A while back I had heard about this book and instantly had to get it. I knew absolutely nothing about the raid against the German dams back in 1943 except that they happened, which for me, was a major draw to this book. Having read it now I can honestly say that it is a great read to start the year off with.
Back in 1943 a British engineer, Barnes Wallis, came up with a very controversial and almost unbelievable way to destroy the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe Dams in the heart of Germanys, Ruhr Valley. The goal was to cause a devastating blow to the psychological, moral and industrial areas of the Ruhr forcing Germany’s war industry to be further delayed with set backs. It did just that. In 1951 Paul Brickhill wrote the first book about the raid in which 19 type 464 Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron flew a night mission to destroy the dams. In 1955 a movie was made about the raid that has become a classic amongst aviation and history enthusiasts. James Holland’s book picks up where Brickhills left off. Due to Brickhill’s book being published in 1951 many documents were still classified and therefore could not be included in his book. However at the time more veterans of the raid were still around to interview. Holland’s book was published in 2012 and is said to have more information in it because those documents were released. However, only a handful of the veterans were around to interview. Having not read Brickhills copy I can’t make a comparison, but I can say that if you are looking for a good read and know absolutely nothing about this mission then you should pick up a copy of Dam Busters. It delves into British politics, engineering, human psyche and of above all, aviation.