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The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945
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The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  79 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The ultimate history of the Allied bombing campaigns in World War II

Technology shapes the nature of all wars, and the Second World War hinged on a most unpredictable weapon: the bomb. Day and night, Britain and the United States unleashed massive fleets of bombers to kill and terrorize occupied Europe, destroying its cities. The grisly consequences call into question how...more
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published February 20th 2014 by Viking Adult (first published September 1st 2013)
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This was a very detailed and well documented work yet was worded so as to be easy to read. It gave a real perspective of the gigantic scope of the bombing effort put forth by the Allies in WWII. The book asked the questions, "Was the bombing effective, and did it meet its objectives." Even though I would agree to some extent with the conclusions, I would say they are negated by the fact that approximately 291,000 Americans died in the conflict and we didn't start the war. The fact that only some...more

**Won via Goodreads First Reads Giveaway **

Bombers and Bombed is a very interesting look at both ends of the Allied bombing campaign in Europe 1940-45. I am a fan of new or little told stories from WWII and this easy read is near the top. The book is very detailed, maybe a little too detailed for the beginner history buff. You will not be disappointed with B&B and I enjoyed this book greatly. On a side note, as I read this book a bulldozer driver in Germany was killed on a construction site...more
victor harris
The quality of scholarship and analysis is excellent, but you should be advised you have to plow through mountains of statistics that belonged in an appendix. Also needed major editing, the paragraphs in many cases are intolerably lengthy, sometimes in excess of a page, and tend to lose the thread and force of the explanation.
Peter Mcloughlin
This book is not an oral history or a collection of individual accounts but a study of the policy by the allies of bombing. It is a story that starts out with debates over restraint over civilian casualties and quickly escalates into area bombing during the war. The first half of the book covers the air war and bombing strategy by the allies. The tactics and the aims of the allies is covered well and the reader gets a good idea of how bombing was conducted plus tables and stats of bombers, losse...more
David Bird
This book is much more for the reader looking to understand the broad picture of the offensive and defensive sides of the bombing war, than one seeking dramatic narratives of individual survival and heroism.

The bomber forces were probably the greatest instance of technology driving policy. Bombers were built based on the presumption that they would deliver knockout blows; having been built, they were used, and continued to be used even after it was clear that they were not delivering on their o...more
Norman Metzger
I took a quite personal interest in this book since as a young child living in Frankfurt a/m I was one of the "bombed". I also was one of the children evacuated to a country town near the end of the war, a program that Overy touches on tangentially. Beyond the personal side, this is indeed a very good book, and makes clear in merciless detail how ineffective the bombing campaigns often were. Entire cities were missed and even if the cities were found the targets were either not found or subject...more
Omar Ali
It looks like enough time has passed for someone serious to write a book about the bombing of Europe. Very thorough. Very balanced. Well worth a read if you are a world war two buff...
Peter Goodman
“The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War over Europe, 1940-1945,” by Richard Overy (Viking, 2013). Overy wrote “Why the Allies Won,” a far better---or at least, more interesting---book. Here he examines in great detail the origins of British and American thinking about how to conduct a war in the air, how it evolved, and whether it worked at all. After WWI, most strategic thinkers felt that future wars would be decided by devastating bombing, which would destroy cities, kill civilians, and te...more
This is an excellent look at the Anglo-American air war during World War II because Overy has done something I have never seen another author do. He covers not just the bombing of Germany but also the Allied bombing of Italy and German-occupied and German-allied countries.

Overy makes three points about the bombing of Germany I hadn't really seen before. 1) The Germans always expected to be bombed and began preparing their "civil defense" from the mid-1930s. 2) Women played a major role in German...more
In this book there are parts of it that are very interesting and there are other parts for me that were difficult to get through. There is so much information that at times you feel like there is too much. Most of the information is about the towns or cities that were bombed in Europe during WWII. There is also information about the blitz on Britain by Germany. Britain then set out and bomb Bulgaria multiple times for their alliance with Germany like they had in WWI. Thinking that bombing towns...more
Harry A
This is a very detailed, and very readable, history of the Allied bombing of Europe in WWII, and the German response. He covers bombing outside of Germany (which was more extensive than I had realized), along with the better-known bombing of Germany (including the fire-bombings of Hamburg and Dresden). He simply assumes that deliberately targeting civilians was immoral, and is more interested in how the Allies came to do it than in explaining why it was immoral. (He does provide evidence that it...more
My 13 year old nephew, who is fascinated with this subject gave the following review. "This book is way cool. It gives tons of true info. I had a great time reading it. Wished the maps weren't blank, but still awesome. Gotta get my dad and grandpa to read." Got this book free from goodreads first reads.
A few months ago I read Bomber by Len Deighton, a novel about an RAF bombing raid on Germany in 1943 told from the point of view of all the parties involved: British bomber pilots, German fighter pilots, German civilians on the ground, and so on. This is a scholarly study of the subject. Bombing was definitely a front in the war: instead of attacking a tank in the field or an airplane in the air, it is easier to destroy the factory that makes them, or the refinery that makes fuel for them, or to...more
Katie/Doing Dewey
I think objectively this book is very well done. The author includes a lot of very detailed statistics but mixes them in with fun facts, first-hand anecdotes, and fascinating stories. However, for me, this was just more detail than I needed on the topic. I felt the story got bogged down by details of exact numbers and dates. There were a number of people mentioned, but I couldn't keep them straight because we were never given any personal information about any them and they all blurred together....more
I received this book for free from Goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review.

The author has done a lot of fact gathering for this book and he is very happy to share it with you. The time he spent digging through other works, historical documents and maps would be more than some people get to live. This book is very interesting in the way it opens up the war room dialogue as to when and where and why we should use planes and bombs in a war. All of this time I had foolishly assumed that...more
Source: Free copy from Viking in exchange for a review.

During World War II (1939-1945) "600,000 European civilians were killed by bomb attack and well over a million more were seriously injured, in some cases physically or mentally disabled for life." Page xi
It is with these sobering statistics, Richard Overy, begins a detailed overview of the bombers who bombed in order to destroy the Axis powers of World War II.
The main thrust of the book is on the bombers of the Allied forces: the Bom...more
Stephen Maire
Reviews for Richard Overy's "The Bombers and the Bombed" have been deservedly strong. This is an outstanding work.

There are no shortage of issues in the aerial bombing of World War 2. Is the bombing intended to affect political will or strategic capability? What argument exists for bombing civilian urban areas as opposed to industrial areas? Did it work? Was it worth the cost in lives? Overy deals with each of these questions, but more importantly follows the evolution of the question and the an...more
This novel’s style was aggravating, with full pages or more of a single paragraph. I wouldn’t describe this style as enjoyable or easily readable at all. I was glad that the real length of the novel was 200 pages less than the 636 pages that were in the e-book. The rest was footnotes.

The Americans and the British were obsessed with bombers in WWII. On the American side, that was evident in just one instance, which was the production of the B-24 Liberator (a somewhat ironic term after reading thi...more
Richard Overy proves that seven decades after World War II, there are still topics to write about with a fresh, critical view. He does not tread over old ground but breaks new ground with this masterpiece work.

Overy takes a broad, sweeping and all-encompassing view of the bombing campaigns of WWII, looking not only at those that dropped the bombs but those that experienced them first hand. His meticulous research will cause reconsideration of long-held beliefs about the effectiveness of strategi...more
Marty Nicholas
Detailed account of WWII bombing of Europe. Three valid targets: oil, transportation and German airforce. Terror bombing of German/Dutch/Belgian cities a useless waste. Reaffirms Max Hastings' conclusions. Perhaps most interesting part of book was the sections on German civilian response to bombing.
Really this was a three and a half. I enjoyed learning about the Allied air war, and it gave me some new perspective of what it meant to be "liberators" in Europe.
Robert Sparrenberger
Very detailed and solid account of the allied bombing of Europe during the Second World War. Very readable and interesting. A solid 4 stars for this one.
I received this book via Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway.

This book is not a beginning history read.

This book is well written, and very detailed, almost too detailed. I found myself having to go back and re-read paragraphs.

I do wish this book was broken down into smaller parts, which would have made it a bit easier to read.

Much bright prose shines through considerable technical detail.
Great book on the history of the bombing campaigns by both the Allies and Germans in Europe during World War II.
Dawn Christopher
Historically revealing!!
May 28, 2014 PWRL marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2014-new
This book was a great addition to add for my husband. He is thrilled to read such a well told story.
Deven Dougherty
While It is not a book that I would usually read, it is full of interesting information that I and prob the rest if the general public are unaware of. It is well put together. It has statistics but also reads semi-easily like a story. I would recommend it to any history lover, and feel that this is going to be a popular read among that population.
Patrick Shrier
Apr 23, 2014 Patrick Shrier rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history, WWII, world War Two
One of the best books I have ever read regarding the effects and efficacy of the Allied Bombing campaign in Europe in WWII. Overy makes clear that despite the many claims to the contrary and thousand of tons of ordnance dropped, strategic bombing was largely a failure and he explains why. An excellent read.
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Richard James Overy is a British historian who has published extensively on the history of World War II and the Third Reich.
More about Richard Overy...
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