The Great­est Leap

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE -

by An­drew Hatcher ( Mata­dor, 332 pages, £11.99) Wrap­ping up a decade-by-decade overview of Bri­tish and world 20th cen­tury his­tory in less than 350 pages may seem like mis­sion im­pos­si­ble, but Hatcher’s done a de­cent job here in chron­i­cling the sig­nif­i­cant events from the death of Queen Vic­to­ria, through both World Wars, to the dawn of the in­ter­net. The dearth of pho­to­graphs is a shame, but it’s a very in­for­ma­tive read nev­er­the­less. The tragic tale of the RAF’s 82 Squadron in the Se­cond World War was rather over­looked at the time. Based on the ac­counts of sur­vivors and of­fi­cial records, this book now at­tempts to cor­rect that over­sight and is a mov­ing retelling of how two bomb­ing raids wiped out al­most its en­tire unit of 24 planes. It’s a stark re­minder of the cat­a­strophic losses the Bri­tish of­ten suf­fered in the con­flict. As an in­dus­trial city with a pop­u­la­tion of al­most 240,000, Coven­try was a key tar­get for Ger­man bomb­ing raids dur­ing the Se­cond World War. Here, David McGrory tells the story of the dev­as­tat­ing air­borne at­tacks be­tween 1940 and 1942 that killed 1,252 and left 1,859 in­jured. Richly il­lus­trated with pre­vi­ously un­seen ar­chive pho­tog­ra­phy, this of­fers a unique in­sight into one of the defin­ing pe­ri­ods of the city’s his­tory.

If you’d like to see your fam­ily his­tory prod­ucts cov­ered here, send them to the ad­dress on p3

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