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Darkness Falls from the Air Paperback

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Product Details

  • Series: Cassell Military Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell (October 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304359696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304359691
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,027,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

During the Second World War Nigel Balchin worked as a psychologist in the personnel section of the British War Office, before becoming Deputy Scientific Advisor to the Army Council. He wrote numerous books, including THE SMALL BACK ROOM, also published by Cassell. He died in 1970.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr Peter G George on April 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Darkness Falls from the Air was first published in 1942. It was written while the bombing it describes was still going on, written when the outcome of the war was as yet undecided. This fact makes it a very different sort of novel to those written later and looking back on the same events. Balchin's writing has an immediacy which can not be recaptured by someone writing years later. He is writing before the London Blitz became mythologized by subsequent generations. His account avoids the clichés of London's heroic resistance and gives the reader a sense of what living through the air raids must have been like.
The story concerns Bill Sarratt who works in the civil service. He recognises that the bureaucracy which has built up during peacetime is harming the war effort and constantly fights to make his colleagues and superiors see that reform is necessary. He is continually frustrated by vested interests and incompetence. Balchin's attack on the petty functionaries who run the country rings true. It is amazing really, given wartime censorship and the demands of propaganda, that he was allowed to write it at all.
Sarratt also has marital difficulties. His wife Marcia is having an affair with a sensitive but weak man. Sarratt deals with this triangular relationship by allowing his wife to do as she pleases. All three meet up periodically and everyone is extremely polite on the surface, but the tensions are there and inevitably come to the surface. Balchin's account of a marriage in trouble is as interesting as his descriptions of the Blitz. The manners of these people, the way they interact, seem to come from a world as remote as the world of Jane Austen. Balchin again avoids cliché. He avoids moralizing. Marcia is a sympathetic character and is not condemned.
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