James Holland's DAM BUSTERS: THE TRUE STORY OF THE INVENTORS AND AIRMEN WHO LED THE DEVASTATING RAID TO SMASH THE GERMAN DAMS IN 1943
Book review by Dennis D. McDonald
This detailed account of the Royal Air Force’s 1943 “dam busters” raid effectively and dramatically balances details about strategy and tactics.
We learn about:
- The engineering challenges involved in development of the skip bombs that had to be dropped from low-flying planes.
- Fast-tracking through government bureaucracy.
- The people who trained and delivered the weapons in a daring nighttime mission, many of whom died in the process.
- The effects of the attacks from the perspective of the people on the ground and of those managing the German war effort.
While reading this book I began to feel a sense of dread about what’s coming. The author’s deft accounting of the day-to-day efforts of those involved, much of which is based on personal letters and first-hand accounts, familiarizes the reader with the participants who faced a daunting task from whichyou know that many will not be returning. If you’ve ever seen disaster firsthand you’ll also dread the inevitable images of a giant wall of dam-released water destroying towns, villages, and civilian lives.
Yes, the raid contributed significantly to the Allied war effort. Hopefully people today who only connect with war via video games will occasionally pick up and read a book like this.
- Barrett Tillman’s WHIRLWIND: THE AIR WAR AGAINST JAPAN, 1942-1945
- Robert F. Dorr’s MISSION TO TOKYO: The American Airmen Who Took the War to the Heart of Japan
- Evan Thomas’ SEA OF THUNDER
- John Ford’s THEY WERE EXPENDABLE
- Stephen Budiansky’s BLACKETT’S WAR: THE MEN WHO DEFEATED THE NAZI U-BOATS AND BROUGHT SCIENCE TO THE ART OF WARFARE
- Comparing Eras of Innovation: 1950’s Aerospace Advances and Today’s Web 2.0
Review copyright (c) 2015 by Dennis D. McDonald