Best Battle of Britain book?

Discussion in 'WWII Books' started by Dream Flyer, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Dream Flyer

    Dream Flyer New Member

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    I'm trying to locate a good, comprehensive (yet readable) book about the Battle of Britain. There are lots of books out there.

    Can anyone recommend one book - if you could only have one - on the Battle of Britain?

    I'm looking for something that assume that the reader already knows more than the basics - but, isn't an expert.

    Thank you for any suggestions.
     
  2. slaterat

    slaterat Member

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    IMHO the best book by far I have ever read on the BoB, and I have pretty much read them all, is Battle Over Britain, by Francis K Mason. Its over 600 pages of detailed day to day accounts of the Battle. It contains complete loss records for both sides using primary sources. Very well researched and detailed a real beauty of a book. It pretty much buries most of the myths regarding the BoB. The only drawback I can speak of is that it was published in 1969 and is relatively rare and probably a little pricey if you can find a copy.

    Slaterat
     
  3. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    I own a book called: "The Battle of Britain" by Roy Conyers Nesbit (ISBN 0-7509-3885-4). Nice book, good pictures (and a lot of them) and a good day-by-day account with backgrounds to the battle as well. It was published in 2004 so must be a lot easier to get.
     
  4. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello
    while Mason's Battle over Britain was groundbraking when it was published in 1969 it's nowadays rather outdated, especially on those daily losses. If one wants to check losses IMHO the best book still is THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN THEN AND NOW Mk V Edited by Winston G. Ramsey. Notice the Mk V, it was the last version published, all Mks have additions included so Mk V is the book. There is a reprint of Mason's book, maybe printed in 1980 (or 1990) but it is more or less same than the first edition without updating.
    THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN THEN AND NOW Mk V isn't day to day story of BoB there are numerous well researched articles on different BoB related subjects and then day to day losses of FC and LW.

    Juha
     
  5. merlin

    merlin Member

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    One not to be missed is:
    The Most Dangerous Enemy A history of the Battle of Britain.
    By Stephen Bungay
    ISBN 1 85410 801 8
    First published in 2000, and 2001 in paperback,by Aurum Press.

    An excellent book, readable, informative, and not afraid to give his opinions.
     
  6. Dream Flyer

    Dream Flyer New Member

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    Thank you very much for your suggestions. Now I feel like I have something concrete to start with. I don't want to become buried in the BoB but I feel I need to know more than I do now. Thank you!
     
  7. Bernhart

    Bernhart <b>2012 Forum Fantasy Football Champion</ b>

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    I've always liked Len diegton's battle of britian
     
  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    There's always the one used for the basis of the BoB movie 'The Narrow Margin' by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster, which has long been regarded as an accurate source, being based around official accounts/records etc.
    I do agree with Juha regarding the '...Then and Now' volume, and also Deighton's book is fairly good, if a little simplified, which can be helpful to those not totally conversant with the Battle.
     
  9. slaterat

    slaterat Member

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    "The Narrow Margin", is also an excellent choice. A good start for beginners. Although its actually older then Mason's "Battle Over Britain", it is easier to find in used book stores and you can still get a new copy if you prefer.

    Slaterat
     
  10. Bill G.

    Bill G. Banned

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    I am going to go in a different direction. My favorite book on the Battle of Britain is:

    Battle of Britain, the making of a film by Leonard Mostley

    I bought this book oh so long ago. I thought it was about the Battle of Britain. I was surprised at first that it was about the movie. After the first shock, I quickly found it was about how the movie was made. It is a most enjoyable read. There are several super stories that happened during the filming.

    Bill G.
     
  11. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    Battle of Britain Then and Now edited by Winston Ramsey gets my vote. I have a really tired copy which my parents bought me when I went to university and it is my most read book....it covers the Battle day to day and lists aircraft lost and fits in amazing then and now shots of historic places and aircraft as well as listing aircraft survivors and the RAF pilots....there are many sad shots of pilots lost which helps us remember the price paid by the Few for our freedom.
    One word stunning........
    Fighter Boys is very readable as is First Light (or flight), Len Deighton's Battle of Britain is good, Fighter is better, Narrow Margin is heavier, pilot accounts are good The Last Enemy by Richard Hilary is good as id=s First Light by Wellum.
    It is a subject that is emotive to many (especially me) and should be taught more in UK schools. Younger generations are often surprised to know it all happened above our heads and that there are still missing aircrew buried in corners of English fields.....

    It is easy to get buried in the subject! But the one book is BoB Then and Now.
     
  12. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    While I understand Slaterat's point, I think that saying the Narrow Margin is a good choice for beginners may give slightly the wrong impression about the book in making it seem somhow simplified. It is an excellent reference for anyone interested in the battle as it is meticulously researched and tells the story of the Battle of Britain beginning from the end of WW1 so you get all the background information too and despite its great depth and methodical approach it is also very readable.
     
  13. slaterat

    slaterat Member

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    I agree Waynos.

    Slaterat
     
  14. merlin

    merlin Member

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    Once you have read the 'best' another book to read about the period and the 'politics' of those involved is:-

    DOWDING CHURCHILL The dark side of the Battle of Britain, by Jack Dixon, published 2008, ISBN:978 1 84415 854 6

    I have only just started reading it. But have already found it intriguing, the author is not afraid to write what he thinks, and to give you a clue - he doesn't think much of Bader, Leigh-Mallory or Sholto-Douglas!!

    If you admire Dowding and Park, you will enjoy this.
     
  15. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    Sounds right up my street!
     
  16. mudpuppy

    mudpuppy Member

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    Does anyone have the book by Christer Bergstrom titled "Battle of Britain" with profiles done by Claes Sundin M. Swartz? I saw is listed on the buy.com site but that it was out of stock...further searches only showed it on the Books-A-Million website but they were waiting for its release or something.
    What I did find was the ISBN: 9789197589680 and a short description of a 500 page hardbound book that sounded quite interesting. Even with the buy.com site showing a release date of 10/19/08; I still wonder if it has ever been released.
     
  17. Dream Flyer

    Dream Flyer New Member

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    I've taken your advice and been doing some very enjoyable reading. I thoroughly enjoyed Wellum's "First Light" and also Hillary's "Last Enemy." Read through Deighton's "BoB," as well. Right now I'm absorbed in Bungay's "The Most Dangerous Enemy." I find it very thought provoking and well researched....and well written.
    Thanks very much for all your recommendations and observations.
    Hugh
     
  18. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    "Fighter - The True Story of the Battle of Britain" by Len Deighton is my favorite book on this subject too.
     
  19. Negative Creep

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    Another vote for this one
     
  20. trak

    trak New Member

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    #20 trak, Oct 19, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
    Hi!
    I just want to ask, if this:
    The Most Dangerous Enemy: An illustrated history of the Battle of Britain: Amazon.co.uk: Stephen Bungay: Books
    is the same book as the one quoted below with illustrations added.
    I mean if the text is the same.
    Thanks.

    EDIT: Ahh, now I've just read the review and now I know. But thanks anyway...

     
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