Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle of World War II

James Holland. Atlantic Monthly, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2839-3
This detailed but confusingly structured account of the 1943–1944 air war over Europe concludes with Big Week, a series of air battles waged by the U.S. Air Force and the RAF to break the back of the Luftwaffe ahead of the invasion of Normandy. Though it was “largely forgotten,” historian Holland argues the campaign was “a pivotal moment for both sides.” The account is meticulously researched and provides vivid details about individual pilots and aircrew members, both Allied and German. The bombers and fighters are depicted faithfully, as are the often wrongheaded strategic considerations of their commanders. Until the final third of the book, which addresses the decisive actions directly, the narrative structure is often digressive, with detailed pilot and commander biographies and lengthy backstories of the developments of specific aircraft types. Holland captures the essential logic of the bomber and fighter campaigns over Europe, and he knows his military history, but he often assumes a high level of knowledge on the reader’s part. This advanced study is informative, but not really a lay-friendly history for readers seeking tales of derring-do. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 01/03/2019
Release date: 11/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-8021-4631-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4079-7968-7
Audio Product - 978-1-4079-7971-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-4079-7969-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-72139-000-7
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-8021-4778-3
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