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With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britainby Michael Korda
Synopses & Reviews
Michael Korda's brilliant work of history takes the reader back to the summer of 1940, when fewer than three thousand young fighter pilots of the Royal Air Force—often no more than nine hundred on any given day—stood between Hitler and the victory that seemed almost within his grasp.
Korda re-creates the intensity of combat in "the long, delirious, burning blue" of the sky above southern England, and at the same time—perhaps for the first time—traces the entire complex web of political, diplomatic, scientific, industrial, and human decisions during the 1930s that led inexorably to the world's first, greatest, and most decisive air battle. Korda deftly interweaves the critical strands of the story—the invention of radar (the most important of Britain's military secrets); the developments by such visionary aircraft designers as R. J. Mitchell, Sidney Camm, and Willy Messerschmitt of the revolutionary, all-metal, high-speed monoplane fighters the British Spitfire and Hurricane and the German Bf 109; the rise of the theory of air bombing as the decisive weapon of modern warfare and the prevailing belief that "the bomber will always get through" (in the words of British prime minister Stanley Baldwin). As Nazi Germany rearmed swiftly after 1933, building up its bomber force, only one man, the central figure of Korda's book,ge and determination during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century.
"The Battle of Britain has become as much myth as history. Korda (Ulysses S. Grant), former editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster, gives its story fresh life with the expertise of an established popular historian and the polish of a master narrator. In the summer of 1940, Britain stood alone against the Third Reich, which had quickly overrun Western Europe and seemed poised to finish the job. All that blocked the Nazis were a couple of thousand fighter pilots and their commander, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, the story's hero. Dowding fought to build Spitfires and Hurricanes, and trained men to fly them. He set up the radar system and the observer networks that kept watch for German raids. In the face of initial defeats, he husbanded his resources for a greater battle he knew would come. Korda is no triumphalist, demonstrating the mistakes, misunderstandings and simple cussedness that threatened the chances for a British victory. But Dowding's Brylcreem Boys, nicknamed for their favorite styling gel, succeeded against an enemy no less brave and skilled. 7 pages of color and 16 pages of b&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“[With Wings Like Eagles is] bold and refreshing… Korda writes with great elegance and flair.”—Wall Street Journal
From the New York Times bestselling author of Ike and Horse People, Michael Korda, comes With Wings Like Eagles, the harrowing story of The Battle of Britain, one of the most important battles of World War II. In the words of the Washington Post Book World, “With Wings Like Eagles is a skillful, absorbing, often moving contribution to the popular understanding of one of the few episodes in history … to deserve the description ‘heroic.”
About the Author
Michael Korda is the New York Times bestselling author of Charmed Lives, Ike, Country Matters, Ulysses S. Grant, and Journey to a Revolution. The Editor in Chief Emeritus of Simon & Schuster, he lives in Dutchess County, New York.
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History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History