Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dambusters: A Landmark Oral History” as Want to Read:
Dambusters: A Landmark Oral History
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dambusters: A Landmark Oral History

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  88 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
On 16 May 1943, nineteen Lancaster bomber crews gathered at a remote RAF station in Lincolnshire for a mission of extraordinary daring and high risk - a night raid on three crucial and heavily defended dams deep in the German industrial heartland. The raiders would have to fly across occupied Europe at a perilously low level and drop their bombs at a mere 60 feet above the ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 2nd 2008 by Virgin Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dambusters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dambusters

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 177)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Pete daPixie
Mar 20, 2012 Pete daPixie rated it liked it
Shelves: history-wwii
In just the last decade there has been no shortage of books published covering the Dambusters raid of 16-17 May 1943. Not surprising considering the technical wizardry alone. A six ton bomb, shaped like an oil drum, set to be spun up at 500rpm (anticlockwise) before dropping a precise distance from the walls of the dams, from a height of just 60 feet, above water, at night, at a speed of some 230mph from a specially modified Lancaster bomber, so the bomb would skip like a stone across the water, ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am quite a fan of books on World War II but I have never read anything quite like this. I've read the 6 volumes of Churchill's The Second World War book series with much of the writing from one persons point of view. This work is completely unlike that.

Firstly, and most importantly this is an oral history with both German and Allied voices. To me this makes it one of the most interesting books on a single event I've read. We hear voices from both sides.

Next, this is an oral history and does
Susan Paxton
Arthur's oral histories are always well worth reading; in the case of 617 Squadron he's done what few others have and sought out material from the ground crews and other nonflying personnel (and the comparison of their reactions to the horrific losses of the Dams raid and those of the flying personnel are a little off-putting; the ground crews, WAAFs, and Barnes Wallis were weeping, the air crew who'd made it back were celebrating). One thing that would have made the book a bit more useful would ...more
Tin Wee
This is an example of how oral histories should be compiled. Various sources are interviewed and their excerpts are arranged chronologically to present the story of the famous raid on the Mohner and Eder Dams which powered the German Ruhr industrial area. Various phases are covered from the conceptualization, recruitment, execution, and aftermath of the raid. Interestingly, also includes interviews with German victims of the raids to show the impact of the raid. Recommended.
Thomas Fenske
Jul 10, 2015 Thomas Fenske rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Squadron 617 has been heralded since WWII for their mission against the Ruhr Valley dams. The mission included cutting edge technology, great planning, flawless timing, and bravery of the highest sort. Many participants died.
What Max Arthur has done is cobble together accounts of the mission, from the pilots and air crews, the ground crews, various support staff, planners, scientists, and even German military and civilians who were the victims of the attack.
Like some oral histories, especially
Mark Barnes
Feb 17, 2015 Mark Barnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book that weaves together the recollections of many of those involved in the Dambusters' raid. There's no attempt to editorialise, or to smooth over differences in recollections, and the book is better for that. It probably ought not be the only book you read on the raid, but it's certainly a fascinating account.
Alan Wilson
Jan 16, 2015 Alan Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was great and was different from anything I had read before. To hear from so many different people who were involved in the build up and how they felt after was fascinating. It also had the added extra of hearing about the attack from the other side which is rare.
Donald L McGill
Feb 28, 2015 Donald L McGill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the best wartime books I've had the pleasure to read..You are there, being shot at, wondering if you will make it back alive...If you like war stories you will love this book, Get your copy today
Chaplain Stanleigh Chapin

A bit disconcerting with the going from one person to another and not always on the same item, but interesting and informative
Kent Archie
Apr 14, 2015 Kent Archie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have liked some more technical details, but there are other book for this.
Hearing the story as told by the bomber crews and the people living below the dams was fascinating and terrifying. I was impressed by how the crews pushed on after seeing about half the planes not making it back.
Dan Ward
May 13, 2016 Dan Ward rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I paid money for this book. It is utterly unreadable. It is composed in little paragraphs of oral interviews. The story of the raid is not told just little bits of memories, bouncing from person to person without any real continuity. The raid itself is an incredible story but the only incredible thing about this book is that it was published.

I suppose this is a good add on to other books if you want deeper information on the bombing mission but don't purchase this book as a first
Brian Grinter
Dec 11, 2012 Brian Grinter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read, written oral history from the aircrew and ground crew of 617 Squadron RAF, the "Dambusters".
Fabio marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2016
Michael Christensen
Michael Christensen marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2016
Winthrop C. DAvis
Winthrop C. DAvis rated it it was amazing
Jul 06, 2016
Steven R
Steven R marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2016
Paul rated it really liked it
Jun 20, 2016
David marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2016
Terry rated it liked it
Jun 10, 2016
paul j unsworth
paul j unsworth rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2016
Panda marked it as to-read
May 17, 2016
Gillian Morris
Gillian Morris rated it liked it
May 07, 2016
Grant added it
Apr 23, 2016
Tom Romo
Tom Romo rated it really liked it
Mar 29, 2016
Judith Crichfield
Judith Crichfield rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2016
Al rated it liked it
Feb 25, 2016
Ken marked it as to-read
Feb 16, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Max Arthur is an author who specialises in first-hand recollections of historical events. He has worked closely with the Imperial War Museum to bring together two books in the Forgotten Voices series, Forgotten Voices of the Great War and Forgotten Voices of the Second World War. Prior to becoming a writer, he served with the Royal Air Force and for some years was an actor.
More about Max Arthur...

Share This Book