Scramble by Norman Gelb

Scramble by Norman GelbScramble: A Narrative History of the Battle of Britain by Norman Gelb
Published by Endeavour Press on August 9th 2016
Genres: History, War
Pages: 316
Format: Ebook

1940. Britain stands alone against Nazi Germany.
Only the RAF can protect Britain from falling to the Germans.
Scramble is the thrilling story of the epic battle that turned the tide of Nazi invasion in the summer of 1940.

In more than 450 first-hand accounts, combatants, civilians, politicians, journalists and others who were part of the day-to-day heroism that was England’s finest hour tell a tale of war from an individual perspective.
And what a revealing tale it is — of the shortages of every kind, with groundcrew racing against time to get the battered planes operational, to the tactical battles and controversies revealed by Air Ministry papers.
Above all, it evokes the terror, rage and frustration of Britain besieged, and the spirit which held it all together: the courage to live to fight another day.

The Battle of Britain is probably one of the most well-known periods in history, filled with heroic deeds, and inspiring speeches. One nation stood alone against the might of the seemingly all-conquering Nazis. What then might another book bring to this narrative, that has not been told before?

Scramble is the story of the Battle of Britain told through quotes and interviews with the fighting men and women, and other English residents who suffered through the fighting. It begins with the evacuation of Dunkirk and carries the reader through to the end of that period of the Second World War.

I was surprised at how much I actually learned through reading Scramble – it is typically popularised as a battle between the Spitfires and Hurricanes, and the Messerschmidts, but there was much more on both sides.

I suppose if there is one downside to the book, it is the way that it is structured. It is composed almost entirely through the words of the people who were there, which is a strength, but also a weakness in that you don’t get the sense of the overall picture of what was going on at the time. While you get a good sense of the action which was taking place, it is difficult to put it in perspective.

I found Scramble to be a refreshing look at the Battle of Britain, and if you can look past the lack of a narrative structure, you will find the book speaks through the voices of the real people who were involved.

Rating Report
Overall: four-stars

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