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1940s Society Shop >  History >  Book Reviews >  The Dam Busters

The Dam Busters

An excellent book examining this very famous wartime mission. Well written and great photographs.


The Dam Busters
Written By Jonathan Falconer

The Dam Busters

A Review by Ian Bayley

The raids to attack the German Dams in May 1943 are probably one of the most well known events of World War Two. Thanks to a 1955 film called 'The Dam Busters' that continues to excite new generations of audiences there can be few of us that are not aware of 617 squadron, the bouncing bomb, and a dog named 'nigger'. Indeed, the story is so well known that it was even parodied to advertise a well known alcoholic beverage.

Whilst the film is a personal favourite, I have read few factual accounts of the events and was most interested to receive a proof copy of this book for review. If nothing else I thought I might discover just how accurate was the film.

The book begins with a Foreword by Richard Todd OBE who was cast as Guy Gibson in the 1955 film, followed by an introduction from the author. It then progresses through a thorough and systematic breakdown of the events that lead to the raid, the raid itself, and the aftermath. It also has chapters on key individuals and the 1955 film. To complete the book there are appendices on those that failed to return, surviving aircraft, and those that survived the raid. The whole book is comprehensively illustrated with photographs and diagrams.

Another book which, once started, I couldn't put down. The author is easy to read, the text is informative and holds your attention, and the photographs and illustrations are excellent. Many of the photographs I have not seen before and are a great addition to the book.

The book dispels a few myths from both the 1955 film (which was unable to accurately report all aspects of the raid as it was still classified) and later documentaries. It brings together eyewitness accounts and original documentation to form a comprehensive account of the dams raid that is well worth putting on your bookshelf.

Having a few friends who are interested in wartime aviation/events I did show them my proof copy to gauge their reaction. After a flick through they all, without exception, wanted to take it home with them!

Like them, I know that I too will have to get a copy of this excellent book for my bookshelf.

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