From Publishers Weekly
De Bruhl puts his experience as a book editor to good use in this narrative of the still-controversial bombing of Dresden in 1945. Making comprehensive, sophisticated use of archival records and published sources, De Bruhl reminds readers that although Dresden's museums, churches and porcelain factories made it one of Germany's loveliest cities, there was still a war on when Allied bombers targeted the manufacturing and communications center for the Nazi war machine. Recognizing what he calls "the fatal escalation" of the air war against German civilians, De Bruhl also demonstrates the time, effort and blood it cost to establish air superiority over Germany. He establishes the determination of the Third Reich's leaders to continue the war at all costs—a demand the German people accepted. He also examines the often-overlooked V-Weapons campaign mounted against Britain in June 1944, which silenced those Britons who questioned mass bombing of civilians. Certainly neither the British nor the American air forces had any compunction at mounting the raid De Bruhl describes as "theory put into flawless practice." When the last bombers left, Dresden was no longer a major producer of armaments. In a war begun by Germany, that was—and is—the bottom line. (Dec. 5)
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A comparison of Frederick Taylor's Dresden
(2004) to this new history reveals the benefits of acquiring both titles. Dresden, Taylor makes plain, the city synonymous with -baroque music and architecture, was also a city of ardent Nazis and arms factories. Taylor, a specialist on the Nazi period, is better at depicting the city's political and military attributes, which defenders of the air raids seize upon. De Bruhl proves to be strong on the Anglo-American strategy of strategic bombing in World War II, personified by Arthur "Bomber" Harris, commander of the British effort. Harris did not have scruples about solving the inaccuracy of their airpower by bombing the whole area. De Bruhl underscores that Harris was not a loose cannon, and casts the actual Dresden attack as a culmination of the air war. One of WWII's most controversial military actions, Dresden and the debate about it can't be grasped without considering the arguments of both titles. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved