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& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.

 

With reviews of books that cover these topics

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sandb@paulsmiddy.co.uk

Dresden

A survivor’s story, February 1945

 

Victor Gregg (with Rick Stroud)

 

Bloomsbury, 2018

This ghost-written memoir is an exceedingly slim paperback. It comprises just 44 pages, with a further 12 pages puffing additional memoirs by Gregg/Stroud.

 

It is an astonishing account of how Gregg came to be in Dresden, and the living (and dead) hell that the city became once the RAF’s Bomber Command unleashed its weapons over a couple of nights in 1945. It is critical that such a rare first-person narrative of these events survives, and is published. However this book does not set the raid in any sort of context – it fails to explain, for example, that the RAF carried out the raid at the behest of Stalin who thought it would relieve pressure on his front (Dresden being a rail hub for troop reinforcements).

 

So, whilst the scant prose is of some use for historians, I cannot but feel that GBP5.99 for 44 pages represents exceedingly poor value for the reader. Why was all of Gregg’s wartime experiences not put into a single volume?