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4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,518 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
The classic novel of the Second World War that relates in devastating detail the 24-hour story of an allied bombing raid.Bomber is a novel war. There are no victors, no vanquished. There are simply those who remain alive, and those who die.Bomber follows the progress of an Allied air raid through a period of twenty-four hours in the summer of 1943. It portrays all the part ...more
ebook, 576 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 1970)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,574)
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Len Deighton’s Bomber is the best war novel I have ever read. I should say, however, that I mean “war novel” in a very specific way. This novel bears no resemblance to other, better-known classics like The Naked and the Dead or All Quite on the Western Front. There is very little inward soul-searching about the nature of man as he indulges his ultimate trade. The characterizations are almost nonexistent. The prose, at times, is barely a step up from technical writing (it is, of course, an import ...more
Nov 22, 2008 Eric_W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book implies it's the story of a single British bomber crew flying over Germany during 1943. It's much more. Deighton, known for his in-depth research, has given us a very realistic portrayal of both sides, the families of the bomber crews, the German citizens and defenders. Soldiers on both sides are frustrated by awkward interpersonal relationships and comrades with differing motivations. Deighton follows the crews of several bombers, sent on night-time raid against the Ruhr. ...more
Kris McCracken
May 21, 2016 Kris McCracken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brutal read this. Deep in detail, the plot follows the planning, execution and conclusion of a bombing raid during World War Two. Told from the viewpoint of both British and German sides, Deighton utilises a clinically detached vantage point. This affords us a unique view, one in which terrible injuries and deaths are described in the same detail as the tactical approach of modern warfare.

This is surprisingly effective, and as each successive event is dissected, the pointlessness and barbarity
Anthony Ryan
Nov 21, 2014 Anthony Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deighton employs fiction to bring home the reality of the British bomber offensive against Germany in WWII. Describing a single raid on the night of 31 June 1943 (a date calendar watchers will know never occurred), this is a comprehensive look at the kind of event that had taken on a near-ritualistic nature by this stage of the war. RAF bombers run the gauntlet of night-fighters and flak guns whilst civilians and firemen deal with the havoc they create on the ground. Deighton remains agnostic ab ...more
Nov 02, 2010 Ian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A terrific and meticulously researched piece of writing, showing a WW2 RAF bombing raid on a German town. The novel has characters on both sides, so not only do we get the bomber crews' perspective but also those of the German night fighter crews, radar operators, civil defence workers and civilians on the ground.

Bomber is written in a matter-of-fact style that brings home the random nature of warfare - the lucky escapes, the pointless deaths. If you ever need convincing that in modern warfare t
Dec 19, 2013 Elinor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly detailed look at the bombing of Germany, from both sides. For me the most poignant moment came when the Germans learned which city was about to get bombed, and a crew of women set to work peeling potatoes - knowing that the soup kitchens would be filled that night with thousands of homeless civilians. It's a fair and sympathetic look at the terror that people experienced, both on the ground and in the air. A must-read for anyone with even a cursory interest in war.
carl  theaker
May 26, 2010 carl theaker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2, history-fiction

Bomber was my intro to Deighton, bought it off a discount rack for
a $1. A good read and detailed tale of the various characters
on both sides of a bomber raid.

Some of the various stories followed: the Ju-88 night fighters
with their experimental nitrous-oxide superchargers
stalking the british pathfinders, the air raid warden & mayor coping
with a huge raid on his small town, the bomb expert, the
off shore AA gunner, all progress to the finale.

Jul 13, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exhaustive and, to some extent, exhausting fictional account of a British bombing raid on a German town in mid-1943. Deighton, who did not serve during World War II, draws on voluminous research as well his experience as an RAF pilot to re-create the physical experience of war, right down to an attack of diarrhea while flying an airplane 20,000 feet over occupied Europe. His knowledge of British and German fighter planes gets a bit monographic at times, but I'm guessing it fascinates military ...more
Apr 11, 2013 Darrin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This could very well be the best book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I discovered Len Deighton in the late 80's, while stationed in Germany and read everything I could find of his from the post library. I devoured all of his books but, 'Bomber' eluded me until a few months ago. To be honest, I am glad it took me so long to finally read this book because I don't think the younger version of "me" was ready to fully comprehend the brutal honesty of war that is depicted by Deighton in 'Bom ...more
Oct 03, 2014 Geof rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a decent novel about a RAF bombing of Germany during WWII and how it affected everyone involved. It was heartfelt with plenty of character development. There were a whole lot of characters to keep track of though. Deighton mentioned that in the forward (which I rarely read, but did this time). In hindsight I probably should have kept a cheat sheet of who is who, but it was still very enjoyable despite me sometimes becoming befuddled about the characters. The only other minor issue I had ...more
Dead John Williams
May 31, 2015 Dead John Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This was one of those books that were popular when I was a young man. I always assumed that it was another of those Day of The Jackal type of action novels. So I was surprised to read it and discover that it was nothing like that at all.

It is about 24 hours in the life of an airbase that runs bombing raids over Germany at the end of WW2. It has all the undercurrents of class that you’d expect with a group of men conscripted into service. I remember reading once that conscription was the last tim
Terry Callister
Mar 20, 2011 Terry Callister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without any doubt my favourite book of all time. I must have read Bomber at least ten times. It paints a vivid picture of a bombing raid over Germany during WWII. From the prejudices of RAF officers, the workings of a bomber station, to the German radar installations on the Dutch coast and the small market town of Altgarten to suffers a 750 heavy bomber raid.

An exercise in futility but so well researched and put together. A fantastic book, very highly recommended.
Sep 15, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jayson
Recommended to Mike by: Glenn
A frighteningly accurate yarn of British bombers unloading their fury over WWII Germany as Luftwaffe night fighter pilots attempt shoot them out of the skies. Experience what is was like for civilians as the deadly cargo ripped apart towns, homes and lives. Deighton scores a bull's-eye with this amazingly researched tale that you can't put down. No one emerges the victor in this one.
Rajiv Chopra
Jun 23, 2016 Rajiv Chopra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-fiction
This is indeed a very good book, and I like it even though it did not grip me emotionally.

The style of writing, somewhat journalistic, is seemingly simple and yet it does so much to portray the pilots and protagonists in such a human manner.

What I also like is the somewhat matter of fact manner in which Len Deighton describes some of the deaths. The almost deadpan nature of the writing brings out the horror of the war and death much more graphically than an overly emotional bit of writing would
May 18, 2016 SL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Riveting. Loved it. The detail is brilliant, the descriptions excruciatingly precise. I can see why Lemmy was so inspired!
It's been eight days and I'm 47% into this book.

I thought I would like this considering it's set in World War II. Ah, how naïve of me... it's more about bomber pilots (surprise!) than anything else. Thus, I found it much too technical for my taste. Not to mention that I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters. Sure, the author goes to some length to provide a backstory for each character, but that doesn't equate to making the readers sympathise with the characters more readily
Tim Caines
Jun 16, 2015 Tim Caines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow start but ended up being quite moved by it.
Steve Woods
May 10, 2015 Steve Woods rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding piece of very well research`d storytelling. Though none can ever relive the experience of another, least of all through the written word, a one dimensional sensory experience, a person's imagination limited by their own experience, this work gives the closest approximation one might get. Filled with accurate technical details and details drawn clearly from the recollections of people who were there. The book gives both sides of the story, it leaves the humanity of all the particip ...more
May 02, 2015 Ilya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
According to different estimates, between 300,000 and 600,000 German civilians were killed during the Allied bombing of Germany in World War II. In the RAF Bomber Command, 47,268 airmen were killed in action, or 45% of the total. In the Luftwaffe, 165,014 airmen were KIA, but this includes all of World War II, not just opposing British bombers. Each one of these people was an individual, with his or her own life history, character, hobbies and peccadilloes. Strategic bombing was a battle between ...more
Ian Mapp
Jun 30, 2013 Ian Mapp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
The world must be full of lost classics like this one. It was one of the biggest selling books in 1970 but do you think I could get a copy from the whole of Worcestershire library system? Nope, I had to resort to ebay.

The book is fictional, told in a very detailed documentary style. Set on a fictitious day - 31/06/43 - it tells the story of a night time bombing raid by the British into the Ruhr Valley.

All sides of the raid are told through the stories of a bewildering array of characters. They a
Simon Mcleish
Feb 12, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in February 2004.

I have always found this the hardest of Deighton's novels to get into, partly because it is so unrelentingly serious, but mainly because its beginning is poor. The first chapter in particular has some really terrible, clunking dialogue, and the mechanics of introducing his large cast of characters are not well handled. Even further into the novel, the prose is ponderous and Bomber is very slow moving for a thriller.

The idea of Bomber is to de
Apr 13, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a fantastic beast, a novel that covers 24 hours of a bombing operation from all perspectives, flitting from the drivers, the townsfolk, the head of wing command, and the relatively young crews. In his Foreword, Deighton admits to being enamored with machines, while still understanding how they have made lives hell in war time. This becomes clear as he gracefully outlines a page describing the destruction that a single explosive anti-air shell can entail on first a plane, then fractions of a ...more
Apr 18, 2010 rabbitprincess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WW2 enthusiasts, aviation buffs, fans of historical fiction
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Quill and Quire, the Guardian, the NYT
* * * * 1/2

I went through a spy fiction/thriller phase in middle school -- partly because I enjoyed mysteries in general, and partly because I needed long books to keep me busy during the school's Drop Everything And Read periods (our teacher would not let us leave our desks for the whole time, even if we just wanted to go to the bookshelves IN THE SAME CLASSROOM and pick a new book to start!). Fortunately my dad's bookshelves were well stocked with Tom Clancy, John le Carré, and Len Deighton. I
Nov 01, 2015 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
This work of historical fiction follows an English night bombing raid in World War II. It follows the raid over a period of 24 hours, and it follows people affected by the raid on both sides of the conflict: the English airmen, the German fighter crews, the flak gunners, the German civilians, the English family members, just about everyone. The story was meticulously researched and feels very vivid and authentic. The story covers the disastrous consequences to both sides with remarkable clinical ...more
Jeffrey Cavanaugh
The grim, fictionalized account of a single RAF nighttime raid over Germany during WW II told from all sides. The prose is sharp and the story littered with details on the mechanics of aerial area bombing and air defense, but the large cast of characters leads the novel to run over 500 pages while still leaving them flat, poorly developed cliches throughout. However, given the time frame the story takes place in -- one night in June, 1943 -- that can be forgiven.
Roy Macgregor
Oct 20, 2014 Roy Macgregor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
24 hours in the lives of Royal Air Force bomber crews, the people they interact with, and the enemy they are fighting. A realistic portrayal of the horror and uncertainties of war, it does not excuse the sins and excesses of nazi Germany, but shows the humanity of most of the people caught up in the conflict, on both sides. Brings home the terrible experiences of those in uniform and the innocent bystanders.
Sep 11, 2013 Feliks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
Hard to find a single flaw in this astounding, overwhelming, shattering work. Its all its reputation says it is. Solid craftsmanship buttressed by impeccable research. Characters which are hard to forget. Situations to make one shudder long after the book collects dust on your shelf.

Do you have a morbid fascination with ways to die during wartime? Taste for the grisly? Keen on the way that munitions truly operate? Deighton gives you everything you could ask for; and more..til your cup runneth o
Stephen Lewis
Feb 12, 2016 Stephen Lewis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook review: Read by James Faulkener whose terrific, incredibly dry delivery matches the shockingly cold factual style that clads terrible tragedy in technical detail. Despite this, I was blubbing because I am the 'war child' of a British soldier and a German war refugee. I could sympathise with both sides. Not for the faint hearted.
Joe Rodeck
Too many characters, all two-dimensional. I was craving for a coward, a bully, an egomaniac . . . anyone with a personality!

Like a big budget disaster movie. Lots to see, but the players and the dialog is comic book simple.
May 22, 2016 Dunkalunk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read. Deighton put a lot of research into this book.

Interesting to read from both British and German point of views. Funny little twist in the tail at the end too.
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Deighton was born in Marylebone, London, in 1929. His father was a chauffeur and mechanic, and his mother was a part-time cook.After leaving school, Deighton worked as a railway clerk before performing his National Service, which he spent as a photographer for the Royal Air Force's Special Investigation Branch. After discharge from the RAF, he studied at St Martin's School of Art in London in 1949 ...more
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