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The First And The Last

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,137 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A fearless leader with 104 victories to his name, Galland was a legendary hero in Germany's Luftwaffe. Now he offers an insider's look at the division's triumphs in Poland and France and the last desperate battle to save the Reich. "The clearest picture yet of how the Germans lost their war in the air".--Time. Illustrations. (War History)
Mass Market Paperback, 302 pages
Published 1979 by Bantam Books, Inc. (first published 1953)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  1,137 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Dec 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: ww2, memoirs
I have a lot of respect for Adolf Galland. The first and the last describe the good parts of this book. The first chapters are enough to hook you and then it gets good from chapter 27 on. I really wanted to hear more personal accounts that Galland had with the Condor Legion and his personal experiences with all of the aircraft that he piloted, but instead I got a lot of complaining about the high command and I really hate to say it and it probably wasn't his fault, but excuses. I do realize the ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The First and The Last". by Adolph Galland, 1953. The parents of a colleague of mine shared a table with Adolph Galland sometime during the 1970's at a reunion of fighter pilots. Apparently there was a disagreement regarding the allocation of a bottle of fine Champaign on their table, leading to my friend's mother to exclaim in retrospect, "Adolph Galland, he was an ace all right. - he was also an ass." I am not sure what to make of this story, except that I wish I could have been at their ...more
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic, along with Rudel's memoire, from the Luftwaffe side of the war.
Uber Hund
Dec 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
For such a gifted pilot and warrior, Galland is a terribly inept writer. His egotistical self-promotion left no room for the kind of details his readership - pilots and/or history buffs - would find requited in other war diaries.
His prose reads like an Excel spreadsheet or the excruciating who-begat-whoms of Genesis. His agenda appears to be to quantize the folly of Allied strategic bombing - an obvious conclusion already known to anyone familiar with the more didactic treatments by Joseph
Tom Landry
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a great book. It really gave me an understanding of what it was like for the German fighter pilots of WWII from the beginning to the end of the war. No Hitler. No Nazis. Just the story of the pilots flying in the war.
A very interesting account of Gallands time through the war years
Colin Woods
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating inside look at the chaos and poor decisions inside the third reich. Must read for anyone interested in this period.
Michael Gunn
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read this book ages ago, but still recommend it to anyone wanting a first hand account of the aerial war in world war 2.
David Hill
Galland wrote this book almost ten years after the conclusion of the war. This means that, even if he wasn't aware of the atrocities of the regime he supported at the time, he certainly knew the story by the time this book was published. I'm used to German soldiers claiming in their memoirs that they knew nothing of the war crimes, that their units weren't involved. And I accept that the Luftwaffe (and particularly the fighter arm) were generally not directly involved, but I find Galland's ...more
Neil Crowle
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book, and explained thoroughly the campaigns of the Luftwaffe during World War II and why it eventually became ineffective. Galland's battles against the decisions of his superiors are dealt with in detail. Occasionally the narrative becomes just a little tedious. The last chapter is poignant.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Account of the rise and fall of the Luftwaffe fighter forces. Duh -- wouldn't need to read anything beyond the title to figure that out, would you?

Interesting. Hitler blamed for lots of the problems -- Goering at fault, too.

Not sure what edition -- the one I read was 25 percent longer than this.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not at all what I expected. I was hoping for anecdotal tales of Galland’s Luftwaffe experiences and colleagues. Instead, this reads as more of a political history of the Luftwaffe during WWII and (a few moments aside) is pretty dry.
If you want something more anecdotal have a look for Johannes Steinhoff’s memoirs which are much more riveting and readable.
Kyle "Mengele" Hellman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dennis Russ
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book. I last read it more than 35 years ago and I value it even more now. It is an excellent view of the air war in the

ETO from the "other side" of the street. I recommend it to all students of World War II. You will be impressed.
Dana Reeves
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy read, Galland is a great warrior. Chivalry and honor at it's best.
Kevin Weir
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It was interesting to read of the progress of WW2 from the point of view of a German. I found it fascinating.
Drat! This paperback ends abruptly at the point Galland's jet is shot down in April, 1945. If/when I join the age of digital books, I'll see it through.
Ernie Page
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
While interesting to hear the "other side of the story" it is predictable and ultimately a snooze.
eric j mcquiston
Outstanding !

A insightful story of the rise and fall of the Luftwaffe and the man who realized what could of been a great Air Force if things had changed.
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech, nonfiction, history, war
The First and the Last (1953) by Adolf Galland is an account of Luftwaffe fighter arm from the perspective of a man who was both a highly successful pilot with 104 kills and a General of the fighter arm who was very familiar with Hitler, Goering, Speer and other senior German politicians and commanders. The book has been sufficiently influential that a number of the points that Galland makes have become popular wisdom.
Galland flew in Spain and then flew in the Luftwaffe in France and during the
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
A first-hand account written by a man who was part of the upper echelons of the WW2 German Luftwaffe and also at the forefront of the air war over Britain and mainland Europe. There's many interesting insights into strategic decisions made by the German leaders, and Galland's in-person dealings with Hitler and Goring give us a rare look at the minds behind Germany's war effort. I found it fascinating how much of a hindrance the mindset of Hitler was against the defence of the German Reich, thus ...more
Greg Cooper
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A recommended read for anyone interested in hearing of the Luftwaffe perspective of World War II.

I read a copy of the original publication - 1954 - translated into English, which is not represented on Goodreads.

Galland is brutally honest with his experience of the many people involved in rise and collapse of Germany. His perspective is not what the typical reader may think. Garland's writing is critical of Nazi Germany with succinct descriptions of people and events that made up the World War
Jeff Greason
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
A competent but rather dry history of the Luftwaffe fighter arm during World War Two. I found the personal feelings of the author, however understandable, got in the way of understanding his points. I suggest 'The Luftwaffe War Diaries' as a better general purpose work.

However there are valuable lessons to be learned about concentrating forces on strategically meaningful objections, about the errors (on both sides) caused by thinking the war was about to be won and not following through, and
Roger Ingle
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is an absolute must for readers interested in World War Two. It is the autobiography of a great pilot and patriot, and a wonderful human being. He respected the pilots he was having to shoot down and treated prisoners very well. He was in the dog fights over the English Channel and later became the youngest general in the air force. The catch is, he was fighting for Germany.
The preface to the book was written by Bader, England's most famous ace. The two of them had great respect for
Uber Hund
Dec 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
For such a brilliant pilot and warrior, Galland is a terribly inept writer.
His goal appears to have been to prove the pointlessness of strategic bombing, solid cases against which had already been more engagingly made by theater contemporaries Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut.
Reading at times like an Excel spreadsheet, at others like the who-begat-whom of the book of Genesis, Galland's choice not to work with a competent writer has forever lost the grit, texture, and technical detail of flying
Flosi Þorgeirsson
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Brilliant reading. Galland explains so much in this book and offers insights on things in the war that he himself experienced firsthand and had years to ponder and think about before writing this. The Luftwaffe failure in the BoB is explained well and also the friction in the high command that gradually got worse and worse. Hitler's destruction of the wondrous Me-262 is well described. Exciting reading, well written by someone who was there.
Edward Burton
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
This book details Adolf Galland's helm as Major-General of the Luftwaffe. Galland's frustration at Hitler and Goering's ineptitude pours forth, and I found myself almost feeling sorry for Germany in the final days. Galland gives his impressions of all facets including his dogfights against the English and the Americans, and his experiences in the jetfighter, Me-262. Not to be missed by fans of Wolrd War II or air combat.
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The bravest and the best

Garland is one pilot that I would love to go one on one with. I can only imagine how naturally good he must be. He started fighting in Spain and kept the no 1 position until he walked away as one of the first jet pilots. It was flying from the German perspective, well worth five stars.
Dr John Steward
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent insight into german high command and their strange decisions concerning the luftwaffefrom someone who should know.not another fighters ace I'll

but detailed analysis by a Luftwaffe Lt. General who knew Hitler and Goring well. I conclude that Hitler was the Allies best weapon!
Bryan Mcquirk
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, military
I enjoyed this book. I would have given it a higher rating if he had focused more on the pilots and battles and left out as much of the politics. We all know how bad Goering and Hitler screwed up with the Luftwaffe, I wanted to read more about the early days and the fighting.
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