Tag Archives: WWII

The Fire and the Darkness: the Bombing of Dresden, 1945


by Sinclair McKay

February 13, 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden, Germany by British and American bombers. Carried out in 3 raids, it was one of the most devastating attacks of World War II. The first raid, beginning at 10:03 p.m. by British bombers, destroyed buildings, roads, and shelters. The second, again by the British, was an incendiary attack that rained fire from the sky to create a fire hurricane which destroyed everything in its path and suffocated those trapped in collapsed buildings and shelters. With the power lines being destroyed in the first raid there were no air-raid sirens to warn of the second raid, leaving many of those who ventured out to help the wounded caught off guard and out in the open. The third raid, carried out the next day by American bombers, destroyed what was left.

A portrait of the city before, during, and after the devastating raids, this is a story told from all points of view: the residents, the bombers, and the city itself. Those living in Dresden believed they would be spared from such an attack because they were seen as an intellectual and cultural city with very little of their manufacturing aiding the war effort. Dresden was not, however, all innocence. Atrocities were carried out every day in the city with the remaining Jews in Dresden getting their “relocation” letter just days before the raid. As much to devastate the city as to devastate morale, the bombing of Dresden remains one the most controversial decisions of World War II. ~ Sue, Circulation

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The Splendid and the Vile


  by Erik Larson

Erik Larson is always my go-to author for narrative non-fiction. His newest, THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE, focuses on Winston Churchill, and those around him, during the Blitz. There has been plenty written about the courage and stoicism of the British citizens during World War II, especially during the terror of the Blitz, but Larson delves deeper. His descriptions of the night raids- from the air raid sirens, to the different kinds of bombs, to the fiery destruction left behind, is enthralling. Churchill’s reaction to the air raid sirens (he ran to the roof as everyone else ran for the underground shelters) illustrates his strong and defiant personality. Readers will gain a new respect for this leader and his ability to convince his countrymen, and the world, that they would persevere even as fire literally rained down from the sky. Anyone interested in WWII history, Churchill, or just a great recounting of a seminal event in history will be captivated. ~ Sue, Circulation

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