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With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britain

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  790 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
“[With Wings Like Eagles is] bold and refreshing… Korda writes with great elegance and flair.”—Wall Street Journal

From the New York Times bestselling author of Ike and Horse People, Michael Korda, comes With Wings Like Eagles, the harrowing story of The Battle of Britain, one of the most important battles of World War II. In the words of the Washington Post Book World, “Wi
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ebook, 368 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 6th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,603)
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Michael
This was a wonderful short account of the air war between Germany and Great Britain in the period of July through September of 1940, one that Churchill called “their finest hour”. He had only been in the office as Prime Minister since the fateful month of May, when the Nazis had swept through France and most of the British Expeditionary Force had made a miraculous and ignominious evacuation by sea from Dunkirk in Belgium. With Hitler’s forces obscenely enjoying the fruits of victory in Paris and ...more
Jon
Oct 09, 2012 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The late 1930s and early 1940s were very harsh times. Just before this book I tackled one about the Dustbowl and the Great Depression. This book deals with how England nearly ceased to exist under a brutal siege by Hitler and the German War Machine. Before invading, the fuhrer insisted on destroying the British Air Command. The author details how the 18-year-old pilots stood fast on the foundation of years of planning, building and training before the Battle of Britain and at the time of intense ...more
Betsy
Sep 17, 2016 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book presents a look at how the British won the Battle of Britain under the direction of men like Dowding and Park. It's an interesting book, highlighting the intrigues in Britain and Germany, which led to decisions which made the difference. Churchill comes across as less than knowledgeable about how the air war was to be handled successfully, especially concerning the decision about sending aircraft to France before Dunkirk. Goering takes his lumps too for his arrogance and lack of unders ...more
John
May 03, 2010 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before Roosevelt, Marshall and Eisenhower there was Churchill and Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding. Dowding was the architect of victory in what has come to be known as the "Battle of Britain" and this book is a valuable account of that battle. Britain braced virtually alone for two years and heroically withstood the Nazi onslaught. As a free nation we must ever be thankful. Churchill paid tribute to the men and women heroes of the battle who turned the tide of eventual world war. Before the H ...more
Jarrod
Quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed. The book seems to mirror the career of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding while discussing the Battle of Britain. I learned a great deal about the British advantages and heart of how and why they won the battle and how they deflected the German bombardment. Why technological advances for battle were important for victory. You get a feel from the author of what it was like to live through the experience of being bombed day on end and not knowing when it was g ...more
Johnny
Aug 17, 2013 Johnny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
In this history of the Battle of Britain, Michael Korda deftly plucks both the harp strings of emotion as he folds images of his grandfather’s (Alexander Korda’s) film version of H. G. Well’s Things to Come with the pedal work of solid facts (demythologizing kill/damage estimates) and careful research. Having read Churchill’s Their Finest House (Volume II of his Second World War series), I thought I knew quite a bit about the events. With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britain mad ...more
Ryan
Apr 30, 2013 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With Wings Like Eagles - A History of the Battle of Britain
Michael Korda
Read it in paperback, a short read at 352 pages.

I really enjoy reading about the golden age of aerial combat, more specifically what is known as the Dog Fight. As someone who owns a dog that likes to fight, this is the perfect terminology. The fundamentals are simple, the biggest-baddest dog in the pack picks a target and then it becomes a swirling aerial melee of carnage as each dog attempts to use speed, altitude, and posi
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Jill Hutchinson
I was enthralled by this history of the beginning months of the Battle of Britain. Korda outlines, in detail, the air battle strategies of both England and Germany but that detail does not overwhelm the overall story.

It is hard for our generation to imagine the destruction that rained from the skies on the military and civilian population, especially when the bombing of London began. The bravery of the RAF fighter pilots is almost beyond imagination as they took to the sky again and again to me
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Scott
May 24, 2014 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
While the subject matter was interesting to me, the writing was pedestrian, with a few too many footnotes pointing out the author's personal connections to individuals peripherally related to the events described.

Not enough meat on these bones.
Mike Rabasco
Jan 28, 2015 Mike Rabasco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read I enjoyed this book.
Jim B
Jun 09, 2015 Jim B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As 2015 is the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, I decided to read a few of the newer books on the topic. The first on the nightstand was Michael Korda's entry from 2009. This is a breezy 322 page book which focuses more on the political background and tactics of the battle than individual aircrews. Korda is clearly a huge fan of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding and much of the narrative is discusses his decisions, leadership, and conflicts with other RAF members. It is interesting to ...more
Philippe
May 04, 2015 Philippe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
This book describes in detail the strategical and tactical Air warfare at the beginning of the Western attack by Germany on France, the Low Countries and England. It analyzes the pre Winston Churchill governments that we all know as the appeasers, but that really laid the groundwork to provide England with the tool it would need to defeat Germany. Most of the book is centralized around Air Marshall Dowding who through his vision and restrain allowed the German Luftwaffe to exhaust itself trying ...more
Scottnshana
Oct 17, 2014 Scottnshana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last year I had read and enjoyed Korda’s Eisenhower biography and, when I discovered he had written a history of the Battle of Britain, I snapped it up, too. He has filled in the details on a well-known but little studied—outside the UK—critical period in world history, describing personalities, processes, and personal anecdotes jotted down by average British citizens. “People grew accustomed,” he writes, “to having the war drop in on their lives suddenly and unexpectedly—literally out of the bl ...more
Mark
Jan 08, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just what I was looking for: Well-written. Not too long. A focus on the big picture rather than specific dogfights.

History is interpretation and it pays to read with a critical eye. So:

The subtitle of this book is "The Untold Story of the Battle of Britain." How does this book have anything new to say after 70 years and countless other books on the subject? I don't know, this is my first book on the topic, and the book does not explicitly explain the subtitle.

Another minor quibble - the book rep
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Michael Kerr
Dec 10, 2015 Michael Kerr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, non-fiction, history
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few," Winston Churchill. This quick read delivers the various components that went into the winning of the Battle of Britain, where only 3,000 airmen saved the day and turned back the Nazi onslaught. Korda covers the politics, the context and the personalities that made this win possible. He focuses largely on Air Officer Commander Hugh Dowding, whose difficult nature lead to his dismissal despite his obvious successes and f ...more
Gavin
Aug 03, 2009 Gavin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book for anybody with even a passing interest in World War II history. Everybody has heard of the Battle of Britain, but, for me at least, this book really filled in a lot of details I was not aware of.
Jahn
Jan 28, 2014 Jahn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, history
Very interesting read about the Battle of Britain. Seems like many WWII histories (that I have read) are greatly focused on the the last 2 years of the war (1944-45), and include events that occurred earlier as a lead up to show or explain the events that occurred during and after the invasion of Normandy. This was a good read about a pivotal moment in history: if the Luftwaffe had succeeded in dominating the skies over Britain, then a German invasion force would have moved on Britain and potent ...more
Andrew
May 31, 2010 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A first-rate account of the Battle of Britain, which challenges the conventional wisdom that the Baldwin and Chamberlain governments did nothing to prepare for war. Instead, Korda argues that they were trying to play catchup with German spending across the board -- and at a time of rapid technical change.

Korda's excellent at pointing out the limitations of weaponry, using the fighter aircraft that he once flew, and points to how accidents of war -- such as the first unintended bombing of London
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Liz
Feb 15, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reprises of the second world war are heavily slanted to the heroics of D-day, often with little mention of the war prior to entry of the US. Korda follows the 1940 air battle that the Germans intended should ready the UK for invasion, both psychologically and defensive;ly; German confidence was such that they had already brought boats to ports along the southern shore of the Channel in preparation for the crossing. What the Germans had not realized was that the "appeasers" Chamberlain and Baldwi ...more
Craig
Nov 28, 2013 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-military
Much more than a day-by-day, hour-by-hour account of the actual aerial tactics and fighting which occurred over the skies of England during the summer months of 1940, this book takes a much broader and larger view of the political, military, social and economic background of the events leading up to Hitler's planned Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of England by German ground forces. Key to any such invasion was the importance of German dominance of the air over England prior to the invasion. Ge ...more
Bob Schmitz
Though it at times describes the battle day by day the author has done it in a way that is never boring. This book is a page turner.

I have previously read about Hugh Dowding, the brilliant, prescient British Air Marshall who designed the country's air defense during the Battle of Britain, the German bombing campaign over the Summer of 1940 that was to eliminate British air power in preparation for an invasion. This book goes into exquisite detail about the preparations on the German and British
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Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
Ranked among the greatest battles in British history, along with Waterloo, defeating the Spanish Armada, and Trafalgar, the Battle of Britain stands as a turning point during World War II when the Nazi juggernaut finally faced a foe that would not fall. Though few recognized it immediately, it was the turning of the tide in the war.

Fought entirely in the air, the Battle of Britain was the battle for mastery of the skies over England between the pilots of the German Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Fo
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Bobby Jenkins
Oct 08, 2012 Bobby Jenkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good book. If you are interested in the Battle of Britain and want to take a more in-depth look at it than this book is definitely for you. Korda takes you on a journey from both sides of the battle. He does a fine job at explaining why things happen and why leaders choose to do what they did. This book starts of in 1939 and goes all the way until the end of the Battle of Britain. It was very gripping and entertaining.

Even though this was a great book, there was still some thi
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Kelly Johnston
Mar 26, 2013 Kelly Johnston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you enjoy history, and the history of warfare, then you will appreciate Michael Korda's book on the Battle of Britain. It is well-written and holds your attention. I have not done a lot of reading about the history of WWII so I don't know what is usually found in this area of history writing. But I was impressed by the research that went into the comparison of war materials, and the advantages and disadvantages of the array of armaments possessed by Germany and Britain, and to an extent the U ...more
Nathan Trachta
The Battle of Britain has always had a special place for me; who couldn't love the desperate plight of the British people being defended by a small air force against an opponent who's crushed everything it's faced before. It's almost as if it was made for a great book or movie.
I picked up Mr. Korda's With Wings Like Eagles hoping for some good analysis on the Battle of Britain, hoping for maybe something new on what happened or information not previously known. Instead I got a book where the aut
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Kenyon Harbison
Mar 25, 2013 Kenyon Harbison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not the world's greatest expert on the Battle of Britain, by which I mean that until reading this book, I basically knew the historical even it referred to, but had never read any book or even article devoted exclusively to it. So take my review with a grain of salt, because I don't have the context that others may have. But I really liked this book.

The thing that was interesting to me about this book was that it was not just a play-by-play of the events of this great air battle. A signific
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G Hodges
Feb 16, 2013 G Hodges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I wish I had read this before I went to Duxford, Hendon and IWM Lambeth. My father was a tool and die designer for aircraft instrumentation during WWII and my brother was an engineer who worked on the Lunar Excursion Module, so as a girl, I thought it was normal to discuss things like radar, balancing the weight of a plane with the power of the engine, etc.

This book reminded me that even in the midst of a crisis, ego and politics could eat up creativity, foresight and strategic thinking. I was
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Jerry Smith
Mar 28, 2012 Jerry Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war, 2012-read
Classic case of serendipity for me - the book I was looking for on the Battle of Britain was checked out of the library so I picked this one instead and I was certainly not disappointed - it's an excellent, well written history of the pivotal battle of WW2.

The book begins with some background of the build up but doesn't fall into the trap of trying to cover the whole of the war up until that point in great detail, but it does set the whole battle in context.

What I particularly liked about this b
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Kay
Apr 28, 2011 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back story to the Battle of Britain

Rather than being a tale of aerial combat, With Wings Like Eagles focuses on the defensive strategy, bureaucratic wrangling, and technical developments that underpinned the Battle of Britain. In particular, it is the story of the battle's unlikely hero, Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, a man who had the foresight to push through critical defensive components, most particularly the development of eight-gun Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, the implementation of ra
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Larry
Mar 13, 2016 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Winston Churchill described the conditions of September 15, 1940, the climactic day of the Battle for Britain—"The odds were great: our margins small; the stakes infinite"—he described all of the battle, which raged from the time of the withdrawal from Dunkirk to the period between early August to mid-September 1940, when the sky hung suspended. As Michael Korda makes clear in his wonderful short (relatively) account, British success was won by a very narrow margin. Much of that success was ...more
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is an English-born writer and novelist who was editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster in New York City.
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