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Battle of Britain: Ladybird Expert Book

James Holland
This is a traditionally laid out book from Ladybird which many of you may remember either from your own childhood days or from buying and reading to your own children. There is a page of text on the left side of the book and a full page piece of artwork on the right hand page. The big difference is that these are written for adult readers with much more information than a child’s book would contain. Having said that, I don’t really see the point of the books. The text is by the very well respected historian James Holland whose book on the Battle of Britain is excellent and somewhat larger that the Ladybird edition! The artwork is by Keith Burns and is superb and evocative. One shows 609 Sqn attacking Stukas with streams of expended brass coming from the aircraft. Many of the drawings would make very good prints in their own right.

The information give is concise and to the point, bringing out the relevant details of the Battle of Britain, from both sides, covering tactics and technologies. The fact that British pilots were rested at frequent intervals whereas the Luftwaffe just kept on sending the pilots back into action, leaving a very exhausted Luftwaffe to fight the battle is well made. Losses are mentioned but more importantly replacements are mentioned and how this affected the Battle. I have no problems with the information given it is just that, personally, I prefer the complete history as given in Holland’s earlier excellent book on the Battle. To be fair the Ladybird edition does give a good ‘Further reading’ section.

Ladybird Expert Books. This is obviously something that the publishers have thought a good idea as introductions to various subjects. This particular book is part of a 12 book series on WW2 and there are others planned on different subjects, for instance there is to be a book on Climate Change with the text written by HRH The Prince of Wales.

I can’t fault the book in any way, indeed it is a nice book to read, but it is just too shallow to satisfy my need for knowledge of the Battle of Britain. That is a personal thought and this book could be useful as a primer for someone about to sit an exam on history in which WW2 is part of the questions. The book is pocket sized and 50 pages in length.

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