Bomber Command

Max Hastings

With a new introduction by the author

Max Hastings’ history of Bomber Command, now in a new Folio edition, illuminates this controversial aspect of the Second World War through contemporary photographs and first-hand interviews.


Max Hastings’ Bomber Command won immense critical acclaim when first published in 1979. Featuring over 100 first-hand interviews with aircrew veterans and a brand-new introduction by the author, this classic work of military history draws upon specially researched photographs and illustrations to illuminate one of The Second World War’s most controversial aspects.

Production Details

Three quarter-bound in blocked cloth with a printed front board featuring a detail from a Lancaster bomber.

Set in Photina

496 pages

Frontispiece and 32 pages of black & white plates, 17 mono integrated maps and drawings

Printed map endpapers

Blocked slipcase

10˝ x 6¾˝

Terror from the skies

From the very first airborne offensives in 1939, Britain’s bombing campaign represented a central element of the conflict with Germany. It began with the efforts of a few basic planes and climaxed six years later with a mighty fleet of 1,600 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Mosquitos, whose potent firepower could raze a whole city in one terrible night.

In this masterly and highly accessible account, Hastings elucidates every part of the Bomber Command story. He examines the strategy, decision making and incessant interdepartmental feuding; the complicated and often fraught relationship between Sir Arthur Harris, Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill; and the key role of radar and other associated technologies in the bombing campaign.

Leading warriors of the bombing arena

Through its focus on the setbacks and heroic exploits of individual squadrons within Bomber Command, the book pays homage to legendary aviators such as Leonard Cheshire, Micky Martin and Ralph Cochrane. Moving and frequently horrifying eyewitness accounts bring to life the brutal bombing of Darmstadt in September 1944 from the German perspective, while Harris’s brilliant German adversary, Minister of Armaments Albert Speer, is revealed as an outstanding protagonist in this terrible conflict.

A visual extravaganza

Atmospheric and often graphic photographs depict the dreadful aftermaths of the bombings of Dresden, Hamburg and Darmstadt, aeronautical icons such as Mosquitos, Wellingtons and Lancasters in flight, and the crucial attacks on factories and oil refineries in occupied territories. Insightful and thought-provoking, Hastings’ absorbing survey highlights contemporary issues of war crimes and the targeting of civilians which still carry resonance today. The binding of this Folio Society edition is a striking photographic design, composed of a black panel from a Lancaster bomber decorated with yellow and white bombs representing night and daylight raids undertaken in north-west Europe. The volume is housed in an attractive blocked slipcase, and is complemented by printed map endpapers, notes, references, and a glossary. The informative appendices include lists of the sorties despatched by Bomber Command and details of non-returning aircraft, the specifications of the principal planes and a letter from Sir Arthur Harris to Sir Norman Bottomley, the Deputy Chief of Air Staff.

About Max Hastings

Sir Max Hastings is a British author, journalist and broadcaster. During his early career as a foreign correspondent for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard, he reported on conflicts around the world, including Vietnam and the 1982 South Atlantic war. Among his many books are Bomber Command (1979, The Folio Society 2018), Battle for the Falklands (co-author Simon Jenkins, 1983), Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944–5 (2007), All Hell Let Loose (2011, The Folio Society 2022), Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War, 1914 (2013) and The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas, 1939–45 (2015). In 2008, Hastings was awarded the RUSI Duke of Westminster Medal for his lifetime contribution to Military Literature, and in 2012 the Pritzker Military Library of Chicago presented him with its Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he was knighted in 2002.


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