'Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943' is a fascinating retake on legend in this history of the Dambusters raid from best-selling and critically acclaimed military historian, Max Hastings.
Sir Max Hastings served as editor-in-chief of the 'Daily Telegraph', then editor of the 'Evening Standard', from 1986 to 2002. He has won many prizes both for journalism and his books, of which the most recent are 'All Hell Let Loose', 'Catastrophe', 'The Secret War' and 'Vietnam: An Epic History of a Tragic War'.
He grew up with the classic 1955 movie, the Dambusters, embracing the story of Operation Chastise, the destruction of the Mohne and Eder dams in north-west Germany by the RAF’s 617 Squadron on the night of 16/17 May 1943.
In the 21st century, however, Hastings urges that we should review the Dambusters in more complex colours.
The aircrew’s heroism was wholly authentic, as was the brilliance of Barnes Wallis, who invented the ‘bouncing bombs’. But commanders who promised the young fliers that success could shorten the war, fantasised wildly.
With a superb narrative of the action of one of the most extraordinary episodes in British history, Hastings sets the Dams Raid in the big picture of the bomber offensive and of the Second World War. He tells of the evolution of the bomb. He presents Barnes Wallis, the monstrous Harris and the tragic Gibson. There are moving portraits of the young airmen, so many of whom died, but Hastings also describes, in harrowing detail, the fate of those swept away by the torrents. Some 1,400 civilians perished in the biblical floods that swept the Mohne valley, more than half of the victims Russian and Polish women, slave labourers under Hitler.
Come and learn more as Max Hastings speaks about this new book 'Chastise' for Browsers Bookshop at Woodbridge Community Hall in this special afternoon event.
Tickets are £25 to include a copy of 'Chastise' (RRP£25). One additional ticket can be purchased for £10, without the book.