Last of the Few

Last of the Few : The Battle of Britain in the Words of the Pilots Who Won It

3.91 (171 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

After the fall of France in May 1940, the British Expeditionary Force was miraculously evacuated from Dunkirk. Britain now stood alone to face Hitler's inevitable invasion attempt. For the German Army to be landed across the Channel, Hitler needed mastery of the skies - the RAF would have to be broken - so every day, throughout the summer, German bombers pounded the RAF air bases in the southern counties. Greatly outnumbered by the Luftwaffe, the pilots of RAF Fighter Command scrambled as many as five times a day, and civilians watched skies criss-crossed with the contrails from the constant dogfights between Spitfires and Me-109s. Britain's very freedom depended on the outcome of that summer's battle. Britain's air defences were badly battered and nearly broken, but against all odds, 'The Few', as they came to be known, bought Britain's freedom - many with their lives. These are the personal accounts of the pilots who fought and survived that battle. We will not see their like again.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 156 x 236 x 30mm | 521.63g
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0753522276
  • 9780753522271
  • 510,863

Review quote

"Vastly outnumbered and often less experienced than their opponents, the 2,500 young men of the Royal Air Force who fought in the Battle of Britain would be lauded by Churchill as The Few. The survivors of that campaign are now in their eighties or nineties, their ranks thinning by the year. In his new book, Last of the Few, Max Arthur brings together the voices of the living and the dead to recreate the events of July-October 1940, when vapour trails against a blue sky marked the battle to save civilisation" Daily Telegraph "Entertaining and moving ... This is a brilliant introduction for anyone seeking to understand the origins and outcomes of the battle. A dramatic tale, well told" News of the Worldshow more

About Max Arthur

Max Arthur is the author of best-selling Forgotten Voices of the Great War and Forgotten Voices of the Second World War. His last book, The Dambusters, is one of The Times / WH Smith's '50 Paperbacks of the Year' for 2009.show more

Review Text

"Vastly outnumbered and often less experienced than their opponents, the 2,500 young men of the Royal Air Force who fought in the Battle of Britain would be lauded by Churchill as The Few. The survivors of that campaign are now in their eighties or nineties, their ranks thinning by the year. In his new book, Last of the Few, Max Arthur brings together the voices of the living and the dead to recreate the events of July-October 1940, when vapour trails against a blue sky marked the battle to save civilisation"show more

Back cover copy

Praise for Dambusters 'May well challenge his seminal Forgotten Voices of the Great War ... a masterpiece of concise storytelling' - Sunday Express 'A vivid and moving account of the personality clashes, hopes, fears and regrets surrounding one of the most famous bombing operations of all time' - Daily Mail 'What a story. And I do not believe that it has ever been better told' - Stephen Fryshow more

Flap copy

After the fall of France to the German army in May 1940, Hitler set his sights on the invasion of Britain. Within weeks he had a vast battle fleet ranged along the French coast. But his biggest obstacle was the small and under-resourced Royal Air Force - Hitler knew that he must gain control of the skies if his fleet was to stand a chance of crossing successfully. And so began the Battle of Britain: thirteen terrifying weeks which saw 2,500 young RAF pilots pitted against the larger and more experienced German forces of the Luftwaffe high above the English channel. Despite being vastly outnumbered, by October the multiple daily sorties and vicious dogfights were over, the Germans had slunk behind their lines and a British victory was assured. More than a fifth of the British pilots died during the Battle of Britain. The remaining veterans are all in their eighties and nineties. Now leading oral historian Max Arthur has interviewed more than twenty veterans of that short but hugely significant battle. They tell of their experiences in their own words, their memories undimmed by the passage of time, and their stories as riveting, as vivid and as poignant as they were seventy years ago.show more

Rating details

171 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 28% (48)
4 43% (73)
3 22% (38)
2 6% (11)
1 1% (1)
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