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4.1  ·  Rating details ·  1,986 Ratings  ·  96 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 April 1st 1971)
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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
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wasn't too sure about this novel when I started it. (it was a recommendation) but I did become involved with the characters over the course of the novel.

Initially there were a huge cast of characters on offer here both British and Australian and their German counterparts. It did take a while to get into the stride of the novel and sort them all out. The novel deals with a Bomber Squadron over a short period of time.

Have to admit that a lot of the technical information sailed over my head althoug
Nov 22, 2008 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 17, 2016 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 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
Dec 07, 2013 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.
Simon Mcleish
Feb 12, 2013 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
Oct 29, 2010 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
carl  theaker
May 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-fiction, ww2

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.

Jan 08, 2013 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
Jun 21, 2012 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
Jul 13, 2016 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
Oct 03, 2014 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
Terry Callister
Mar 20, 2011 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.
Jun 08, 2008 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.
Tim Caines
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow start but ended up being quite moved by it.
Jan 03, 2016 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!
Twenty-four hours in the air war. Amazingly detailed without boring; amazingly peopled without stock characters.
Simon Clarke
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Gayton
This book is what it says it is: 24 hours of a bombing raid and what happens on both sides. Unfortunately it is has so many characters and so much minutiae that I lost track and lost interest in the primary action of the book: the men and women who actually did the raid or fought against it. We got to see the laundry flapping as the the fighter plane took off. I mean really who cares what the 5th airplane mechanic from the left had for breakfast. There are so many subplots and extraneous details ...more
David Proffitt
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the kind of book I normally read but was recommended to me by a friend.

Set during the summer of 1943 it follows the events surrounding an RAF bombing raid on a town in Germany. What makes the book different from other similar books is that it follows the lives on both sides of the conflict. Not only do we get a glimpse into the everyday lives of the crews of Bomber Command, but we are also introduced to the residents of the German town which becomes the accidental target of the raid and the 
Feb 02, 2010 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
arthur bland
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is an absolute masterpiece. The author gradually draws you in until you are entwined in the lives of each and every character: a book has never before bought tears to my eyes. Alongside this are incredibly fascinating facts which help you gain such a deep understanding of what life was like for those both in the air and on the ground during WW2. Read this book!
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
At the end of a Len Deighton kick. This book was very detailed and had story lines on both the English and German sides, but had a hard time pulling the stories and the various characters together at the end. Interesting take on the morality of modern warfare and bombing.
Katherine Shippin
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well-researched novel telling the story of 24 hours in the lives of pilots (and others) from both the British and German airforce in 1943. Thought-provoking and intense.
Andrew Pierce
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The horror of it all for those doing the bombing, those being bombed and their nearest & dearest permeates this graphic, compelling book. A very sobering read
Tiaan Jonker
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Loved it!
Bill Conrad
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic read about what really happened on a WWII bombing run. The descriptions are vivid, personal and intriguing. Specifically Len Deighton really got into the hearts and minds of the airmen involved. There were some great historical facts that I was unaware of and the overall result was a great read.
Mar 22, 2014 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
Greg Coppin
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever read a book that was so good you might never read it again?
I read Bomber by Len Deighton probably about twelve years ago now. I was gripped. It was superb. I naturally don’t always agree with the quotes on the covers of books, but I have to say the one on the cover of Bomber is not hyperbole. ‘A massively different novel. The effect is, quite literally, devastating.’
Because it was devastating.
The book stayed with me for days after.
And my point is I now fear that if I read it again
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1000 Books Before...: Bomber 1 3 Feb 18, 2017 01:18PM  
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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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