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Sixty

ADC
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Book Reviewer
Just started Er ist wieder da by Timur Vermes. Essentially, Adolf Hitler wakes up in 2011 and is baffled by the modern world. Very funny so far.
 
Charity by Len Deighton.
The 9th book in the series about Bernard Sampson and his 80’s SIS exploits.

3rd time reading the 9 books over the years. Just gets better and I think Deighton is amazing.
 
Death of the Fronsac...but slow getting started, but a decent read, about wartime Poles living in Scotland...mix of fiction and fact,
grew up with a number of their kids, and knew their siblings, and a lot of the places in Fife and clydeside where he traveis
starts with small child runs home from school and as she turns the key in the door the French ship Fronsec explodes, she is in shock and thinks she is responsible for her father's death as he was aboard when it goes up
 
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Over the last 2 months
Beevor book Arnhem then Ryan A Bridge too Far- for comparison
Now on Rankin Even dogs in the wild as a break before delving into the boxes in my attic to locate the official history of 21st Independent Parachute Coy
 
That looks worth a bash.
Another review:

The Best Books on El Alamein | Five Books Expert Recommendations


Moving on to your last book, Stephen Bungay’s The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain (2000). You’ve chosen this as one of the best books on World War II in general, is that right?
I think so. Stephen Bungay was originally a scholar of German literature, so he’s got very good German. He then became a management consultant and currently runs the Ashridge Strategic Management Centre in North London. So he’s not a professional historian.
Bungay wrote a book on Alamein, which is very good, but I happen to prefer this book, on the Battle of Britain. What makes it stand out is that it’s very well researched. It’s very good on the German sources. But it has a central dramatic idea which helps us to understand World War II.

“It’s very hard to convince many people that the British were actually very good at fighting.”

Bungay argues that if you look at the RAF and the Luftwaffe, they actually behave in diametrically opposed ways to what racial stereotypes would make you think. If you take the RAF in 1940, they had a culture of insubordination. It was all about hopscotch to your aircraft, take your dog up in your Spit, do barrel rolls over the CO’s mess. They really are an undisciplined bunch—on the ground and off duty. But, Bungay says, when they take off they have fantastic flight discipline. When they’re in the air, it’s all about hierarchy, obeying orders, doing the right thing. In other words, they are a highly professional air fighting force.
On the other side, when you look at the Germans on the ground, it’s all about discipline. It’s about parades, it’s swearing fealty to the Führer and Goering and their commanders, it’s all about how wonderful they are because they have true, Teutonic discipline.
But as soon as they take off, they’re an absolute nightmare because they’re a bunch of prima donnas. In particular, they want to be aces. And so, they’re always cutting each other up in the air, not obeying orders, goofing off because they think they’ve got a chance of a high-profile kill rather than doing their job—which is protecting bombers.
So, the Luftwaffe comes over Britain in the Battle of Britain and the first thing that happens is that the fighters peel off because they want to be in air-to-air combat, they want to be knights of the air. Whereas the RAF are desperately trying not to fight the fighters, they’re trying to get at the bombers. They have a clear vision about how to win.
That’s why he calls it The Most Dangerous Enemy—because it’s about how the Germans were taken in by British amateurism. They looked amateur but the Germans didn’t realise until it was too late that they were utterly professional.
So, for Bungay, that accounts for the British winning the Battle of Britain?
Yes. Essentially, the Germans put their heads in the lion’s mouth. They thought they were going to roll over these degenerate, democratic powers. And they do roll over France, the Low Countries and the Nordic countries. But there’s something different about the British. Bungay locates it in a number of places—in the British economy, in British institutions and also in hidden bits of the British character.

“The Battle of Britain is an amazing story of villainy, heroism, high tech, beautiful women, handsome men, silk scarves and beautiful summer weather.”

In a way, it’s the start of a series of counterblasts to what is still going on today—and that Young was part of the beginning of—this idea of the German superman in World War II. They lose in the end, but their generals are so much better, their aircraft are so much better, their tanks are so much better. If you read any popular military history, you’ll still get that—how awesome the Germans were. Well, they weren’t.
Bungay is writing popular military history and showing, essentially, what a bunch of dolts they were and how they got their rich deserts.
It’s an uphill battle because many, including myself, try to say this but you’re pushing against the weight of popular culture that admires the Germans. It is so strong that it’s very hard to convince many people that the British were actually very good at fighting.
Of course, there were massive setbacks and, as a democracy, it took a while to get going because they weren’t very well prepared.
World War II has created many things, but one of the most notable is an unending stream of cliché. You can make your career just trying—in a labours of Sisyphus sort of way—to push back against the clichés. So it’s always fantastic when you see someone who is not an academic doing it—writing it so beautifully and getting it.
It’s a cracking story, as well. The Battle of Britain is an amazing story of villainy, heroism, high tech, beautiful women, handsome men, silk scarves and beautiful summer weather. What more do you want?
 
Yes. Essentially, the Germans put their heads in the lion’s mouth. They thought they were going to roll over these degenerate, democratic powers. And they do roll over France, the Low Countries and the Nordic countries. But there’s something different about the British. Bungay locates it in a number of places—in the British economy, in British institutions and also in hidden bits of the British character.
...and perhaps 20ish miles of the most fortunately located saltwater.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
Jungly Lynx action at the start of GW2. VG personal account going right back to E&E training as a fledgling and culminating in dashing around popping TOWs (which rather too often, malfunctioned) at Saddam's T55s and also his communications - a DFC well earned, but the author was also, clearly, very, very lucky. Space found for some vg jokes as the farce underlying all naval activity bubbles to the top, and an often amusing portrait of the RM.

VERY ARRSEworthy and I see available on Amazon for a penny plus P&P (mine from a charity shop £1.50).

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I'm about a quarter of the way through Stephen Bungay's The Most Dangerous Enemy and I already think it's the best history of the Battle of Britain I've read.

Book Review: Kent Beck: Extreme Programming Explained - Embrace Change
Mmm............interesting but it also repeats several canards. From the attachment:

The Spitfire was successful for many reasons, but one was that it always did what the pilot commanded with the stick, requiring only light finger pressure. In a tight turn or roll, the inner wing started to stall before the outer wing, causing a noticeable vibration, thus reliably warning the pilot. This in turn enabled every pilot to fly the plane to its limits – a life-saving feature. This wonderfully intuitive behaviour, ‘washout’, was created by a slight twist in the wing. Dependability, reliability, manoeuvrability, lethality, speed, controllability: no wonder the pilots were happy to have ‘beer, women, and Spitfires’.

The Luftwaffe never recovered from its losses in the Battle. In September, Goering went to the Pas-de-Calais to try to sort out the trouble, turning on all his undoubted charm.

Goering: What can I do for you?

Moelders: Upgraded engines for my Bf 109s.

Galland: A squadron of Spitfires.

It is said that Goering then lost his temper.
Earlier the author had cited that the Spitfire could outmanoeuvre the Messerschmidt. Not so, their respective performances, especially in the turn were almost identical. Where there was a difference is cited in the above mentioned quote. The Spitfire gave earlier warning of an impending stall so it could be flown "closer to the edge" than the Messerschmidt.

The other canard is the "...squadron of Spitfires" comment by Galland. In his autobiography he puts the comment into context. He wanted the advantages that the Spitfire was fighting under, not the aircraft. The Messerschmidt was seriously short on fuel, especially once over London, if shot down imprisonment was a certainty unless they could get well over the Channel, and if damaged help was a long way away.

For a truely epic volume on the Battle of Britain may I recommend



It is the result of 40 years of research and is one of the few books to have been written following access to both British and German records and captured German records in Russia. A number of myths are dispelled and it provides what is probably the most accurate account of aircraft and crew losses on both sides. He is also emphatic that the victory was primarily due to the tenacity and "superb fighting spirit of the RAF fighter pilots" rather than such things as radar and German mistakes. Highly recommended.
 
Jungly Lynx action at the start of GW2. VG personal account going right back to E&E training as a fledgling and culminating in dashing around popping TOWs (which rather too often, malfunctioned) at Saddam's T55s and also his communications - a DFC well earned, but the author was also, clearly, very, very lucky. Space found for some vg jokes as the farce underlying all naval activity bubbles to the top, and an often amusing portrait of the RM.

VERY ARRSEworthy and I see available on Amazon for a penny plus P&P (mine from a charity shop £1.50).

View attachment 354565
thanks for the tip, have just ordered from local library
 
Mmm............interesting but it also repeats several canards. From the attachment:



Earlier the author had cited that the Spitfire could outmanoeuvre the Messerschmidt. Not so, their respective performances, especially in the turn were almost identical. Where there was a difference is cited in the above mentioned quote. The Spitfire gave earlier warning of an impending stall so it could be flown "closer to the edge" than the Messerschmidt.

The other canard is the "...squadron of Spitfires" comment by Galland. In his autobiography he puts the comment into context. He wanted the advantages that the Spitfire was fighting under, not the aircraft. The Messerschmidt was seriously short on fuel, especially once over London, if shot down imprisonment was a certainty unless they could get well over the Channel, and if damaged help was a long way away.

For a truely epic volume on the Battle of Britain may I recommend



It is the result of 40 years of research and is one of the few books to have been written following access to both British and German records and captured German records in Russia. A number of myths are dispelled and it provides what is probably the most accurate account of aircraft and crew losses on both sides. He is also emphatic that the victory was primarily due to the tenacity and "superb fighting spirit of the RAF fighter pilots" rather than such things as radar and German mistakes. Highly recommended.
Thanks I'll check it out. I've seen Bergstrom interviewed in documentaries before I think. Having read more of Bungay's book now, I think that reviewer was perhaps pushing his own views more than actually reviewing the book- Bungay also makes it very clear that it was the RAF's tenacity and tactics were the critical factor. Though he does completely slate Goering.
 
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“Fear: Trump in the White House” by Woodward. Excellent read and knocks “The West Wing” into a cocked hat. Mattis comes out as the hero so far - 28% through (so yes it is available on Kindle).
 
“Fear: Trump in the White House” by Woodward. Excellent read and knocks “The West Wing” into a cocked hat. Mattis comes out as the hero so far - 28% through (so yes it is available on Kindle).
Started Rick Wilson's Everything Trump Touches Dies last week . I'll finish it when I'm done with The Most Dangerous Enemy. So far its both hilarious and horrifying.
 
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The story of Victor Capesius and the unwillingness of post war West Germany to prosecute war criminals,very interesting account of I.G. Farbens role in Nazi Germany and the Final Solution.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
£1, pristine paperback of William Dampier's circumnavigation and various adventures 1679-1681, edited from his journals. Navigator, naturalist, author, explorer, privateer (or maybe pirate), Damper emerges as complex, highly intelligent, a loner and a scrupulous recorder of all manner of fascinating detail on the places, animals, birds, marine life and people (on board as well as ashore) that he encountered. Alas his original maps and charts have eluded the editors and too often he says 'as I have recounted elsewhere' and the tantalising 'elsewhere' has not found space in the 283 pp. See his Wiki. The names of places have changed so I was often not quite sure where WD was, his English constructions are of course old-fashioned but I usually got the hang of it, and some of the vocabulary has long passed out of use, but that all added to the quaintness.

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Angel Seven by Mike Lunnon-Wood, a writer most people in this parish seem to approve of. It's quite a good read, more wordy and technical than the previous four books known as the "British Military Quartet" (which I had previously purchased and read about almost as soon as I heard from this site that it had found a new publisher and would be available on Kindle), but still engaging.
 

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