'Reap The Whirlwind' is one of the best books I have read in recent years on the men and machines of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command during World War Two. First published in 1992 by Crecy Books Ltd this title tells the "untold" story of 6 Group, Canada's bomber force of WWII. As the title suggests the story is about the role of the Canadian contribution to the nighttime bomber campaign against occupied Europe during the Second World War.
However the stories within the book reflect the awful war as experienced by all bomber crews during this horrific campaign. I found the personal accounts to be sad, heroic and sometimes funny but the image that remained in my mind after finishing this book was the untold numbers of men who died and never had the chance to tell their stories. How many crews left their bases on a mission never to return and none of their comrades and families ever knew what happened to them?
They were swallowed up in the dark of night and became victims of German night-fighters or flak, their planes never seen again. After reading this book you'll get an understanding of what these men went through, some of the stories are just mind numbing. In particular is the story of Andrew C. Mynarski, 6 Group's sole Victoria Cross winner. This brave 27-year-old Canadian was a mid-upper gunner on a 419 Squadron Lancaster who lost his life during a mission in June 1944 (pages 276-278).
The narrative is fast paced, informative but never boring or dull. The story is well told and is a brilliant account of the harsh realities of an aerial bombing campaign as conducted by the RAF over Germany. The book starts with an introduction to the first bomber offensive in 1917 and finishes with an account of the 1990 reunion of the survivors. The authoritative text has numerous personal accounts of the aircrews woven into the story and overall the book reads well.
The only complaint I have with this book is the standard of the photographs. I would have liked more and of a better quality. Regardless of that this is still a great story and I think that anyone who has an interest in this period or who really wants to understand why these men did what they did and what happened to them then this is the book to read.