Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany
Randall Hansen

Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany

Using a narrative approach, Fire & Fury tells the story of the American and British bombing campaign over Germany during World War II. It is the only book on the market that provides a narrative history of both the British and American campaigns. Using a fast-paced narrative, the book looks at the campaign through the eyes of those involved: military and civilian command in America, Britain and Germany (Henry Arnold, Carl Spaatz, Ira Eaker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Portal, Winston Churchill, Arthur Harris, Albert Speer, and others), aircrew in the sky, and civilians on the ground. It shows how the US campaign, which was driven by a particularly American fusion of optimism and morality, played an important and largely unrecognized role in delivering Allied victory. The book offers a critical yet balanced view of Bomber Command and Arthur Harris, highlighting their accomplishments and refusing the shy away from Harris’ faults. It thus avoids both the extremes of denunciation and apology that characterize most books about Harris.

Book Details:

  • Author: Randall Hansen
  • Published Year: 2008
  • Rights Sold
    • Canada: Doubleday
    • US: Penguin
    • French Canadian: Presses de l’Universite Laval
    • UK: Faber

Randall Hansen

Randall Hansen is Director of the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies and a Chair in Politics at the University of Toronto. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at Nuffield College, a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, and a Tutorial Fellow at Merton College Oxford, where he ran the PPE school. He has held visiting fellowships at UCLA, the Institute for Political Science (Sciences Po), Paris, the Humboldt University, Berlin and Trinity College, Dublin.   He is author of Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance in the Last Year of World War II (Faber, Doubleday, OUP), which ...
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Book Reviews

  • "Many thanks to Randall Hansen for this vivid yet judicious account of Allied bombing in World War Two. This outstanding book will ensure that no one can ever again be in doubt about why there is still a controversy over the effectiveness and the morality of the mass destruction of German cities and towns."
    Margaret Macmillan, Author, Paris 1919: Six Months that changed the World
  • "Superb...the best book available on the combined bomber offensive...insightful, rigorously researched, and splendidly written, a work of careful composition."
    Donald L. Miller, Author, Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys who Fought the War against Nazi Germany
  • "[A] careful, principled probing of the historical record."
    Vancouver Sun
  • "Randall Hansen is a master of his subject. Clear, well-argued and grippingly told, his excellent history of the Allied bomber offensive covers this most controversial of stories from all sides. It is one of the few books on the air war that truly does it justice"
    Keith Lowe, Author, Inferno: the Devastation of Hamburg (Viking, 2007).
  • "Riveting,’ ‘Dramatic,’ ‘Deservedly so, both sides of the battle are given equal time here, all the while the seeming purposelessness of it all is hammered home through Hansen's shrewd insight."
    Winnipeg Free Press
  • "An impressive account of the bombing war from the point of view of German civilians [Hansen] gives an excellent account of the build up of the RAF’s area-bombing campaign. The author notes that the death of [RAF] aircrew has made it possible to today debate such issues free from intellectual and political tyranny."
    Ottawa Citizen
  • "passionately argued but even-handed book"
    Maclean's
  • "In my opinion, Fire and Fury: the Allied Bombing of Germany 1942-1945 is the best short history of the bombing of the Third Reich written to date. [Hansen’s] research is thorough and present[s] an even-handed, well written narrative that balances the decision making of the top leaders with both the ordeals of the civilians being bombed and of the air crew bombing them."
    Richard G Davis
  • "My own preference is for history that brings to life the past and the individuals who inhabit it and I think that this is the sort of history that sells well with the general public. Hansen’s approach— looking at bombing from both the ground level and the grand strategic one—is absolutely the right way to deal with a subject like this…. Given the enduring interest among the public in World War 2, the nature of the topic, and Hansen’s undoubted knowledge and abilities, I recommend Fire & Fury without reservation."
    Margaret Macmillan
  • "Fire and Fury takes careful measure of some of the campaign's most troubling issues... Compelling…harrowingly captures what bombing meant...and [Hansen] earns the right to draw some provocative conclusions."
    Minnesota Star Tribune
  • "A powerful, beautifully written re-examination of a contentious topic. His account of the tension between Bomber Command chief Arthur Harris and his superiors is thoroughly researched, and new descriptions of the raids from the civilian perspective are heartrending.     "
    World War II Magazine
  • "Hansen excels at quoting just the right passages…[He offers] judicious chapters on all the difficult questions raised by the bombing war: is area bombing ever justified? Did it work in Germany? Could bombing alone have defeated Germany? Was killing civilians justified, given the death and destruction the Nazis wreaked throughout Europe?’      "
    Michigan War Studies Review
  • "In many respects Hansen’s most striking contribution is the sheer breadth of perspective he brings to the discussion of the bombing campaign. At one level, Fire and Fury can be read as a classic piece of military history in its focus on the ethos of command, on tactics, leaders, and personalities…and yet….a great part of the book’s impact stems precisely from its deliberate juxtaposition not so much of the vanquished and the victors, as of the powerful, the powerless, and those who did the bidding of command. This is a military history complicated by the abysmal mess war makes of peoples’ lives…The enduring value of this book is twofold: It provides a sobering assessment of the air war and the role of the raf in particular, and it challenges conventional historiography by reminding readers of the stark human costs to military and political decision making.  "
    Canadian Historical Review
  • "Devastating reading…A tale told from both sides...by a brilliant young historian.  "
    Globe and Mail
  • "A searing account of the bombing of Germany cities."
    Richard Overy, Literary Review
  • "Hansen has done a fine job of rescuing from obscurity these few, morally hazy individuals, making decisions at the messy end of a cataclysmic war."
    Ben MacIntyre, The Times