Chastise - The Dambusters Story 1943

Chastise - The Dambusters Story 1943

W21A

LE
Book Reviewer
W21A submitted a new resource:

Chastise - The Dambusters Story 1943 - The Dambusters. The true story.

Chastise

Max Hastings

Max Hastings turns his talents to Operation Chastise, Wallis and Gibson. Love him or loathe him Hastings seems to cut through the legends created by depth of time and using resources comes up with a narrative that is likely very close to the truth, destroys the mythology, and at times can be an unsettling destruction of perceived facts.

He starts by laying the strategic position in late 1942; while it had improved for Britain and the first victories over the German...
Read more about this resource...
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Great review @W21A you have given an excellent review of the book which I have also read.

I have to say I disagree with you about some points but rather than 'nit-pick' I will give a general overview of my take on the book.

IMO, Hastings has taken the story of Op CHASTISE and turned it to his own current point of view, using this to continue his castigation of Bomber Harris and Bomber Command. He is bringing the mores of today and laying them in the actions of the Second World War, no mention that this was 'total war' and needed to be to combat the Axis forces. The theme through the book of Bomber Command and their airmen = Bad whereas Germans = Good grated on me and certainly coloured my view of the book.

There were times when the book came close to being launched across the room as I was reading it!

Hastings is a very good writer and it is easy to read his books but, certainly recently, there has been a back issue, little of which backs the Allies. I feel he is now writing revisionist history and doing history no favours at all!

He now writes by committee with a team of researchers pulling in the info and Max turning that into the book we get.

I hope you don't take this as criticism of your review as what I have given is just my pov and yours is very valid, and as I said, well written.

My feeling for the book was not helped when right at the begining where he was starting his digs at the British military, he said that Rorke's Drift was defended by C Company 24th Foot, when we know it was B Company+ that did the deed :)
 

anglo

LE
Great review @W21A you have given an excellent review of the book which I have also read.

I have to say I disagree with you about some points but rather than 'nit-pick' I will give a general overview of my take on the book.

IMO, Hastings has taken the story of Op CHASTISE and turned it to his own current point of view, using this to continue his castigation of Bomber Harris and Bomber Command. He is bringing the mores of today and laying them in the actions of the Second World War, no mention that this was 'total war' and needed to be to combat the Axis forces. The theme through the book of Bomber Command and their airmen = Bad whereas Germans = Good grated on me and certainly coloured my view of the book.

There were times when the book came close to being launched across the room as I was reading it!

Hastings is a very good writer and it is easy to read his books but, certainly recently, there has been a back issue, little of which backs the Allies. I feel he is now writing revisionist history and doing history no favours at all!

He now writes by committee with a team of researchers pulling in the info and Max turning that into the book we get.

I hope you don't take this as criticism of your review as what I have given is just my pov and yours is very valid, and as I said, well written.

My feeling for the book was not helped when right at the begining where he was starting his digs at the British military, he said that Rorke's Drift was defended by C Company 24th Foot, when we know it was B Company+ that did the deed :)
I was on 617 Sqn years ago, did a lot of reading on the raid at the time,
I am not impressed by his version of the event,

I'm trying to be polite
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I was on 617 Sqn years ago, did a lot of reading on the raid at the time,
I am not impressed by his version of the event,

I'm trying to be polite
You know there is one thing that struck me and it was in the stats given at the end of the book. The survivors were well blinged up but not one of the casualties received as much as a MiD, even the ones that died during the actual bombing.

As to your comment on the book he just could not help himself in dripping about Bomber Command throughout the book. Of course this is just an extension of his earlier book called Bomber Command which he used to get stuck into Arthur Harris!

Hastings is using a 21st Century conscience to look at 20th Century wars and only one side at that.
 
There are some that would denigrate Bomber Command's wartime record because they're clearly just war criminals.

Mind you, this racist twat would denigrate anything to do with the UK.


 

W21A

LE
Book Reviewer
I have to admit I am a generalist here; not a specialist. My previous knowledge on the raid is the film, making the Revell Dambuster Lancaster as a child and Wikipedia. Can anyone recommend a readable book on the raid by a different author?
 
Paul Brickhill's book is good, although it does buy into (and helped create) some misperceptions and misinterpretations - but that shouldn't put you off.

James Holland's book on the raid is worth a look, and there is a considerable amount of respect for John Sweetman's work. You need to be careful with Sweetman's book, since his original 1982 book has appeared under several different titles, and there is another book by him - supporting the 2003 TV series - called The Dambusters, which can easily be confused with the 1990 (I think) retitling of the 1982 work; the trick with that one is to see if there are co-authors named on the cover, which distinguishes it from the other work.

I've not had a chance to read Sir Max's tome, but my concern is that sources may have been overlooked, and he has a certain agenda about Bomber Command, as A-Y says. I would be surprised to discover that this agenda had been modified...

It's also worth, by the by, getting hold of the Webster and Frankland's Strategic Air Offensive (the official history which annoyed Harris so much, largely because he believed the precis of the volumes rather than reading them and finding that Frankland was rather more balanced about the bomber offensive than he'd been led to believe) - you can buy them in reprint form from the Naval and Military Press, but getting hold of a copy via inter-library loan to see if you want to shell out the £60-80 you'd pay for the full set is definitely advisable (although the consensus is that it's the best official history out there).

Frankland (who died a fortnight ago) also did a book called History at War which covers his whole career from Bomber Command to running the IWM, but which spends a fair amount of the book talking about his travails in writing the official history. It is also entertainingly and spectacularly rude about a number of his fellow historians and their interpretations of events.
 
I attended a talk on CHASTISE given by Max Hastings at the RAF Museum a couple of months ago.
He was obviously plugging the book, but in person he wasn't pushing German good view.
Although he did have a downer on Harris, he stressed that the operation had to be looked at with the point of view of the time.
He did labour the point Gibson being a loner, his dog being his only love.
Perhaps he just didn't fancy a row with the probably partisan audience!
 
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W21A

LE
Book Reviewer
There are some that would denigrate Bomber Command's wartime record because they're clearly just war criminals.

Mind you, this racist twat would denigrate anything to do with the UK.


I wonder if he is aware of the Nazi's racial beliefs?
 

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