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The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  63 reviews
"The magnitude and vital importance of the Battle of Britain has found a superb chronicler in Stephen Bungay, whose book is the best single-volume history to be published in over a decade." - Andrew Roberts

Stephen Bungay's magisterial history is acclaimed as the account of the Battle of Britain.

Unrivalled for its synthesis of all previous historical accounts, for the
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Paperback, 512 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Aurum Press (first published August 5th 2000)
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KOMET
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though many books have been written on the Battle of Britain since the end of the Second World War, Stephen Bungay's book offers some fresh insights on the Battle.

Using material from both British and German sources, Bungay shows that the Luftwaffe, despite its impressive show of strength from Poland to the defeat of France in June 1940, was not capable of waging a strategic bombing campaign against Britain which could have defeated it. An invasion of Britain could only have succeeded through a
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Ian Hathaway
Feb 24, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Most Dangerous Book: A Distortion of the Battle of Britain

To begin with the positives, this book is well researched and well written. In particular I enjoyed the chapter dedicated to the development of the Spitfire and Hurricane. Unfortunately that is where the positives end, there is nothing new in this book.

After 20 pages I was almost ready to give up on this book, however I persevered only to find my disappointment grew and grew. I bought the book based on reviews and recommendations from
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Dimitri
A solid overview of the fight for areal suppremacy prior to the Nazi invasion of England. The daily actions are reported in considerable detail, sometimes a bit too much for my taste, but intersected by informed chapters on doctrine, radar, machines and men.

Bungay sometimes puts his points too bluntly and a few statements border on Anglophile, while he shows himself to be capable of sound reasoning when he notices how the importance of Fighter Command dawns on Kesselring, or, intriguingly, how
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Marcus
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Battle of Britain is probably the most covered topic in military aviation literature and there must be literally hundreds of titles covering the topic in English language alone. Through the years I have managed to read quite a few of them and I can say that 'The Most Dangerous Enemy' is without a doubt the best of them. First of all, author manages to stay focused and balanced both in his narrative and analysis of events. Both antagonists get same amount of coverage, while critique and prize are ...more
Brian Page
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
…a tour de force. Quite simply the best account of the Battle of Britain ever written. The research, writing, and the analysis is superb. Bungay presents a nuanced critique backed by massive amounts of data that not only relates what happened but why, and the implications. He dispels many of the myths surrounding the battle. I especially enjoyed his analysis of the leadership, strategy, and tactics, of BOTH sides of the conflict. This is an extremely well-balanced account that gives essentially ...more
Markku
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very thorough and well-researched. Gives a balanced view of the events and well-argued opinions of the main players.
David Readmont-Walker
Brilliantly researched, bloody well written, superb analysis. The only caveat to the 5 stars is that you need to love your WW2 air battles.
Andrew
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The hardcover edition is a large format (like a coffee table book) but is appropriate because of the excellent illustrations and photos from the Battle of Britain. Bungay's constructed the book as a day-by-day account of the battle, introducing us to people on both sides and how they would fight and die or fight and live.

The author's appraisal was that "the Battle of Britain was not a near-run thing. The Luftwaffe never came close to achieving any of its confused objectives." However, the
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Jimmie Aaron Kepler
"The Most Dangerous Enemy: An Illustrated History of the Battle of Britain" is spectacular. It merits a five-star rating. It is in a large-format of 11.9 x 9.8 x 1.1 inches. The quality of the book is immaculate. If you are a history buff with an interest in the Battle of Britain this is the book for you. The book is divided into three sections: Part 1: Build-up, Part 2: Battle, and Part 3: Aftermath. It takes you on a journey of understanding. You learn of the organization of the air forces. ...more
Mark
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Battle of Britain stands out among the long list of military clashes for a number of reasons. A struggle for air superiority over the skies of southern England, it was the first battle ever waged entirely in the skies. By successfully holding off the Luftwaffe’s aerial onslaught, the British forestalled an invasion in 1940, guaranteeing that the Germans would face a two-front war when Hitler focused the Nazi war machine on the Soviet Union the following year.

Many accounts of the battle have
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Jan
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the postscript the author writes: 'Perhaps you too, especially if you are not British, should not completely forget about the Battle of Britain. For this, if anything of ours, is worth your memory'

Stephen Bungay has done a marvelous job of aiding our memory with his encyclopedic account of those tense months during the summer and early autumn of 1940, where 'the few' decisively blunted German attempts so subdue Great Britain. With immaculate research and complete control of the source
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Simon Bateson
A very informative detailed history of the Battle of Britain. A bit of a slog at times but overall enjoyable.
Tony
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Heavy of fact, light on synthesis. Is there not more to writing history then listing facts?
Ken Punter
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good account of the Battle of Britain - with some flaws.

Accessible, readable history of the aerial battle of attrition between the Luftwaffe and the RAF in the late summer of 1940. Bungay's book successfully presents both the technical details (dates, places, numbers involved, aircraft types, nationalities and losses) alongside the emotional and personal cost of the conflict.

For me, the particular strength of the book is the description within the opening chapters of the shifting sands of
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Bob Mobley
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Bungay has written a superb, insightful, and fascinating book about the Battle of Britain and the RAF during the beginning of WWII. I would recommend this fine military history to anyone who is interested in this critical time of the history of WWII. Stephen Bungay writes with precision and ease of style on all of the aspects that made up the opposing forces, German and British, including the Polish flyers in the RAF Polish squadrons. Their leadership, aircraft, logistics, tactical and ...more
Tore
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A marvellous account, very detailed and thorough. When Gerd von Rundstedt was asked by soviet interviewers after the war which battle he considered the most important, he answered not Stalingrad, but the Battle of Britain. It probably was. If it had been lost, the last vestige of democracy in Europe would have been extinguished, whoever prevailed of Nazi-Germany or Communist Soviet Union. There would have been no dawn, for man. A few people, most notably Churchill, Hugh Downing, Keith Park and ...more
Mark
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this sometime ago but thought I would do a retrospective review.

This really is a very good read.
It documents the battle and what happens behind the scenes in an interesting and engaging way.

What I really liked is the way it tried to dispel some of the myths around arial combat in that period.
It wasn't a time of chivalry and honour, there were no "White Knights" of the sky who jousted around the clouds to glorious deaths.
Quite often pilots were killed as they taxied, landed or were blasted
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Malcolm
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book with 1 major area of omission

This is the most comprehensive book that I’ve ever read about the Battle of Britain. However there is one surprising omission.

In the late 1930s an underground system of petrol/ gasoline pipelines were built from Liverpool to many RAF airfields. This allowed the airfields to have a steady supply of gasoline/petroleum and not be reliant on waiting for the next fuel truck to arrive. As importantly it meant that airfields did not have as many large fuel
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Mrs Psmit
Very detailed account of the Battle of Britain. If you need numbers, data not only about British Fighter Command but also Luftwaffe this is the book you need.

But despite all these numbers it’s quite easy to read and the epilogue is rather moving because it tells about author’s meetings with Robert Doe and James Sanders, both fighter pilots during the Battle of Britain.

As Russian I greatly appreciated that author doesn’t assume that Germany and USSR were allies and at least notes the enourmous
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Jim Milway
A very detailed account of the Battle Of Britain. Too detailed for my liking. I wish the book pulled back a little more from the detail and spelled out the key themes of the book - that the British were better at producing aircraft, that their defence strategy was much superior to the German offense strategy, etc. But if you want thorough, authoritative account this is the book. Stephen Bungay has left no stone unturned.
Lisa
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a brilliant book with so much detail and stories, a balanced overview of the contribution of the Battle of Britain to the war. For the most part I found it really accessible. The author has a dry wit so it was a really enjoyable read all round. I especially loved the chapter on the Dowding System, which was/is amazing, and those explaining the invention/construction of the chief planes involved on both sides and the differences between them.
Louise Bray
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An immensely detailed and comprehensive overview of the Battle of Britain. So much research has been put into this book, an absolute must-read for anyone interested in history. The only downside is that sometimes it seems a bit waffly - I feel some of the information would have been presented better in the form of a table, rather than taking up a whole page of explanation. Nevertheless, an excellent, thought-provoking account of a key event in British history.
Matt
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly detailed, but the writing of the book wasn't up to standard. Didn't really like the references to Agincourt, or ovemphasizing the consequences of the battle (Western civilisation?! Germany could not have invaded even if they had won!). Also completely neglected the shameful attitude of the British in the initial years of the war regarding their 'ally' France.
Charles
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history and reads well

Well researched and a great review of the events of the battle of britain. Compares favorably to all the other BOB histories I have read with more current information. Get it.
Mark Nichols
Cleared up a number of misconceptions around what may have been the twentieth century's most high-stakes battle. Well researched, combining strategic and tactical elements to a great deal of detail. Definitely recommended.
Brian D
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Supersedes Len Deighton's 'Fighter' as the best book about the Battle of Britain
Tim O'Sullivan
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice revisit of a familiar subject from a diifferent perspective

This a familiar subject and the author has a newish perspective which makes this book stand out from the crowd
John
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really excellent, if a bit nerdy on the details in the middle with days vs planes destroyed.
Interesting that the conclusion (very much in line with the end of history idea) has dated badly.
Jim Hill
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read

The reality of the battle of Britain is much different than the myths .Well written and detailed,a pleasure to read and changed my view of the battle
Nishant Pappireddi
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary book with full detail about the Battle of Britain, mainly how it was almost certainly won by the British before it even began.
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