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History General

Battlefields in the Air

Canadians in the Allied Bomber Command

by (author) Dan McCaffery

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Jan 1995
General, World War I
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1995
    List Price

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Did the Allied bombing of Germany in World War Two needlessly brutalize and decimate a terrified civilian population? Or was it necessary to force the end of the most destructive conflict in history? Dan McCaffery seeks answers to these questions on both sides of the bombsights.
The importance of the bomber command to the Allied victory has always been hotly debated. In Battlefields in the Air, McCaffery sets out to examine the role that bomber command played and to decide if Arthur Harris's strategy of area bombing was central or incidental to the Allied victory.
Beginning with the Allies' early losses, the author describes how their position improved dramatically under the leadership of Harris. He discusses the bombing of the Ruhr dams, the raids on Hamburg, Berlin, Nuremberg, and Dresden, and he looks at the devastating effect that these campaigns had on the Germans.
Relying on a wide range of sources, including interviews with Allied pilots and eyewitness civilian accounts, Battlefields in the Air offers a fascinating look at a dramatic chapter in World War Two.

About the author

DAN McCAFFERY is one of Canada's most successful military aviation history writers. He was born in Sarnia, Ontario, where he graduated from the the Journalism Program at Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology. He worked for the Sarnia Gazette, a weekly newspaper, from 1974 to 1989 as a reporter and later as editor. Since 1989 he has worked at the daily newspaper the Sarnia Observer where he is currently the assignment editor. He has won three Canadian News Awards, two Ontario News Awards and a Western Ontario News Award.

He is the author of Hell Island: Canadian Pilots and the 1942 Air Battle for Malta, Billy Bishop: Canadian Hero, Air Aces, Battlefields in the Air, Canadian Warplanes and Bush Planes and Bush Pilots. McCaffery and his wife Val have been married for 28 years.

Dan McCaffery's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The slim volume is an entertaining read taking one through the history of aerial warfare from the Zepplins of the First World War to the heavy bombers of the Second World War... extensive research... McCaffery removes the romanticism of the fly boys in another ugly chapter of war."

Victoria Times-Colonist

"McCaffery gives us a balanced perspective of how events unfolded and the overwhelming consequences of those events. He is able to fly us through the flak surrounding the issue without the blinders that so many people seem to wear."


"In examining the role of Canadian airmen in the controversial night-bombing campaign against Germany, Sarnia newspaperman Dan McCaffery has produced a fast-paced and readable book, fleshed out with many interesting interviews with people who were there at the time... there's no doubt McCaffery has done his research... His concluding chapter, in which he weighs the pros and cons and moral conflicts of Bomber Command's campaign, is fair, well thought out and he backs his views with logic, statistics and common sense."

London Free Press

"McCaffery found plenty of evidence in the record and Harris' own words to back up the claims made by The Valour and the Horror."

Vancouver Province

"...contains some riveting accounts of the terror felt by Canadian airmen who flew bombers against Germany."

Daily Herald-Tribune

"Battlefields in the Air ... should be required reading for anyone who wants to know about the basics of the Second World War."

Charlottetown Guardian

"...a first-rate account and one that was much needed."

Air Force

"Battlefields in the Air is a well-researched, reflective, and readable introduction to a complex and subject."

The Canadian Historical Review

"In Battlefields in the Air, author Dan McCaffery has produced a balanced, well-researched response to the air force portion of CBC-TV's controversial documentary The Valour and the Horror."

Toronto Star

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