle of Britain. Now... I find them painfully underdeveloped and shallow. They are caricatures of the people, almost, rather then a true examination of (for example) Goering's reasoning and strategy for the engagement. This is true for pretty much everyone in the book except for Hugh Dowding, and even his biography is little more than you could find on Wikipedia. The technical aspects also leave me cold. What seemed fascinating in 1985 now seems a bit under investigated and in some places even incorrect. All in all I cannot recommend this book as a serious history, and barely recommend it as an enjoyable afternoon of reading.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    I've read and reviewed Bomber by the same author, which was excellent, so I was hoping for more of the same when I got my hands on this book. It turns out that this book is a history of the Battle of Britain in World War II, and not a WWII novel like Bomber. I like history though, so I wasn't much disappointed. Mr Deighton's analysis seems very thorough, and his presentation is excellent; the book never seems to bog down, and it does an excellent job of putting you in the heads of the historical I've read and reviewed Bomber by the same author, which was excellent, so I was hoping for more of the same when I got my hands on this book. It turns out that this book is a history of the Battle of Britain in World War II, and not a WWII novel like Bomber. I like history though, so I wasn't much disappointed. Mr Deighton's analysis seems very thorough, and his presentation is excellent; the book never seems to bog down, and it does an excellent job of putting you in the heads of the historical characters. I very much enjoyed the read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Hill

    Deighton does a good job of providing the background to the Battle - the development of the aircraft, organization of the air forces, and the advance of radar and other technologies. This background, in fact, is almost exactly half the book. The descriptions of the Battle, the daily combats, is limited to the 100 pages of Part Four: Tactics. The book is not footnoted but the selected bibliography points us to some personal narratives that might be interesting. I also liked the nice two-color map Deighton does a good job of providing the background to the Battle - the development of the aircraft, organization of the air forces, and the advance of radar and other technologies. This background, in fact, is almost exactly half the book. The descriptions of the Battle, the daily combats, is limited to the 100 pages of Part Four: Tactics. The book is not footnoted but the selected bibliography points us to some personal narratives that might be interesting. I also liked the nice two-color maps and drawings interspersed throughout the text.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Another great read from one of the best authors on world war 2. A thoroughly researched and constructed account of the Battle of Britain with enough technical information and personal accounts to keep fans of both adequately satisfied. The highlight (or lowlight) for me was the exposure of the awful treatment of Hugh Dowding and Keith Park at the hands of Leigh- Mallory, Bader and the top brass of the R.A.F. One of the more shameful things to dull what was for Britain a small light in a sea of d Another great read from one of the best authors on world war 2. A thoroughly researched and constructed account of the Battle of Britain with enough technical information and personal accounts to keep fans of both adequately satisfied. The highlight (or lowlight) for me was the exposure of the awful treatment of Hugh Dowding and Keith Park at the hands of Leigh- Mallory, Bader and the top brass of the R.A.F. One of the more shameful things to dull what was for Britain a small light in a sea of darkness.

  27. 4 out of 5

    KOMET

    This book offers one of the finest analyses of the Battle of Britain I've ever read. Len Deighton has a well-deserved reputation for the thoroughness of research and study he applies to his subject and for both the clarity and quality of his writing. I unreservedly recommend this book for any student of the Second World War, as well as any military aviation enthusiast.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matx

    An interesting insight into this section of the war (Battle of Britain). Hard to get into at first, but soon had me absorbed. Amazing that both the Brits and the Germans were so unfocused, with one exception - without which, is it possible to think that both sides could have lost the Battle of Britain?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Edmond Barrett

    An excellent introduction to the Battle of Britain, covering the people, the air battles and the technology involved. This really is a book for both a new comer to the topic and those who already know a lot of the background.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David

    Somewhat boring but yet very informative regarding the fight over Englands skies during WWll. Perhaps way too much detail for me to enjoy as I bogged down too often. Did learn a few things I never new however.

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