x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Target London: a chronological account of the Blitz

Christy Campbell provides a month-by-month account of the bombing of Britain's capital during the Second World War.

Target London
Christy Campbell
Little, Brown
Dh74
Target London Christy Campbell Little, Brown Dh74

When the UK government announced that its security precautions for the Olympics involved deploying missile defence systems across London, this news immediately invoked echoes of the Blitz.

For during the Second World War, the city endured years of bombardment from the skies; firstly from the Luftwaffe and then from wave after wave of the V1 pilotless "doodlebug" bombs and V2 missiles.

Historian Christy Campbell has produced a well-researched account of this terrifying era. That said, a minor quibble is that the book is written in month-by-month chronological order, meaning the narrative occasionally slips into an impassive list.

His overall contention is that while V-weapons may have killed thousands of Londoners, the vast cost of the programme meant they were a waste of Nazi resources. Thus, he argues, Londoners' sacrifices during the onslaught indirectly played a crucial part in Hitler's overall defeat. Of course, this begs the question, would the city's populace of today be willing to show equal stoicism for the honour of hosting the Olympics?