The Battle of Britain

ISBN: 978 1 84603 474 9
Review Date:

In the first year of the European War, Germany seemed so unstoppable. Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and even France were conquered in unbelievably short campaigns. It seemed that the United Kingdom would be the next target, and the Royal Air Force would certainly be the first line of defenders. As it would turn out, the RAF would shake the German spirit so much that it could be said that it was the only line of defense necessary.

Kate Moore's The Battle of Britain chronicled the background, the events leading up to the aerial campaign, and the personalities that engaged in the dogfights and led the war from the operation rooms. First-person accounts from documents, interviews, and audio recordings from the Imperial War Museum gave this book life, giving it a good blend of strategic analysis and memories of folks, military and civilian, who experienced the battle. Of course, the RAF pilots could not take all the credit. Moore made specific mention of the various groups that all contributed their parts so that the pilots could do their jobs. The women in the command centers, the men who stood by the radar stations and anti-aircraft guns, and the ground crews who serviced the fighters all played their under-appreciated roles so that the battle could be won in the air. She did not limit to the British side of things, either; entire chapters were devoted to the training and organization of the German Luftwaffe as well, while she also made mention of how top Nazi German politics influenced the proceedings of the campaign.

As this book was published in association with the Imperial War Museum, the book also included a large number of photographs that provided excellent visuals. Beyond Imperial War Museum material, a good number of photographs from the German Bundesarchiv could also be found.

The Battle of Britain roared on for over three months, and the Blitz continued on for many more. While Moore's The Battle of Britain could not possibly cover this entire campaign with justice, what she lacked in depth was made up by the breadth. By briefly covering the equipment, the personnel, the leaders, and the key engagements, plus the inclusion of many photographs, she was rather successful in presenting this battle to general readers from many perspectives.

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