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Saving Britain by Patrick Bishop. In the summer ofthe future of Britain and the free world depended on the morale and skill of the young men of Fighter Command.
This is their story. The Battle of Britain is one of the most crucial battles ever fought, and the victory of Fighter Command over the Luftwaffe has always been celebrated as a classic feat of arms.
But, as Patrick Bishop shows in this superb In the summer ofthe future of Britain and the free world depended on the morale and skill of the young men of Fighter Command.
But, as Patrick Bishop shows in this superb history, it was also a triumph of the spirit in which the attitudes of the pilots themselves played a crucial part. Reaching beyond the myths to convey the fear and exhilaration of life on this most perilous of frontlines, Patrick Bishop offers an intimate and compelling account that is a soaring tribute to the exceptional young men of Fighter Command.
Paperbackpages. Published April 5th by Harper Perennial first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Fighter Boysplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Jun 01, Kevin rated it really liked it Shelves: I would describe this book as more of a social history rather than a military history, although it is that too.
The primary focus of Fighter Boys is the pilots who took part in one of Britain’s most famous World War Two victories – the Battle of Britain during I suppose everyone is familiar with this tale of ‘The Few’ against the might of the Luftwaffe, whose aim originally was to knock out the RAF as a prelude to a Channel invasion, which failed quite drastically.
By the end of it wa I would describe this book as more of a social history rather than a military history, although it is that too. By the end of it was over, and Operation Sealion, the code-name for the invasion, was shelved and forgot about due to quite crippling losses the Luftwaffe sustained by the skill of the pilots of the RAF, as well as Germany preparing for the invasion of Russia in I think Hitler wanted Britain to sue for peace more than embarking on an actual invasion if he did manage to knock out the RAF, he still would have had to deal with the Royal Navy.
However, through staunch determination, skill, great aircraft design at least with the Spitfire and Hurricanesthe might of the Luftwaffe were thwarted in every way, suffering deadly, irreplaceable losses, just as much as the RAF in many ways.
The book contains many first hand accounts from survivors, and I found that you become attached to some of their stories and characters. It begins with the formation of the Royal Flying Corps during WW1, the interwar years and the RAF Volunteer Reserves which proved essential during to have a stream of replaceable trained pilots duringbut not on a mass scale.
It really starts with the Battle of France and Dunkirk and the massive casualties the RAF received at the hands of the more skilled Germans, who had some veteran pilots having served both in Spain and Poland.
The book focuses also on the class basis of the pilots, and there is a general understanding that most came from Middle to Upper Class backgrounds and Public educated men. Whilst this is true to a large extent, many pilots also came from upper-working class backgrounds, and their average age was between 18 to 25 years old.
I think there was certainly an ‘elitist’ attitude amongst the ‘Fighter Boys’, as they were known as at the time, but also a great camaraderie within their ranks too. Many personal accounts are contained here, some quite chilling, detailing some gruesome ends of shot-down pilots. There is a technical aspect to the book too, reading about the differences between the handling of a Spitfire and a Hurricane was quite interesting, as well as their improving tactics as they, outnumbered usually, faced hundreds of Messerschmidt s and bombers.
The RAF was also an international force, having pilots from New Zealand, Australia, Poland the famous squadron and Canada and America 11 from America served prior to their being involved in WW2, so maybe the film Pearl Harbour had just a little bit of accuracy which I once dismissed as a patriotic film that skewed the truth.
As the Battle of Britain developed, with the Luftwaffe switching from attacking RAF bases to bombing industrial cities such as London etc, the ‘Fighter Boys’ started to gain an almost romantic appeal within Britain – they were seen as heroes and had a more laid back discipline than the other Army ranks, allowing to wear their top button undone and kitted out in a more personal touch than what was allowed for other services.
The losses amongst the pilots however was staggering in all regards leave alone the larger losses the Germans received. Of 2, men who served in Fighter Command during the summer ofwere killed and another died before the war was over.
After the Battle of Britain was won and Hitler withdrew most of his Luftwaffe to the Russian adventure, Fighter Command had to escort bombing raids against Northern France and Fighter Sweeps, that also inflicted a lot of casualties and imprisonment as they were no longer over safe shores – and these were veteran pilots hard to replace. An interesting social history more than anything, and as I said you become attached to some of the pilots throughout the book which makes it a page turner and very readable.
I recommend just for the pilots stories, plus you get a semi-chronological history too about the main events of and development of steephen RAF. The Battle of Britain was one of the seminal events of the 20th century. It was a battle inglatefra which Britain was fighting for its very survival throughout the summer and autumn of against a brutal, authoritarian regime the Third Reich which bestrode Norway and Western Europe as a seemingly unbeatable Colossus following its blitzkrieg victories of the spring.
This was a battle in which air power for the first time in warfare was the decisive element in a military campaign. Patrick Bishop does The Battle of Britain was one of the seminal events of the 20th century. Patrick L does a masterful job in evoking the personalities, aircraft, and spirit of RAF Fighter Command Britain’s defender and its nemesis, the Luftwaffe. A History of the Battle of Britain ” which I had the pleasure of reading a decade agothis is one of the most readable, poignant, bhngay comprehensive accounts of the Battle of Britain likely to be found anywhere.
I would recommend it not just for aviation enthusiasts or students of the Second World War. But also for anyone who loves to read stories of compelling human interest.
This is a book to be cherished and reread again and again, with thanks and gratitude. Nov 08, K. Weiland rated it really liked it. During the German Operation Sealion and the Blitz over London inthey were the only thread that held their country together.
In this remarkable book, Bishop has pulled together the lives of these men—most of them barely old enough to shave—and bound them together within the epic story of a world at war. His tale begins slowly, outlining the birth of fighter pilots during World War I and exploring the world of the RAF before the outbreak of hostilities.
Faster and faster the story spirals until we, natalla by side with these boy pilots, are swept onto the battlefronts of France and, eventually, the desperate Battle of Britain. Wonderfully researched and documented, Fighter Boys is a definitive look into the lives of a most extraordinary group of men. Mar 19, Skylar rated it it was amazing.
This was one of the first histories of the Battle of Britain which I started to read, and it was a work which I put aside, came back to, and put down again, and eventually finished about a month or two later. Many books I stop reading are never finished so it is partly a testament to the stephhen of this work that I returned to it several times.
It provides valuable insight into the lives of the pilots, analysing social and psychological dimensions. One of the most memorable sections focuses on This was one of the first histories of the Battle of Britain which I started to read, and it was a work which I put aside, came back to, and put down again, and eventually finished about a month or two later. One of the most memorable sections focuses on the struggle of many to overcome the terror of facing a vastly numerically superior enemy.
Another section discusses the irony of many of the pilots’ experiences of mortal combat contrasted with their lack of sexual experience. Through these details, the fragility of the pilots’ humanity stepyen excellently conveyed. Although many parts of this work were fascinating, there was a certain lack of narrative coherence in the structure which meant that I was not sufficiently motivated to continue reading in places, but which also meant that it was relatively easy to re-commence my reading.
In retrospect, I think interspersing the reading of this book with complementary reading of pilots’ biographies, oral histories, and chronological accounts was an excellent batalls to build up a more nuanced picture of the pilots and the Battle of Britain. Sep 19, Randhir rated it really liked it.
A book with the voice of those who took part in the Battle of Britain. Absolutely authentic, poignant, replete with great courage and tragedy. The last chapter is particularly moving. The Author traces the history of Fighter Command as it struggled to prepare itself against what was coming despite, at time, contrary demands of Churchill.
As the toll mounts, Air Marshal Hugh Dowding, at Fighter Command tries to keep up the strength of his squadrons knowing fully well that the great German Effort A book with the voice of those who took part in the Battle of Britain.
As the toll mounts, Air Marshal Hugh Dowding, at Fighter Command tries to keep up the strength of his squadrons knowing fully well that the great German Effort was yet to come.
Between him and Air Commodore Keith Park, they organise, hone tactics, the early warning and reporting systems, so that when ‘Eagle Day’ arrives, Fighter Command is just about ready. And as has often happened, once they have saved the day, they are discarded. History has, however, been kind to them. It is the Fighter Boys, from all walks of life, who step up to save Britain who are the real heroes. As one of them mentioned, when flying above the green fields of Britain, the protective instinct was so great that they were willing to throw away their lives, remaining debonair, at times diffident, laughing, reckless and always ready to go to it.
Britain wont forget them and so must we not if we value pure courage and love of our land Jul 29, Layla Ashby rated it it was amazing Shelves: Rather than writing another account of the battle from a tactical or strategic perspective, Bishops writes a sort of group biography of the Fighter Boys.
The battle itself gets fair treatment, for sure, but this is a history of the pilots, not the battle. Commissions went to the nobility and to the rising gentry. Private soldiers and seamen were from the working classes. The relative egalitarianism of the pilot ranks battalla part of the stage being set for a post-war society.
Bishop surveys the wealth of diaries, interviews, and memoirs left behind by the the pilots.
He gives us their impression of training and battle. He lets of ride along as they party, go on leave, and fall in love. He gives us a glimpse of their camaraderie and the loss they felt and did not feel when a fellow pilot was killed.
The breadth and depth of the source materials allows Bishop to paint a convincing portrait of the pilots who dealt Hitler his first real loss and who allowed Britain to remain the European center of Allied activity against Germany. Mar 23, Caroline rated it really liked it Shelves: The Battle of Britain is one of the mythologised events that everyone growing up in Britain knows something about: Even today I still get a curious tingle down my spine when I see a Spitfire overheard – there’s just something about those planes, and a large part of that is because of this myth, a myth that Churchill deliberately created almost before the fighting had even begun.
He was a man who understood how important myth and legend can be, especially The Battle of Britain is one of the mythologised events that everyone growing up in Britain knows something about: He was a man who understood how important myth and legend can be, especially when stiffening morale and defiance.
This is more of an anecdotal history than a systematic recitation of facts and figures.