BOMBER COUNTY – Daniel Swift (2010, Hamish Hamilton, £20, ISBN: 978-0241144176)

This is perhaps the best book I have yet read about the WW2 RAF Bomber Command campaign. There is almost none of the usual wartime stuff of bombs, bombers, dams, flak, Dresden, firestorms. Instead it is a book about abandoned airfields in windswept Lincolnshire, the search for lost men, lives broken by the war, wreckage found in the sea, missing relatives, scraps of information discovered in the effects of dead aircrew… and above all about literature and poetry. This is how the war was written about, and who wrote it. The book is the most moving I have read about WW2, and indicates I believe, a growing understanding of the truth about the brave young men who flew against the German cities. Not before time. Cover painting by Paul Nash.