Marshall De Bruhl was for many years an executive and editor with several major American publishing houses, specializing in history and biography, most notably as editor of, and contributor to, the "Dictionary of American History" and the "Dictionary of American Biography." Michael Prichard has recorded well over five hundred audiobooks and was named one of SmartMoney magazine's Top Ten Golden Voices. His numerous awards and accolades include an Audie Award and several AudioFile Earphones Awards.
De Bruhl puts his experience as a book editor to good use in this narrative of the still-controversial bombing of Dresden in 1945. Making comprehensive, sophisticated use of archival records and published sources, De Bruhl reminds readers that although Dresden's museums, churches and porcelain factories made it one of Germany's loveliest cities, there was still a war on when Allied bombers targeted the manufacturing and communications center for the Nazi war machine. Recognizing what he calls "the fatal escalation" of the air war against German civilians, De Bruhl also demonstrates the time, effort and blood it cost to establish air superiority over Germany. He establishes the determination of the Third Reich's leaders to continue the war at all costs a demand the German people accepted. He also examines the often-overlooked V-Weapons campaign mounted against Britain in June 1944, which silenced those Britons who questioned mass bombing of civilians. Certainly neither the British nor the American air forces had any compunction at mounting the raid De Bruhl describes as "theory put into flawless practice." When the last bombers left, Dresden was no longer a major producer of armaments. In a war begun by Germany, that was and is the bottom line. (Dec. 5) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From 1940 onward, the Allies bombed Germany and the occupied countries as thoroughly as they could manage. Precision bombing, area bombing, terror bombing, revenge bombing, day and night bombing, strategic bombing-by the end of the war, the great cities of the Reich were in ruins. Berlin-based author Friedrich examines at length and with great intelligence the origins and conduct of the air war against Germany. He analyzes which methods were successful, why the Allies chose to prosecute the war primarily through the bombing campaign, what the relationship was between German culture and the Third Reich, and what effect this bombardment had on postwar morality in Germany. Friedrich has written not so much a lament-although grief is certainly powerfully present-as an indictment both of Hitler's appropriation of German history and of the Allies' destruction of a nation's culture. Thoughtful and detailed, his book also examines the very science of fire and the evolving methods of destruction that by 1944 were quite capable of wiping out a city overnight and overwhelming its welfare apparatus with refugees. De Bruhl (Sword of San Jacinto: A Life of Sam Houston), a former U.S. publishing executive and editor, also looks at Allied weapons but with much less insight, largely focusing on their flaws. He also discusses the conduct of the air war and makes no bones about attacking the main architects of strategic bombing, such as Hugh Trenchard of the Royal Air Force and American Gen. Carl Spaatz. However, his treatment of the aftermath of the war and the debates that arose among the participants is missing from Friedrich's work and provides valuable context. The two books are somewhat complementary, but Friedrich's, already a big seller in Europe, is a superior essay on the real issues of war-what is just, what is permissible, what is necessary. Subject collections will desire both books but are likely to prefer Friedrich's.-Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Michael Prichard's pleasant and resonant voice leads listeners through a well-researched documentary... Dramatic... Prichard handles the abundant German vocabulary with ease, and the sadness of death with sobering respect." ---AudioFile