The Bomber Mafia: A Story Set In War

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In the years before the Second World War, a small group of renegade pilots put forth a radical idea. What is we made bombing so accurate that wars could be fought entirely from the air – making brutal clashes between armies on the ground a thing of the past? This is the story of how that dream was put to the test. In a tale of innovation and obsession, Gladwell asks: what does it mean when technology and best intentions collide in the heat of war? And what is the price of progress?

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“Gladwell is a rockstar of non-fiction … stories are brilliantly told, ideas are slowly revealed until the reader arrives at a conclusion they didn’t expect.” – The Times

As a little boy, lying in his bed, my father would hear the planes overhead. On their way in. Then, in the small hours of the morning, heading back to Germany. This was in England, in Kent, a few miles south and east of London. My father was born in 1934, which meant he was five when the Second World War broke out. Kent was called Bomb Alley by the British, because it was the English county that German warplanes would fly over on their way to London.

It was not uncommon, in those years, that if a bomber missed its target or had bombs left over, it would simply drop them anywhere on the return trip. One day, a stray bomb landed in my grandparents’ back garden. It didn’t explode. It just sat there, half buried in the ground and If you were a five year old boy,  a bomb sitting in your backyard is an extraordinary experience. 

Additional notes

Pages

240

Author

Book cover

Paperback

Publication date

2021

Publisher

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