Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Changing Tides

Autumn is upon us  and the nights are closing in whilst Halloween and Guy Fawkes beckon. Dewy grass is now an early morning feature and my fire is back in use.

Having been sick for more than a week with some fabulously strange cold virus, I think I'm now turning the corner. I'm now back at my keyboard, thinking of all those words lost in the last ten days so there's a lot of catching up to do. I've also been busy salvaging some video footage of my trip to Carlisle airport when the Spitfire and Hurricane dropped in to refuel, back in August. Having ran out of batteries for the camera and then discovered that the disc in the camcorder was faulty, all I'm left with is some very amateurish footage on my phone. Disappointed but there's always next year to get it right. So, if you wish to take a look at the old historic kites, please enjoy what there is. (at least there's the sound of those Merlin engines.)

Whilst I've been sick, it hasn't been entirely unproductive. Illness paves the way for reading and I've discovered an interesting author. He's not new, he is in fact Max Hastings. Of writing heritage, he has written and published numerous books about both world wars. I'm presently reading one of his oldies, Bomber Command, first published back in 1979. I often read biographical accounts of war, but generally they can be a little heavy and dull, if I'm honest. Personal accounts written by those who served are sometimes very interesting, informative and exhilarating reads.

However, what Hastings manages to do is to tell the story effectively. It's an historical account, with the personal experience entwined. In places, it seems as though you're reading historical fiction. It's a great book and he has a fabulous writers voice - a storyteller. Having conducted more than 100 interviews of aircrew from 1939-1945, he retells their personal accounts with harrowing detail. One also gains an overview of the tactical strategies of the air war but it's done in such a way so as not to be over bearing. Put simply, the book bears some of the life and soul of the men who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War. It's definitely worth reading and it has a place on my shelf.
Bomber Command (Pan Military Classics)

Book Description

Bomber Command's offensive against the cities of Germany was one of the epic campaigns of the Second World War. More than 56,000 British and Commonwealth aircrew and 600,000 Germans died in the course of the RAF's attempt to win the war by bombing. The struggle began in 1939 with a few score primitive Whitleys, Hampdens and Wellingtons, and ended six years later with 1,600 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Mosquitoes razing whole cities in a single night. Max Hastings traced the developments of area bombing using a wealth of documnets, letters, diaries and interviews with key surviving witnesses. Bomber Command is his classic account of one of the most controversial struggles of the war.

About the Author

Max Hastings, author of over twenty books, has been editor of the Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard. He has received many awards for his journalism and was knighted in 2002.