Bomber by Paul Dowswell
|Bomber by Paul Dowswell|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Harry is only 17 and yet he is about to risk his life as a gunner on a Flying Fortress bomber during WWII. As usual, sterling work from Paul Dowswell, who combines historical detail and accuracy with truly gripping storytelling.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: May 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
Harry Friedman is only 17. But WWII is raging all across Europe and Harry felt the call to serve his country and the Allied cause. And that's how he became a gunner on the Macey May, an American Flying Fortress stationed in East Anglia, far away from Harry's New York home.
There are just a few training missions left to complete and after that, Harry will be defending his aeroplane on bombing missions deep within enemy territory. He will need all the courage he can muster because, by the end of the story, Harry will have seen death and destruction that would make anyone despair. But he'll also have seen the kind of heroism that he will remember for the rest of his life...
As usual, Dowswell includes a veritable wealth of historical detail which adds real depth and flavour to his story. My favourite from Bomber has Harry's Flying Fortress escaping certain destruction thanks to a dud German shell. On return to base, the mechanics open up the shell to find a note from a slave worker in the German factories wishing the Allies well. The shell had been deliberately sabotaged. This really happened! But you also get snippets illustrating the privations of rationing, the ruthlessness of Allied intelligence, the capabilities of the planes, and all sorts of other things.
But the story itself is not at all weighed down by the careful research. Harry's story is genuinely gripping. The odds of surviving a bombing run were horrifying and Dowswell gives a real sense of the panic and mayhem of being marooned in a gunner's turret, defending against German fighters. The odds of lasting long as a resistance agent were also pretty slim and the reader gets a taste of quite how dangerous it was as Harry is guided by them through enemy territory.
Harry himself is a sympathetic character. He's as normal as normal could be but he's volunteered for something that is far from normal and you root for him as he tries to apply his basic values of decency and gather his courage as the story progresses. I know he's not real (!) but I actually found myself wishing he led a full and happy life after the war was over so Harry really did live and breathe for me.
As usual, this is sterling work from Paul Dowswell, who combines historical detail and accuracy with truly gripping storytelling.
Read about WWII from the perspective of a young Russian in Red Shadow or from the perspective of a Polish orphan fostered into a Nazi-supporting family Auslander - both also by the redoubtable Dowswell.
You can read more book reviews or buy Bomber by Paul Dowswell at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Bomber by Paul Dowswell at Amazon.com.
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