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The bestselling historian's gripping account of the Allied bombing of Dresden for the 75th anniversary

About the Author

Sinclair McKay is the bestselling author of Dresden, The Secret Life of Bletchley Park, The Secret Listeners, Bletchley Park Brainteasers and Secret Service Brainteasers. He is a literary critic for the Telegraph and the Spectator and lives in London.


Powerful . . . there is rage in his ink. McKay's book grips by its passion and originality. Some 25,000 people perished in the firestorm that raged through the city. I have never seen it better described -- Max Hastings * Sunday Times *
Churchill said that if bombing cities was justified, it was always repugnant. Sinclair McKay has written a shrewd, humane and balanced account of this most controversial target of the Anglo-American strategic bombing campaign, the ferocious consequence of the scourge of Nazism -- Allan Mallinson, author of Fight to the Finish
Beautifully-crafted, elegiac, compelling - Dresden delivers with a dark intensity and incisive compassion rarely equalled. Authentic and authoritative, a masterpiece of its genre -- Damien Lewis, author of Zero Six Bravo
Compelling . . . Sinclair McKay brings a dark subject vividly to life -- Keith Lowe, author of Savage Continent
One of my favourite historians -- Dan Snow * History Hit *
This is a brilliantly clear, and fair, account of one of the most notorious and destructive raids in the history aerial warfare. From planning to execution, the story is told by crucial participants - and the victims who suffered so cruelly on the ground from the attack itself and its aftermath -- Robert Fox, author of We Were There
McKay's rich narrative and descriptive gifts provide us with an elegant yet unflinching account of that terrible night . . . a very readable and finely crafted addition to the literature on one of modern history's most morally fraught military operations -- Frederick Taylor * Wall Street Journal *
Masterful -- Simon Griffith * Mail on Sunday *
Along with much affecting human detail, I particularly like the way it contextualises the city's obliteration with scenes from Dresden's rich history * Bookseller *
Extraordinary . . . a remarkably faithful account * Guardian on The Secret Life of Bletchley Park *
Painstakingly researched and fascinating * Daily Mail on The Secret Listeners *
Lucid, well-researched and rich in detail * Daily Mail on The Spies of Winter *
Fascinating, riveting, unsettling, and wonderfully rich in period detail * Mail on Sunday on Mile End Murder *
McKay brings that time vividly alive but he's also alive to the moral ambiguities -- Charlotte Heathcote * Daily Mirror *
McKay recounts the story of Dresden's destruction through the recollections of those who miraculously survived, creating a kaleidoscope of experience . . . His prose, even when describing gruesome destruction, is often breathtakingly beautiful. This superbly rendered story allows the reader entry into the soul of an extraordinary city -- Gerard DeGroot * The Times *
A carefully researched, finely written and moving account of one of the great tragedies of 20th-century history * Daily Telegraph *
There have been many books on the bombing of Dresden (not least Kurt Vonnegut's novel, "Slaughterhouse Five"), but Sinclair McKay's account is a worthy addition. McKay's purpose is neither to condemn nor condone, but to record what happened and why. Above all, he rejoices in the modern city's resurrection * Economist *
Accomplished * Prospect *
Rich and colourful . . . [there is] a vividness and poignancy that other accounts have lacked -- Richard Overy * Financial Times *
McKay's book is better than narrative history. It is biography, but of place, rather than person. He makes Dresden come alive, before, during, and after the infernal 13th -- John Lewis-Stempel * Daily Express, ***** *
A passionate and original account of the Allied bombing of Dresden in 1945, one of the most controversial evens of the Second World War * Best Books of 2020: our favourites so far *
A weighty and considered investigation of events . . . an excellent book . . . providing a reliable, engaging, informative and, above all, sober narrative of events. The book will enable readers to make up their own minds - should they so desire - on the rights and wrongs of the matter. It is highly recommended * BBC History Magazine *
This minute-by-minute retelling tackles the big questions, but also - by drawing on the letters and diaries from the Dresden City Archive - never loosed sight of the experiences of people who witnessed, and suffered, the attach first-hand * BBC History Revealed, Book of the Month *
It's a wonderful book, so absorbing, thoughtful and thought provoking, I didn't want it to end

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