The Bombers and the Bombed by Richard Overy
reviewed by Marc Schulman
The Bombers and the Bombed is an excellent overview of the Bombing Campaign over Europe during World War II. While there have been many excellent books written over the past 60 years on the air campaigns of World War II none that I have seen presents such an excellent overview of the campaign. Many of the books that I have read over the years have tended to examine specific elements of the campaign, but none have presented the broad overview that this book presents,
It opens up with vignette telling the story of an almost lost story of World War II, the British bombing of Bulgaria towards the end of the war. That bombing campaign, whose aim was political, shows both the effectiveness and the limitation of the bombing campaigns. The book then goes through a very thorough history of the development of first the British Bomber Command followed by the development of the US Eight Bomber Command.
One of the strongest points that come across from the book is how convinced those in charge of strategic bomber were that their efforts could be decisive and how wrong they were. One of the most interesting fact that is pointed out, is how the British Air Commander were quite cognizant of the fact that the German bombing of Great Britain had only served to strengthen British resolve, and yet they were sure it would have the opposite effect on the German people.
Much has changed since World War II and today’s smart bombs overcome one of the major failures of Strategic Bombing during World War II- its inaccuracy, However The Bomber and the Bombed serves as a warning to all those who believe air campaign alone can win wars.
For anyone looking for an overview of the air campaign in Europe- I highly recommend this book
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