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A myth-busting, page-turning history of the Battle of Britain

About the Author

Len Deighton was born in 1929 in London. He did his national service in the RAF, went to the Royal College of Art and designed many book jackets, including the original UK edition of Jack Kerouac's On the Road. The enormous success of his first spy novel, The IPCRESS File (1962), was repeated in a remarkable sequence of books over the following decades. These varied from historical fiction (Bomber, perhaps his greatest novel) to dystopian alternative fiction (SS-GB) and a number of brilliant non-fiction books on the Second World War (Fighter, Blitzkrieg and Blood, Tears and Folly). His spy novels chart the twists and turns of Britain and the Cold War in ways which now give them a unique flavour. They preserve a world in which Europe contains many dictatorships, in which the personal can be ruined by the ideological and where the horrors of the Second World War are buried under only a very thin layer of soil. Deighton's fascination with technology, his sense of humour and his brilliant evocation of time and place make him one of the key British espionage writers, alongside John Buchan, Eric Ambler, Ian Fleming and John Le Carre.

Reviews

Revolutionised thinking about the Battle of Britain in a way that has not been seriously challenged since. -- Robert Dawson Scott * The Times *
Must surely rank as the most honest attempt yet to tell how the Battle of Britain really was. -- Andrew Wilson * Observer *
The research was so meticulous that his conclusions, chiefly that the Few were very brave but their leaders were daft, could not easily be set aside. Indeed, they are now part of the orthodoxy. * The Independent *
The best, most dispassionate story of the battle I have read and I say that even though the book destroyed many of my illusions and, indeed, attacks the validity of some of what I wrote as an eyewitness. -- Drew Middleton * New York Times Book Review *
[We learn] that British anti-aircraft fire was ineffective, that some R.A.F. ground personnel fled under fire, that the Admiralty provoked costly skirmishes ...The book resounds with exploded myths. -- Leonard Bushkoff * Washington Post *
Deighton has shown himself to be the most protean of British best-sellers. -- John Sutherland * London Review of Books *

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