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Piece of Cake (RAF)

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  361 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Set during World War II, this book is an account of the war as lived by the men of Hornet Squadron, from the war in France until the end of the Battle of Britain. By the author of "Goshawk Squadron" and "War Story".
Hardcover, 569 pages
Published March 12th 1984 by Knopf
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 571)
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Harv Griffin
Mar 29, 2014 Harv Griffin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: World War Two nuts
Shelves: own, reviewed
Ask Americans what the best fighter planes of World War Two were, and they will probably name the Japanese Zero, the German 109, and the British Spitfire. The Hurricane is just some other Brit plane.

PIECE OF CAKE is one of my favorite WWII novels. It is about a year in the life of a British Hurricane fighter squadron, from September 1939 to September 1940. There is also a BBC Masterpiece Theater multi-disc DVD set, which is very faithful to the book. But I have to ding the video for changing th
Nathan Trachta
I remember a few moons ago (about 20 years ago really) seeing something about the mini-series Piece of Cake and not being able to watch it (sorry, to poor to afford it then) and being a little interested in aviation warfare I decided I'd have to read it at some point. After spending sometime looking about and finally deciding to deal in the second hand market I picked up a copy of Piece of Cake.

Piece of Cake describes a British squadron (Hornet Squadron, flying Hurricanes for those that are int
David Rashleigh
This is probably my favourite book of all time. I have read it so many times that I have worn out a couple of copies of the paperback!
If you have any interest in the Phoney War and the Battle of Britain (US readers should note that there is an American interest) then you simply must read this book.
Steven Rundlett
Following a squadron of RAF Hurricane pilots from Sept. 39 through Sept. 40 into the Battle of Britain. Derek Robinson scores big with sweeping action, black humor, realistic characters, and excellent history as to how Britain managed to survive the Luftwaffe's assault. I seem to read this book every few years, there's something about how well developed the characters are that keeps me wanting to revisit them. If you like historical fiction, warts and all, Derek Robinson is a must read.
Graham Watson
This is probably my most re-read book from one of favourite authors.

Having spent 25 years in the RAF I find the humorous banter very realistic, and the characters a fair representation of the cross-section of individuals you would find on a typical RAF Squadron.

But the absolute best thing about Derek's RFC and RAF books, is the historical accuracy which shows that a lot of research goes into each one of his works.

Highly recommended.
This is even more brutal if anything than his WW1 classic " Goshawk Squadron " . Much longer but with the same black humour and laconic tone " Piece of Cake " is set in WW2 firstly with Hornet Squadron in France and then during the Battle of Britain .
I am sure that the writer has picked up some flak for raising the subject of the exaggerated claims made by RAF about their success rate of kills during the defence of the skies of Great Britain but that doea not take away from his obvious admiratio
Piece of Cake, difficult enough to get through, that once the story actually started, I was about 3/5 of the way through and finished because I had already put in nearly 300 pages of work! The book is a unique and small microcosm of the beginnings of World War II, following small squadron of Hornets as they begin their war time activities in France, when British ideals of the war were that it would be over before the weekend. It is interesting that they were posted in a position in France far fr ...more
With some 700 pages I thought I would have a solid read about a group of RAF pilots at the beginning of World War 2. The passages which described flying were very good - realistic and believable. However anything that was not about flying was a real disappointment to me. Each person was an island. There was no friendship, collegiality, support. The described behaviours were not realistic. A group of pilots in a tense situation share with, and support each other (in the main) but not this lot. Ev ...more
This is easily one of my top 5 books as of late. It took me a while to get through, but every page was worth it. This tale that follows a squadron of RAF fighter pilots through the beginnings of WWII is sharp, clever, insightful, and quite touching. Robinson himself was a pilot and so the dialogue and details continually ring true. More than a story of war, it is a story of human beings, young men from all walks of life who find themselves in dire circumstances and manage to survive, or not, by ...more
Jamie Mankelow
My absolute favourite book of all time . Follows the story of a Hurricane squadron during the battle of france and the battle of britain.Great humour and cameraderie of the pilots during a dangerous time in their lives . Brilliant descriptions of air combat , the victories ,the heartbreaking casualties and the effect they have on the squadron and in some cases their wives and girlfriends .I re read this book on an almost annual basis.Superb.
Reviews say it all. One the best books written on the Battle of Britain and the RAF. It is fiction based on fact.

“Indeed, it would be fair to rank Piece of Cake among the best war novels ever written.” (Review…see page)

Robinson's plot line follows the notional Hornet Squadron.

I have it in my library.

Iain Cosgrove
This novel is about as alose to perfection as it is possible to get. I have read it dozens on times and it really puts you through the emotional wringer. When you have stood on the remainders of the bleak forward airfields of Kent like I have, you get a real sense of place from this novel and a real sense of what these young men were going through. Utterly compelling and if you read no other novel this year, make it this one!
Rosanna Leo
Completely of a different genre than I normally read, this novel affected me for a long time after reading it. It tells the story of an RAF squadron during WWII and the characters truly spoke to me. It was moving, realistic and gritty, often funny too.
Tom Brennan
Riveting for any amateur WWII historian.

A factoid that remains with me after having read the book long ago is that the Polish aviators who flew with the RAF composed 6% of the RAF, but accounted for 12% of the kills during the Battle of Britain.

Commonwealth RAF pilots did not want to fly with the Poles because every time they got within striking distance of the Luftwaffe, the Poles threw tactics to the wind, so to speak, and went for the German jugular.

The Luftwaffe pilots reportedly avoided c
David Turner
I found it difficult to get going with this book at first and found many of the characters initially unpleasant and uninteresting. However, after a while I was flying through it (pardon the pun) and really enjoyed it. The characters developed well and the randomness of death kept me on the edge of my seat - I had no idea who was going to make it through. Great book.
Frederick J
"Every war is a cock-up, because that's what war is: organized cock-ups"
Toby McMillen
The book was a fast finisher, but a slow starter. Worth the effort in the end, but the dialogue--and there is quite a bit of it--is generally rife with long sophomoric exchanges between the fighter pilots. Funny sometimes, but it gets old. Great insight into the story of the British fighter pilot and the run-up to the Battle of Britain, circa 1939-40.
A fighter pilot friend of mine recommended this novel as one that educated and inspired him as a young military pilot. A well-done, graphic, touching, compelling story of the RAF during the Battle of Britain and early war years.
Another book with good reviews. The writing style was just not for me. It seemed there was much too much irrelevant dialogue and the story seemed to drag. So, I read about half of it and took it back to the library.
Stacy McMahon
I've seen the London Evening Television miniseries based on this book and look forward to reading it (since we know the book is always better than the movie!)
The best of Robinson's series, IMO. I really liked the BBC mini-series made from this book, but then read the book. It was even better.
-ed- Erwin
Very funny and heart-breakingly accurate Novel of the Battle of Britain. This guy does British dialogue like Elmore Leonard does American.
Steve Markham
Amusing in parts, very good narative and decent characters. A bit long winded in places but worth the read all the same.
Lynn Gledhill
Absolutely brilliant.....witty, exciting and sad. A taste of World War Two through the eyes of the fly boys in the RAF.
Robin Snelson
I really enjoyed this a few years ago, cracking book, very well written and as close I think as you can get to the real story
Could not stop laughing throughout the novel. Very well written, immersive and literally laugh-out-loud.
Sue Johnson
This is, absolutely, one of the funniest books I have ever read!! Could not put it down!!
Highly readable account of British fliers just before and during the Battle of Britain.
Pretty much one of the best fictional accounts of war that I've ever read
Mark Edward
As good as war novels can get. Black humored and even blacker reality.
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Derek Robinson is a British author best known for his military aviation novels full of black humour. He has also written several books on some of the more sordid events in the history of Bristol, his home town, as well as guides to rugby. He was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1971 for his first novel, 'Goshawk Squadron.'

After attending Cotham Grammar School, Robinson served in the Royal Air For
More about Derek Robinson...
Goshawk Squadron A Good Clean Fight War Story (Cassell Military Paperbacks) Hornet's Sting Damned Good Show (Cassell Military Trade Books)

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