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Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany 1942--1945 Hardcover – Oct 14 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Oct. 14 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385664036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385664035
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 640 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #878,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“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.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

There is good and bad about this book. There are the issues that are raised, but in my view not resolved in any decisive way because of an over bearing bias.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
It's one of the big philosophical questions of the twentieth century given the totality of destruction WWII had on humanity. In "Fire and Fury," scholar and professor Randall Hansen explores the ethical dimension of the use of area bombing by both the axis and the allies during the war.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Randall Hansen crafts an impeccible and engaging narrative of the Allied bombing campaigns against Nazi Germany from 1942 to 1945. I am an avid reader of WWII aviation literature and count Hansen's contribution to said literature among the most insightful and well-written accounts available.

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.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 22 2009
Format: Hardcover
If this book is anything to go by, the academic world is still out on whether the Allies were right in extensively bombing German cities during WW II, both from moral and strategic points of view. Professor Hansen lays out the details of this whole nasty chapter of modern warfare in such a way that the reader has both the facts and an array of opinions to choose from in making his decision. There are a number of angles from which the author investigates the unfolding of this terribly punitive campaign launched in early 1942: the impact of the heavy bombing on civilian life on both sides of the channel; the role of the big players in this form of modern warfare like Bomber Harris, LeMay, Doolittle, Spaatz and Churchill; the planning that went on behind the scenes in Berlin, London, and Washington; and the post-mortem analysis as to the overall effectiveness of saturated bombing as a war strategy. While there are many motives as to why the Allies took this monstrous step in aggressively taking the war to the German homefront, two big issues remain in light of what the Americans and Nato have done recently in the way of aerial bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan: was it morally right and strategically beneficial? Hansen seems to suggest that history shows a decided 'no' for both of them. While the fire bombing of cities like Dresden and Hamburg may have tipped morale in favour of the Allies, it didn't win the war or the moral debate that went with it. What it did, instead, was force Britain and the US to return to a more conventional style of fighting that engaged all aspects of the military involving army, navy and airforce. That didn't mean that precision bombing of German armament factories stopped; it just assumed a lesser role as the Allies switched to getting ready for D-Day.Read more ›
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