In February 1945 the Allies obliterated Dresden, the 'Florence of the Elbe'. Explosive bombs weighing over 1000lbs fell every seven and a half seconds and an estimated 25,000 people were killed. Was Dresden a legitimate military target or was the bombing a last act of atavistic mass murder in a war already won?
From the history of the city to the attack itself, conveyed in a minute-by-minute account from the first of the flares to the flames almost a mile high - the wind so searingly hot that the lungs of those in its path were instantly scorched - through the eerie period of reconstruction, here bestselling author Sinclair McKay creates a vast canvas and brings it alive with telling human detail.
Along the way we encounter, for example, a Jewish woman who thought the English bombs had been sent from Heaven, novelist Kurt Vonnegut who wrote that the smouldering landscape was like walking on the surface of the moon, and 15-year-old Winfried Bielb, who having spent the evening ushering refugees wanted to get home to his stamp collection. He was not to know that there was not enough time.
Impeccably researched and deeply moving, McKay uses never-before-seen sources to relate the untold stories of civilians and the military. This is a master historian at work.
- Publication Date:
- 18 / 02 / 2020
- 156 x 240mm