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Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend, by Chris Ward, et al (Pen & Sword Books, 2009; 298 pages)

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by dgmitchell, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. dgmitchell

    dgmitchell Ace

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    A good historian is a capable researcher who can explore past events, synthesize what he (or she) discovers and then present both the events and the synthesis in a coherent way. A great historian can do all of those things and tell a damn good story while doing it. Based on Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend (Pen & Sword Books, 2009; 298 pages), Chris Ward and his colleagues, Andy Lee and Andreas Wachtel, are great historians. Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend is both wonderfully engaging and marvelously well researched.

    As most serious students of the Second World War already know, the Dambusters were the RAF's 617 Squadron. They were a daring small force who accomplished a large number of successful - and difficult - bombing missions during the final two years of the war. From their first mission, bombing several damns in the Ruhr valley in 1943 and through to the end of the war, the Dambusters were thrown at the precision targets that the RAF had to successfully attack. Rarely did 617 Squadron fail. Over the course of the war, their many targets included bridges, U-Boat pens, superguns and, perhaps most notably, the battleship Tirpitz.

    The Dambusters were led by dynamic men whose leadership was above the bar at a time when leadership was most in need. Their weapons represented state of the art advances in bomb development. They brought "Shock and Awe" before the soldiers of a later war had even coined the phrase.

    Ward and his team of historians have presented a book that will be hard to put down for anyone who has even the slightest interest in the Second World War, air warfare or dynamic soldiers. In Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend, they explore every mission given to 617 Squadron. Where possible, they tracked down eyewitnesses who gave them first hand observations of the raids. They explore both the English perspective on the actions of the Dambusters and the German perspective on their efforts, including a study of the courts martial that were held following the Dambusters successful destruction of the Tirpitz.

    Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend would make an outstanding film. Indeed, in reading it, one finds it difficult not to see the exploits of 617 Squadron play through one's mind. If this book is not yet on your Christmas list, you need to add it now.
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    It is indeed a very good book, but I'd just like to heads-up that it's an abridged version of their previous book ' Dambusters : An Operational History Of 617 Squadron' published in hardback and paperback by Red Kite in 2003. The earlier and much larger book has many more photos and details of every aircraft on each operation etc.

    So - if you have the earlier book, you don't need the latest one ( and, as usual, Pen & Sword do not disclose this in their advertising ).
     
  3. dgmitchell

    dgmitchell Ace

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    Martin ~ Thanks for this information. I was not aware that it was an abridged version either.
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    As I said, it's a good book and I'll give credit to P&S for publishing books - especially Bomber Command titles - which may not otherwise find a publisher.

    But you have to be careful - they did the same with Steinhoff's 'Straits Of Messina' a while back, republishing it under a different title with no reference to the earlier edition. Cost one or two people some money......
     
  5. squadprof

    squadprof recruit

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    Hi Guys,
    have just joined the site. Would like to point out that my book Dambusters. the Forging of a Legend is not an abridged version of Dambusters the Definitive History. It is, in fact, a rewritten extended version, with much new information and detail. There is also a change in writing style for the Dams chapters.

    Regards,

    Chris Ward.
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I've left my original posting unabridged ( :eek: sorry ! ) so that I can admit that I stand truly corrected - with unreserved apologies to the author.

    I shall now read through a copy in greater depth......


    ( And while I'm at it - may I say it's a bit of a coup to have Chris Ward ; author of the well-known Squadron Profile books - visit these Forums....)
     

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