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Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945 Paperback – January 18, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Next, there is the eternal question of 'Was this raid militarily justified?' Here, I give Frederick Taylor a passing grade, but not much more. In my judgment, he is not interested in looking panoramically and in detail at the arc of the war in early February 1945. Admittedly, this is an immensely complicated issue. But for this book, I think a closer assessment of the dynamics of the European war as of dawn on February 13, 1945, would have been desirable.
Then, there is the second eternal question of 'Was this raid morally defensible?' Here, I think Taylor does a journeyman's job, but doesn't go as deep as would be expected in a book that seeks to re-assess the import and legitimacy of the raid. I think the book would have benefited from greater scrutiny of this question.
Three areas of the study, however, are revelatory and worth a careful read. The first is a roughly 50-page-long, very rich description of the founding and development of the city of Dresden. While some other reviewers were less enthused about it, I think this part of the book is fascinating. Second, the actual nuts-and-bolts description of the aerial raid is as fascinating as it is chilling. Finally, the personal, eyewitness face that Taylor puts on the bombing is remarkable, as it gives a horrifying 'you are there' drama to the event.
I'm disappointed in a few things.Read more ›
He spends much time building a case for why Dresden was a legitimate military target. Nearly every German city had by this time been conscripted to the war effort, and yes, Dresden may have had legitimate targets, but the destruction inflicted upon the civilians was so ferociously excessive contrasted with the relatively minor damage done to military infrastructure, that it makes the argument almost moot.
The first RAF bombing raid excluded the Marshalling yards, Hauptbanhof, Marienbrücke railway bridge and troop barracks... obvious military targets if you are bombing to disable troop movement. It was -only- during the 2nd bombing raid, seeing that the Altstadt was completely engulfed in flames, that the RAF bomber leader made a snap decision - on his own - to target the fringes, otherwise the second target drop would have been exactly as the first.. the Altstadt itself. This is as much of an admission as you are ever going to get that the 1st and 2nd RAF raids were sent not so much for its military targets but for sheer chaos or "dehousing" as it was called.
The author however, does an excellent job revealing the lack of preparedness for a possible all out air raid, and shows how Dresden was truly undefended that night.Read more ›
Regarding morality issues: No single death or action that results in death is ever justified in any war, including WWII. It was a complete waste of human life on all sides. The bombing of Dresden was a waste of human life and also a valid military necessity. This book will aid the reader to identify what they feel is the appropriate moral shade of grey, as there is no black/white choice.
Several issues exist with many of the other reviews:
1. Many reviewers haven't read it, as demonstrated by completely ridiculous assertions on the book's contents.
2. Almost all judge the validity of the raid and its methods based on information that no one could have known in 1945, including the complete effects of large-scale bombing.
3. This book is based on written evidence from the 1940s under Nazi and Soviet regimes, and on the memories of individuals, which change and fade through time.
4. The evidence in this book is still varied in source from Allied and Nazi records, bomber crews, Dresden residents, and Jews working in military factories in Dresden at the time. Judge the evidence for itself, even if you don't like Taylor's writing style and conclusions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dresden is a very personal and emotional subject, especially for those of German or English heritage. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Timothy J. Kuhn
I just finished reading this book and was impressed by the research which Frederick Taylor has undertaken. Read more
Edmund Burke wrote of the triumph of the psychopathic mind, and the death of the noble, "It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain... Read morePublished 6 months ago by a badly positioned hole near centre of chariot wheel
This book will shake your sensitivities and raise questions about whether or not the U.S. was guilty of a war crime in our bombing of Dresden. Read morePublished 10 months ago by QuasiBob
Detailed, researched (the citations section is long) book showing how the "common wisdom" about the bombing of Dresden is wrong. Very well worth reading.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
This thorough presentation of the bombing takes into account facts that sentimental arguments downplay or ignore. Read morePublished 12 months ago by JAthey
This is a bias book written by someone attrmpting to make small of the killing of hundreds of thousands of women and children.Published 12 months ago by Dr. Ronald Cutburth