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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expertly Presented and Highly Engaging New History by WWII Scholar
An excellent study of the bombing campaign in Europe during the Second World War that is presented with Professor Richard Overy's usual brilliance, insight, and engaging style. Overy has spent a lifetime studying the war and his book, Why the Allies Won, has become a classic reference since its first publication 25 years ago. Making use of records and documents...
Published 9 months ago by SanFran JT

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115 of 121 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the same book published in England
The U.S. edition of this book is significantly different from the first edition published in England. It's missing the first four chapters and Chapter 10. It also appears to have split Chapter 6 in the UK edition into two chapters. Why? The UK edition has 880 pages, the US edition 592 pages. Shame on Viking Press. Buy the English edition and shun this one.
Published 9 months ago by am52user


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115 of 121 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the same book published in England, February 24, 2014
This review is from: The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 (Hardcover)
The U.S. edition of this book is significantly different from the first edition published in England. It's missing the first four chapters and Chapter 10. It also appears to have split Chapter 6 in the UK edition into two chapters. Why? The UK edition has 880 pages, the US edition 592 pages. Shame on Viking Press. Buy the English edition and shun this one.
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91 of 95 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the full book, February 24, 2014
The American edition of this book drops several chapters from the UK edition and is hundreds of pages shorter. I would buy the UK edition.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Allied part of the story, February 28, 2014
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This review is from: The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 (Hardcover)
Two things are important here: (1) Richard Overy is a (indeed, probably THE) consummate historian of the air war of 1939-45; and (2) this American edition is 300 pages shorter than the original British publication. Overy marshals an amazing amount of information from all sides, melding it into perhaps the best assessment of what was claimed by the RAF and USAAF, what worked--and what did not. There is no other better source for that story.

So why only three stars? Because the American publisher made an inexplicable decision to eliminate fully a third of the original book! Published as THE BOMBING WAR: EUROPE 1939-45 by Allen Lane (Penguin) in Britain in 2013, Overy's intent was to cover BOTH the German use of bombing against Britain, as well as the Allied air campaigns, first by the RAF and later the Combined Operation of both Allied air forces. He drew invaluable comparisons of the two efforts. But the entire first part of the original book (dealing with German's attack on Britain) is totally missing in action here.

So what to do? If your interest centers on the Allied campaign, buy this edition. But if you want the fuller story that assesses how Germany lost the "first" air war of 1939-41 (and its later 1944-45 attempts), and then compares and critiques the efforts of both sides, purchase the (pricier) English edition. In any case, you don't need both!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expertly Presented and Highly Engaging New History by WWII Scholar, February 21, 2014
By 
SanFran JT (San Francisco Bay Area) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 (Hardcover)
An excellent study of the bombing campaign in Europe during the Second World War that is presented with Professor Richard Overy's usual brilliance, insight, and engaging style. Overy has spent a lifetime studying the war and his book, Why the Allies Won, has become a classic reference since its first publication 25 years ago. Making use of records and documents previously unavailable in the East, he has written another important work that includes fresh information as well insightful interpretations of events. A crucial aspect of the text is the focus upon not only those in command and strategic thinking, but the response of the German leaders and the impact the campaign had on the ground. However, the human story of those who carried out the missions on the Allied and German sides, the defenders on the ground and in the air, and the civilian populations is given equal weight and in no way overlooked. The ultimate conclusions regarding certain aspects of the air war as well specific results are eye-opening, well informed, and essential to an intelligent grasp of the what this part of the war played in Axis efforts and Allied success as one looks back after 70 years. This is a significant contribution to the study of World War II and belongs in the library of any serious student of the subject. Overy writing is engaging, never dry, and he brings humanity and life to his primary task as one of the most respected historians teaching and writing about the war.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS AN INSIGHTFUL BOOK!, February 21, 2014
This review is from: The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 (Hardcover)
The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 is a very fascinating account of the concerted Allied air attacks over Europe during the World War II. The author Richard Overy, who is the author of The Twilight Years, discusses in detail the massive air raids pointing out that it amounted to bombing friends and enemies alike, questioning if its objective was met.

The book contains six detailed chapters, including The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Bomber Command 1939 - 1942, The Casablanca Offensive: The Allies Over Germany 1943 - 1944, The "Battle of Germany" 1944 -1945, The Logic of Total War: German Society Under the Bombs, Italy: The War of Bombs and Words, Bombing Friends, Bombing Enemies: Germany's New Order.

While the book in itself is insightful, I am particularly fascinated by the epilogue Lessons Learned and Not Learned: Bombing into the Postwar World. Richard Overy's perceptive and shrewd understanding is a delightful lesson in history which must be read. The Preface, Notes, Maps, Prologue all make a fine addition to a better understanding of the contents of the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Account Of The Air War Over Germany, March 14, 2014
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This review is from: The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 (Hardcover)
Author Richard Overy has written an extremely thorough and detailed work about the Allied bombing effort over Europe in World War II. Although I hear that this edition is somewhat shorter than the one published in the U.K., I still found "The Bombers And The Bombed" to be an informative source about the air war in Europe.

Rather than focusing on accounts of individual raids, Overy's approach was to look at the bombing campaign as a whole and focus on the effects to industry, the Axis war effort, and civilians. At the beginning of the war, both sides tried to be scrupulous in their bombing, avoiding civilians at all costs. This proved to be almost impossible. As the war progressed, both sides quickly abandoned this strategy, first at the Battle of Britain, and then as the Americans and British began their attacks on Germany and the occupied countries.

The British favored the concept of "area bombing", which showed little regard for civilians, while the American 8th air force concentrated on daylight precision bombing of military targets. However, the American tactics still resulted in civilian casualties due to bad weather, poor aiming, and other factors.

The occupied countries of France, Italy, and the Low Countries suffered greatly as well as the Allied bombers strove to destroy German industry being used in these areas. Civilians suffered greatly as "friendly" bombs fell on their homes and places of work.

Overy's work does a fine job of explaining the concept of strategic bombing along with the concept of humanity. Was it "humane" to bomb cities in the hopes of destroying enemy factories, or was it inhuman due to the large number of civilian casualties? Some call the civilian casualties the cost of total war, while others have seen them as unnecessary. Overy describes both points of view in his book.

I highly recommend "The Bombers And The Bombed". Granted, this edition may be shorter than the original, but it still does a fine job of tackling the concept of strategic bombing and civilian casualties.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as advertised!, April 13, 2014
By 
Alec Whittaker "alecw" (Raleigh, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 (Hardcover)
In full disclosure: in November 1940 I was a 10-year-old boy and my home was in Coventry. The term "One Coventry" has more than theoretical meaning to me.
The original British title of this book was The Bombing War: Europe 1939 – 45. Certainly a better title since this edition tells us very little about the bombers – those young men who destroyed German cities and their inhabitants from the air – or about the bombed – those on the ground below. Although I will admit that the mental image of a German woman attempting to board a train with a suitcase containing the carbonized body of her child will remain with me for a long time.
The focus of this edition, reportedly much modified from the British version, is on the strategy, the evolution and the technology of the campaign rather than its human side. Overy examines the effectiveness of bombing cities and considers the morality of the deliberate targeting of civilians. He looks at the bombing campaign as a whole and the effects that it had on German industry, its war production and the morale of German workers. For more personal viewpoint on the campaign, read Max Hastings' Bomber Command for the British contribution and Masters of the Air by Donald L. Miller for the American. Max Hastings' Armageddon and (if you can find a copy) the Danish journalist P.E. v. Stamann’s first hand experience of life in 1945 Berlin, Three Smoked Eels and Two Ducks. Both provide a vivid portrait of life on the under the bombs.
Overy's discussion of the morality of area bombing brings to mind current controversies over the morality of “Enhanced Interrogation.” Perhaps we shall be able to consider that issue as cooly in 70 years.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing: a feel for the airplanes and the crews that flew them, April 5, 2014
By 
Michael B. Crutcher (Seattle, WA and Bonita Springs, FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 (Hardcover)
I am a fan of Richard Overy, having read several of his WWII histories. Alerted by earlier reviews, I bought the British version of this book, "The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945" and am glad I did. Containing as it does an account of the early British and German bombing campaigns, before America entered the war, it really sets the proper stage for an analysis of the later combined bombing campaign of the Americans and the British.

The book takes a distinctly high-level, strategic view of the bombing campaigns. Overy makes some interesting observations, including about Hitler's initial unwillingness to bomb civilian targets and London. Hitler was indecisive. He couldn't make up his mind whether to blockade Britain with submarines, launch a full-scale air war or invade. This indecision and Hitler's frustration with Goring's failure to knock-out the RAF led Hitler ultimately to invade Russia, as much to convince Britain that the war was hopeless as to destroy the hated Soviet regime.

As an earlier reviewer pointed out, Overy writes from the standpoint of the high-level decision makers, not the pilots or air crews that fought the war. While he gives a cursory overview of bomber and fighter aircraft, I missed a detailed analysis of the airplanes and the crews that flew them. What was it like to pilot a B-17 over Germany without fighter escort? How did the crews prepare mentally for their dangerous missions? There is some of this in the book, but not enough.

I would cite as a contrast the excellent book "Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific," by Eric M. Bergerud. Bergerud had the advantage of being able to interview a number of (mostly Allied) pilots and ground crew fighting the rugged air war of the South Pacific, which until mid-1943 either favored the Japanese or was at best a stalemate. From these interviews, one gets a vivid view of how it was to fight an air war. Men openly confessed their fear every time they flew. Even the best pilots became fatigued over time. Some became reckless and were shot down. Flight surgeons were an essential part of the air war, as they would ground a pilot showing obvious signs of fatigue. Bergerud also has a fine description of Allied and Japanese aircraft and their strength and weaknesses. In writing about the air war, I think a focus on the aircraft and the crews that flew them is essential if one is to understand the battle, and Professor Overy's book, for all its strengths, is the poorer for not having it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moral Ambiguity and Strategic Failure, May 25, 2014
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This is an excellent book. It describes the controversial Allied bombing strategy during World War II. Early on British Bomber Command adopted whole heartly the tactics the Nazis used during the Blitz, including the use of incendiary bombs and area (or, as we would say today) carpet bombing against primarily civilian targets. They did enormous damage, but did little to slow the Nazi war effort. The Amerians believed in daylight precision bombing, but until very late in the war we could not hit the broad side of a barn. It is all very sad. The strategic bombing campaigns were morally questionable, and generally ineffective in contrast to tactical air support of ground forces. Some readers will surely disagree, but this book raises issues that should be considered by all.

For readers interested in military history, this book is a must.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit heavy on, the politics of bombing, much lighter on the technology, April 10, 2014
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This review is from: The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 (Hardcover)
Personally, I am interested in answering the question "why did we bomb, when (early in the war, anyway) the results were so poor?" Instead, the author seems to be more fixated on, "why did we bomb, when the enemy had superior air power (not to mention, all those ethical questions about killing civilians, too)". Also, there's precious little information from the perspective of the enemy; one can only imagine, how enlightening that would be. Anyway, bombing in WWII personally is of great interest to me, but, I'm sorry I bought this particular book.
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The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945
The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 by Richard Overy (Hardcover - February 20, 2014)
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