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Summary

The Sunday Times best seller                    

A masterly history of the Dambusters raid from best-selling and critically acclaimed Max Hastings. 

Operation Chastise was one of the most extraordinary episodes of the Second World War, yet it has also become one of the most misunderstood.

Max Hastings tells the gripping story of the Dambusters raid, from the invention of the bouncing bomb to the moonlit cockpits of young pilots flying at treetop height through lethal enemy fire. But Hastings also challenges what we think we know about the Dambusters, bringing to light the difficult truths that have often been left out of the legend.

©2019 Max Hastings (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Brings it to life as never before...Hour by nerve-jangling hour." (Daily Mail)

"Superb...The heroes shine, but their achievement haunts." (Times)

"A virtuoso performance from a veteran military historian. It is a white-knuckle narrative that brings clarity and insight to a much-loved tale, as well as offering a vital corrective to the drum-thumping conclusions of earlier books." (Sunday Times)

What listeners say about Chastise

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A Story of Real People and Moral Complexity

If you were brought up with the memory of the 1955 film and tally ho tales of derring do the real story of the Dambusters is much more moving, tragically nuanced and morally ambiguous. A story of real people with all the flaws of real people which, doesn't detract from the heroism of their actions. Max Hastings also relates in moving detail the tragic loss of life sustained by the civilian population and foreign forced labourers caught in the deluge unleashed by the breached dams. Thought provoking and moving.

6 people found this helpful

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Outstanding and Informative

Well written up to date information of the Dambusters that I have always been fascinated since a boy of 8 after watching the film, building a large airfix model of a Lancaster, holding it in my hand and flying it around the room pretending to be the pilot Guy Gibson approaching a box of Swan vesta 60cm above the coffee table at 232mm/s and dropping my bouncing marble. Max Hastings has an ultimate grounded up to date, and bloomin interesting, knowledge on the Dambusters that he shares with the listener and with Peter Noble's outstanding dulcet narration, leaves you in very deep thoughtful and emotional reflexion of that subject. It kind of leaves you with that modern day view and moral dilemma to assume your own decisions and assumption on this very famous powerful history lesson. I am in no doubt that this was the most intelligent, creative, daring, courageous and successful military mission ever carried out and indeed shortened the war against the Nazi war machine. Max has expressed this beautifully. My recommendations are John Nichols 'After the Flood' and of course Guy Gibson 'Enemy Coast Ahead'.

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Simply Excellent

Max Hastings is, and has always been, my favourite military history author. This most recent addition to his vast body of work is simply excellent.

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Thought provoking

Well produced and what"s best about this book it looks at the pros and cons of the raid, political pressures on the protagonists.

The records of the pilots and of the "unintended" victims are fascinating.

A question for Audible ... why don't you provide pdfs of the photos in the hard copy of the book?

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very informative

really enjoyed this book,gave a great insight into the real story of the Dambusters raid and learn of many things i was unaware of.

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Superb account of Dambusters operation

Detailed account of raid, its preliminaries and consequences. Well researched. Written and narrated. Tiresome that you require more words.

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High Quality Hastings

I have read/listened to a number of books and stories about this famous raid. This book gives you everything you need to understand; the reasons for the raid, the technical development & challenges, the people and 617 Sqn and how the raid was carried out. Very much recommended.

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Sub Hastings is still worth a read

I have read a number of Max Hasting books. I have always found him informative and lively. While I am glad to have read Chastise, this is a bit of a disappointment. It brings no new light to the subject and feels rushed and insubstantial. After Vietnam, it is a let dowm

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Another masterful epic from Max Hastings

The Dambusters rank pretty high in the mythology of the 39-45 War and surely no-one doesn't know the story, if only from the classic film. Having seen and having read quite a lot on this subject in the past I was concerned that there wasn't much more to say on the subject, so I'd previously resisted buying this title. However, of course I shouldn't have worried. Max Hastings yet again brings his power of massive research, intellectual reach and historical insight to bear and he weaves the history, the interviews and the analysis into a consistently compelling narrative with not a little opinion on some of the associated personalities and the significance of some of the results of the mission. Highly recommended.

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Essential history of Chastise

The best analysis of operation Chastise and its aftermath to be found. Precisely and succinctly read.

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  • per
  • 09-09-19

Detailed story but not boring at all.

If you are a Ww2 reader you will go trough this book in a jiffy. Plenty detail and good persona info. I recomend this book.

1 person found this helpful