The Bombers and the Bombed

The Bombers and the Bombed

Allied Air War Over Europe, 1940-1945

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143126249
  • 592 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


“An essential part of the literature of World War II.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

From acclaimed World War II historian Richard Overy comes this startling new history of the controversial Allied bombing war against Germany and German-occupied Europe. In the fullest account yet of the campaign and its consequences, Overy assesses not just the bombing strategies and pattern of operations, but also how the bombed communities coped with the devastation. This book presents a unique history of the bombing offensive from below as well as from above, and engages with moral questions that still resonate today.


“What has long been needed is a sober, dispassionate, fully-sourced exploration of what the bombing campaign comprised, how it developed in the course of a long conflict and what it achieved. Richard Overy, a professor of history at Exeter University in Britain, has writen preceisely such a book, a detailed, meticulous analysis that is all the more powerful for eschewing the hysteria that has long colored this subject for too long.”
Ben Macintyre, New York Times Sunday Book Review

“There will be debate over the bombing campaign in Europe for years to come…. In the future, though, that debate will have to take into account the facts and the arguments marshaled by Overy in ‘The Bombers and the Bombed,’ which immediately becomes an essential part of the literature of World War II. The conclusions it reaches about ‘strategic bombing’ will have to be reckoned with by any nation that takes it upon itself to bomb another into submission, if not oblivion, and anyone who takes those conclusions seriously will be hard-pressed to argue the efficacy of that strategy.”
—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

“For anyone interested in the politics of the Allied air war, this is an indispensable and eye-opening book.”
—Adam Tooze, Wall Street Journal

“Overy delivers an insightful analysis of how all nations reversed their abhorrence of killing civilians when it became unavoidable. Overy provides an eye-opening and often distressing account… For a far more expansive view that includes those on the receiving end [of the bombing], Overy is the choice.”
“Superb… Overy has presented a very strong case in support of his view.”

“First comprehensive analysis of the Allied strategic bombing offensive in Europe.”
Publishers Weekly

“What distinguishes Mr Overy’s account of the bombing war from lesser efforts is the wealth of narrative detail and analytical rigour that he brings to bear.”
Economist“Excellent…. Overy is never less than an erudite and clear-eyed guide whose research is impeccable and whose conclusions appear sensible and convincing even when they run against the established trends.”
Financial Times
PRH Book Clubs Survey