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The Fire and the Darkness: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945

– tekijä: Sinclair McKay

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
614323,916 (4.36)3
Narrative nonfiction account of the history of the Dresden Bombing, one of the most devastating attacks of World War II. Looks at the life of the city in the days before the attack, tracks each moment of the bombing, and considers the long period of reconstruction and recovery. reconstruction of this unthinkable terror from the points of view of the ordinary civilians: Margot Hille, an apprentice brewery worker; Gisela Reichelt, a ten-year-old schoolgirl; boys conscripted into the Hitler Youth; choristers of the Kreuzkirche choir; artists, shop assistants, and classical musicians, as well as the Nazi officials stationed there. "A gripping work of narrative nonfiction recounting the history of the Dresden Bombing, one of the most devastating attacks of World War II. On February 13th, 1945 at 10:03 PM, British bombers began one of the most devastating attacks of WWII: the bombing of Dresden. The first contingent killed people and destroyed buildings, roads, and other structures. The second rained down fire, turning the streets into a blast furnace, the shelters into ovens, and whipping up a molten hurricane in which the citizens of Dresden were burned, baked, or suffocated to death. Early the next day, American bombers finished off what was left. Sinclair McKay's The Fire and the Darkness is a pulse-pounding work of history that looks at the life of the city in the days before the attack, tracks each moment of the bombing, and considers the long period of reconstruction and recovery. The Fire and the Darkness is powered by McKay's reconstruction of this unthinkable terror from the points of view of the ordinary civilians: Margot Hille, an apprentice brewery worker; Gisela Reichelt, a ten-year-old schoolgirl; boys conscripted into the Hitler Youth; choristers of the Kreuzkirche choir; artists, shop assistants, and classical musicians, as well as the Nazi officials stationed there. What happened that night in Dresden was calculated annihilation in a war that was almost over. Sinclair McKay's brilliant work takes a complex, human, view of this terrible night and its aftermath in a gripping book that will be remembered long after the last page is turned."--… (lisätietoja)

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näyttää 4/4
A well written book about an unpleasant subject- the fire bombing of Dresden in the last few months of World War II. Described by some survivors, the time leading up to the bombing, and then the strike itself, sets the scene. British and American bombers flew over the city in three waves and unleashed large explosive bombs used to destroy buildings, and fire bombs to catch the rubble on fire. The problems of the fire storm heated the air and ground, so many victims of the bombing were suffocated in the shelters, or baked to death by the intense heat.

At the end of the book, Sinclair McKay discusses the arguments over carpet bombing that destroyed civilian areas in addition to the military objectives. The Dresdeners have resented the Americans as being needlessly cruel, even today. One objection to the book is that although several German bombing raids were mentioned, the carpet bombing of civilian areas in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which began in 1940, and subsequent carpet bombing of London, Bath, Warsaw, Stalingrad and many other cities by the Luftwaffe were not mentioned. This was a terrible part of World War II, and neither side was virtuous.

Some of the surreal events happened during the attack. Some animals were released from the zoo, and disoriented and frightened civilians reported seeing a giraffe walking through the bombed areas. Others mentioned how the brick walls of the underground shelters became to hot to touch, and how the asphalt in the roads outside turned to liquid that stuck to the feet of people trying to get home or to shelter. The cobblestones of the street became so heated from the firestorm that people who fell down burned their hands, Trains were bombed in the station and passengers, many refugees from the Soviet advance in eastern Germany, died while still in their seats waiting for the trains to leave.

An interesting note was that many people in Dresden heard music made by the bombers, bombs and the destruction. Choral Master Rudolph Mauersberger created a requiem for Dresden, constructed from German hymns and folk songs and "...wove them together with the deep chimes of the Kreuzkirche, a resonating choral baritone hum signifying the approaching bombers and and episodes of intense percussion signifying the fire."

Recommended for college libraries, and for military collections of World War II and aviation history. ( )
  hadden | Sep 7, 2020 |
Fully of controversy this powerful novel explores and examines the carpet bombing of Dresden, an outstanding medieval German city almost totally annihilated by the British and American bomber crews under the auspices of Arthur “bomber” Harris. It examines the events of that cold February night in 1945 from the accounts of not only the survivors on the ground but the bomber crews tasked with this mission of what could only be described as an operation of annihilation. The heart of this superbly researched book is the question...can such death and destruction ever be considered as acceptable behaviour whatever the cause or purpose? ( )
  runner56 | Jul 25, 2020 |
For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

I have always heard about the fire-bombing of Dresden, but the even never got more than a chapter (at best) or so in all the books I read. After reading The Fire and the Darkness: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945 by Sinclair McKay I realized how devastating, and what a huge operation, it must have been.

The raid took place in 13 February 1945, I never realized the scale of it 244 bombers dripping 880 tons of bombs. The attack was done in waves, even though the majority of the damage was, as expected, on the first wave. Two waves were by the Royal Air Force (RAF), one of the waves was 120 miles long, the other two were done in daylight by the American Army Air Corps.

The citizens of Dresden were sure they were mostly safe due to the historical nature of the city and its treasures. However, it was more important to the British High Command to make a point and try to demoralize the German population, even though the bombing seemed to have to opposite effect.
It also didn’t help that Dresden enthusiastically embraced the Nazi anti-Semitic and racial ideology and laws.

The author spends the first half of the book introducing the readers to the people he follows. Residents of Dresden, both prominent and regular citizens as well as Werner Klemperer who stayed in the Jewish area (having been forced the day before the bombing to deliver transport orders to other Jews) and POW Kurt Vonnegut who would go on to fictionalize his experiences in Slaughterhouse-Five. The author also follows the bomber crews and the terrifying experiences they had in the European skies.

The author does not shy away from the controversy surrounding the bombing. Was it necessary? Was it a war crime? A crime against humanity? How did the people who ordered the bombing as well as those executing the orders deal with the morality of it?
Mr. McCay does not take sides, but let his subjects speak for themselves. He does observe that maybe, after years of war and millions and millions dead, maybe the bombing of cities was done simply to make the other side stop.

This is a very interesting and lively read, Mr. McKay writes with passion and care. The author creates a memorable, fascinating, and easy to understand narrative about a complicated subject with his still being revisited these days.The Fire and the Darkness: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945 by Sinclair McKay tells about the extensive barraging of the city by the Allies during World War II using firsthand accounts of those in the air and on the ground. Mr. McKay is an author and reporter from England. ( )
  ZoharLaor | Feb 24, 2020 |
  Albertos | Jan 25, 2020 |
näyttää 4/4
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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Narrative nonfiction account of the history of the Dresden Bombing, one of the most devastating attacks of World War II. Looks at the life of the city in the days before the attack, tracks each moment of the bombing, and considers the long period of reconstruction and recovery. reconstruction of this unthinkable terror from the points of view of the ordinary civilians: Margot Hille, an apprentice brewery worker; Gisela Reichelt, a ten-year-old schoolgirl; boys conscripted into the Hitler Youth; choristers of the Kreuzkirche choir; artists, shop assistants, and classical musicians, as well as the Nazi officials stationed there. "A gripping work of narrative nonfiction recounting the history of the Dresden Bombing, one of the most devastating attacks of World War II. On February 13th, 1945 at 10:03 PM, British bombers began one of the most devastating attacks of WWII: the bombing of Dresden. The first contingent killed people and destroyed buildings, roads, and other structures. The second rained down fire, turning the streets into a blast furnace, the shelters into ovens, and whipping up a molten hurricane in which the citizens of Dresden were burned, baked, or suffocated to death. Early the next day, American bombers finished off what was left. Sinclair McKay's The Fire and the Darkness is a pulse-pounding work of history that looks at the life of the city in the days before the attack, tracks each moment of the bombing, and considers the long period of reconstruction and recovery. The Fire and the Darkness is powered by McKay's reconstruction of this unthinkable terror from the points of view of the ordinary civilians: Margot Hille, an apprentice brewery worker; Gisela Reichelt, a ten-year-old schoolgirl; boys conscripted into the Hitler Youth; choristers of the Kreuzkirche choir; artists, shop assistants, and classical musicians, as well as the Nazi officials stationed there. What happened that night in Dresden was calculated annihilation in a war that was almost over. Sinclair McKay's brilliant work takes a complex, human, view of this terrible night and its aftermath in a gripping book that will be remembered long after the last page is turned."--

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