Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany 1942--1945 Hardcover – Oct 14 2008
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“This outstanding book will ensure that no one can ever again be in doubt about why there is still a controversy over the effectiveness and the morality of the mass destruction of German towns and cities.”
— Margaret MacMillan, author of Paris 1919
“Riveting…. A stellar sense of authenticity…. Hansen offers a point of view that few will have heard before and many may choose to disagree with.”
— Winnipeg Free Press
“[A] careful, principled probing of the historical record.”
— Vancouver Sun
About the Author
Randall Hansen is Professor of Politics and holds a Research Chair at the University of Toronto. He was born in Canada and has lived in the UK, US, France, Ireland, and Germany. He has a doctorate from the University of Oxford, where he was a Commonwealth scholar. His work has been translated into French, German, and Italian. He has given public lectures throughout Europe and North America, and regularly speaks on local, national, and international radio.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The good is some of the facts and details that are revealed along with poignant accounts from the victims of the bombing as well as from aircrew trapped in burning aircraft.
The bad is an unjustifiable completely biased portrayal of allied air command and a complete failure to mention some facts that are relevant. The US Army Air Force (USAAF) leaders are bold, brash, brilliant humanitarians (As are those British who tend to support them.) Bomber Command (RAF) are stodgy, often boring, ruthless baby-killers, lacking any morality. This is right out of Hollywood. This bias reaches its peak when the author describes Curtis Le May as a humanitarian (whilst his British counter parts are not.) For those who need reminding: Le May was the general who planned the single worst bombing raid in terms of loss of civilians in history: the deliberate Fire bombing of Tokyo in which 150,000 people burned in one night (roughly equivalent to the 2 atomic bombs put together.)
(As well as this the lack of ability to bomb accurately from high altitude is what lead to the fire bombings of Japanese cities, by Le May and this is a relevant fact when talking about the European theatre as this book is.)
In attempting to claim that the Americans were more moralistic and focused on military industrial targets through precision strategic bombing he fails to mention that precision bombing only existed in ww2 with (generally) low level specially trained crews, and not with massive bomber streams that he is discussing. Thus although a target might be industrial, the spread of bombs got everyone in the area.Read more ›
Throughout the body of the book, Hansen explores the rather ambiguous objectives of area bombing. While superficially stated, the purpose was to destroy the German industry, implicitly many Generals interpreted the purpose to destroy public morale. Hansen concludes that Generals such as Curtis LeMay of the US and Sir Arthur Harris of the RAF felt they had carte blanche to "bomb them into the stone age."
Overall, I think the book is a decent exploration into one of the larger moral implications of bombing and its use in war, specifically in WWII. I would have to say that a basic background in the war is necessary, otherwise you won't understand the basic sequence of events. Despite a few minor flaws, I recommend "Fire and Fury" for anyone wanting to learn more about WWII.
Hansen's book not only offers a wealth of research into the actions of Carl Spaatz, Arthur Harris, Albert Speer and other key figures, but it weaves historical facts into a series of compelling and beautifully articulated storylines.
Finally, Hansen's questions about the ethics of aerial bombing campaigns remain salient even in contemporary conflics.
An excellent book; one well-worthy the praise it's received in the media.
Most recent customer reviews
Not as readable or as thought provoking as it was made out to be in the popular press. Yes, there is a lot of discussion amongst academics about the bombing campaign and it's role... Read morePublished 8 months ago by john p bower
This book is an attempt to rewrite history and make it politically correct. Its not worth the paper its written on, nor the time to read it.Published on Nov. 8 2012 by Dr. B
Very readable, comprehensive book. Reads like a novel, but it's historically relevant and well researched. Read morePublished on Jan. 23 2012 by Lynne
In this very good and important contribution to the history of British and American terror bombing of German civilians during World War Two, author Hansen makes several important... Read morePublished on July 4 2010 by Al
Moral Relativism on Allied Bombing, October 5, 2009
By Jeffrey Noah "Jeffrey Noah" - See all my reviews
Review by Jeffrey Asher of "Fire and Fury" by Randall Hansen... Read more
Professor Randall writes in a popular style for a lay readership about a very complex history that spans a relatively long period of time. Read morePublished on June 12 2009 by Bernie
Randall Hansen provides a masterful analysis of the allied bombing of Germany. This book is incredibly readable. I could not put it down. Read morePublished on April 28 2009 by Blue
After reading a book on the Hamburg firestorm (Inferno-highly recommended)I was drawn to this book to give a wider perspective to the allied bomber offensive. Read morePublished on March 16 2009 by Pathfinder