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  • Published: 26 September 2013
  • ISBN: 9780141927824
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 880

The Bombing War

Europe, 1939-1945

A major new book by one of Britain's greatest historians on the most controversial military issue of the Second World War

The use of massive fleets of bombers to kill and terrorize civilians was an aspect of the Second World War which continues to challenge the idea that Allies specifically fought a 'moral' war. For Britain, bombing became perhaps its principal contribution to the fighting as, night after night, exceptionally brave men flew over occupied Europe destroying its cities.

The Bombing War radically overhauls our understanding of the War. It is the first book to examine seriously not just the most well-known parts of the campaign, but the significance of bombing on many other fronts - the German use of bombers on the Eastern Front for example (as well as much newly discovered material on the more familiar 'Blitz' on Britain), or the Allied campaigns against Italian cities.

The result is the author's masterpiece - a rich, gripping, picture of the Second World War and the terrible military, technological and ethical issues that relentlessly drove all its participants into an abyss.

  • Published: 26 September 2013
  • ISBN: 9780141927824
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 880

About the author

Richard Overy

Richard Overy is Professor in History at the University of Exeter. Formerly Professor of Modern History at King's College, London, his books include William Morris, Viscount NuffieldThe Air War, 1939-1945Dictators, The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, The Nazi Economic Recovery, 1932-1938, Goering: The Iron ManAll Our Working Lives (with Peter Pagnamenta), The Origins Of The Second World War, The Road To War (with Andrew Wheatcroft), War And Economy In The Third Reich, The Inter-War Crisis, 1919-1939, Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941-1945, and The Battle: Summer 1940. He is a fellow of the British Academy and winner of the Wolfson History Prize in 2005.

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Praise for The Bombing War

Magnificent ... must now be regarded as the standard work on the bombing war ... It is probably the most important book published on the history of he second world war this century

Richard J Evans, Guardian

Monumental ... this is a major contribution to one of the most controversial aspects of the Second World War ... full of new detail and perspectives ... hugely impressive

James Holland, Literary Review

This tremendous book does what the war it describes signally failed to do. With a well-thought-out strategy and precision, it delivers maximum force on its objectives ... The result is a masterpiece of the historian's art

The Times

What distinguishes Mr Overy's account of the bombing war from lesser efforts is the wealth of narrative detail and analytical rigour that he brings to bear


Excellent ... Overy is never less than an erudite and clear-eyed guide whose research is impeccable and whose conclusions appear sensible and convincing even when they run against the established trends

Financial Times

It is unlikely that a work of this scale, scope and merit will be surpassed

Times Higher Education

Hard to surpass. If you want to know how bombing worked, what it did and what it meant, this is the book to read

Times Literary Supplement

My book of the year ... A staggering amount of research ... provides a sober and realistic assessment of [the bombings'] impact on the warring nations and on the civilians who bore the brunt of its impact ... It's hard to imagine a more thorough account: a masterpiece

Richard J Evans, New Statesman BOOKS OF THE YEAR

A much needed breath of fresh air ... Overy argues his point with the confidence of someone who knows he is master of his subject: his rich and varied approach, coupled with exhaustive research, makes this probably the best history of bombing of the past 20 years

Keith Lowe, Telegraph

A superbly detailed account of a terrifying aspect of the Second World War

Simon Heffer, New Statesman BOOKS OF THE YEAR

An extraordinary and far-reaching history ... the first full narrative of the bombing war in Europe ... Overy's scope is incredibly broad and well-researched, also highly readable


This is a tough, hardheaded and meticulous work of military history ... It is worth reading

Dan Jones, Telegraph BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Overy's history explains and explores strategy, tactics, technology and results in one seamless story that shatters myths and establishes truths

Nigel Jones, Sunday Telegraph

Utterly fascinating ... What is most surprising in Overy's book is its remarkable contemporary relevance

Edward Luttwak, London Review of Books

The first full narrative of the bombing war in Europe

Commander Barney White-Spunner, Country Life

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