Friday, December 09, 2011

Bombs Away!: The World War II Bombing Campaigns over Europe by John R. Bruning

Zenith Press‘s “Bombs Away!: The World War II Bombing Campaigns over Europe" by John R. Bruning is a must have for all World War II and aviation buffs.  The book is large, coffee-table size volume. The book is full of amazing pictures.  The photographs give greater coverage of the people in the war than most books. The coverage is more about the aircraft crews and ground support personnel than the aircraft specs. You learn about the people who endured the bombardment as well.

“Bombs Away!” takes account of the fascinating human element. It also describes the types of aircraft used on both sides and used in every major bombing campaign in the European Theater.

The author discusses strategic bombing theories.  John R. Bruning provides a foundation by taking the reader through the different air campaigns in the Spanish Civil War, Blitzkrieg attacks on Poland, France and Britain before applying the majority of the book to the American and British assaults on the Third Reich.

Mr. Bruning gives the particulars on how each command determined on their own approach to bombing Germany (the US daylight vs. the UK night-time), the aircraft they employ, their particular achievements and disappointments. We learn of the eventual impact of the combined strategic bombing campaign.

The book’s manuscript provides a first-rate rundown of bombing campaigns in the European Theater. However, the book's selling-point is the illustrations. While some of the pictures have been seen before and are familiar. The author collects them in one place. The volume contains nearly 480 black and white plus color photographs and maps. They describe both Allied and Axis aircraft, aircrew and the commanders. You experience in-flight air battles. You understand the damage to different targets.

Mr. Bruning covers the major campaigns, the plans, the planes, and the people. He does this with fine prose, wonderful quotes, and dazzling photographs that bring the story to life. The book is a must for both military and community libraries.