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Publisher's Summary

At 9.51pm on Tuesday, 13 February 1945, Dresden's air-raid sirens sounded as they had done many times in the previous five years - until then most always a false alarm. No searchlights probed the skies above the unprotected target city; the guns had mostly been moved East to counter the Russian advance.

By the next morning, 796 RAF Lancasters and 311 USAAF Flying Fortresses had dropped more than 4,500 tons of high explosives and incendiary devices. More than 25,000 inhabitants perished in the terrifying firestorm, and 13 square miles of the city's historic centre, including incalculable quantities of treasure and works of art, lay in ruins. It was Ash Wednesday, 1945.

This is the first serious re-appraisal of an event that lives in the popular memory with Guernica and Hiroshima as a by-word for the horror of 20th-century air warfare. In addition to drawing on archives and primary sources only accessible since the fall of the East German regime, together with British and American records, Frederick Taylor has talked to Allied aircrew and the city's survivors, whether Jews working as slave labourers, members of the German armed services, refugees, or ordinary citizens of Dresden.

©2005 Frederick Taylor (P)2011 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

'Taylor weaves a chilling narrative from eyewitness accounts and...documentary research...His account of the air operation... is quite superb.' (The Times)
'Taylor's magnificent... study... surely as close as the English language will get to a definitive, balanced examination of the subject.' (Scotsman)

What listeners say about Dresden

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  • Amanda
  • 31-12-11

Gripping and balanced account of Dresden raids

This book was a balanced and thought-provoking, as well as an emotional, account of the Dresden raids and the impact of those raids on the people of Dresden. Taylor does a good job in providing a realistic assessment of the reasons why Dresden was fire-bombed and the ways in which the firebombing became a moral issue at the time and in the postwar period. He also tells an emotive account of the raids as they were experienced by ordinary Germans, including German Jewish people. As an audio book, this is generally gripping stuff. Sean Barrett is a good narrator, although I find some of the accents irritating (at times). I would recommend this to anyone interested in the story of the Dresden raids/ history of the Second World War.

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  • Mark h
  • 20-01-15

Myth shattering

Wow so much information not only about the raid and the days around it but a full history of the town from humble beginnings to seat of kings. All I thought I knew was challenge with evidence and the pace of the story kept you hooked. The appendix provide modern information and figures that shed light on the reasons we think we know so much but that we truly only know a little. Great read!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mr.
  • 20-02-14

An exceptional piece of work.

Hard for me to overpraise this splendid book. It's content is a brilliant melding of the history of Dresden, the specific events of the late second world war which led to its destruction and an an extraordinarily detailed and lucid description of that horrific destruction itself. There is an excellent balance of the macro-historical and personal throughout, lending a limpid air of pathos to the narrative. The narration is clear, precise, well paced and euphonious; really of the very, very highest quality. Anyone with an interest in history will enjoy this work, which is as good an audio book as I have heard. Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Allan
  • 15-02-13

Dresden

|This first part of the story of the bombing of Dresden gives an in depth build up history of the creation of this beautiful city as it was then in 1945. The history of how Dresden came about is very interesting and detailed. The narrator gives full depth of meaning to the descriptions that are given. Though it may be difficult to visualize what is being spoken about in the description of Dresden's forming throughout the early wars of dominance with most of the then surrounding European countries. Then Hitler arrived on the scene with his Nazi's. The demise of Dresden was only then a matter of time. Especially it became the hub of manufacturing factories of high grade optical instruments of war along with other war industries. Which slowly turned this beautiful city into an eventual legitimate target for the Allied air forces. Namely the RAF at night and then the USAAF during the day. Riveting listening which allows ones imagination to place you at the scene and become part of the story.

5 people found this helpful

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  • mikeep
  • 26-12-20

Meeting Evil with Evil

One of the most striking sentences in this book says: 'The historic heart of one of Europe's finest cities had been obliterated, along with most of the human beings who lived there.'
It goes on: 'It remained to most Germans and many neutrals an outrage, the apogee of terror.'
Indeed, as the books says, a description of Allied tactics as 'deliberate terror bombing of great German population centres' in a despatch by a reporter for the American Associated Press in February 1945, shortly after the raid, was approved for publication by the British military censor.
Shortly afterwards British MP Richard Stokes - a hero of WW1 - asked in the House of Commons the reason for the indiscriminate bombing of German cities and why Britain's Russian allies had never felt the need to indulge in blanket bombing while enjoying military success.
What clearly comes across from this detailed and harrowing account is that the bombing of Dresden, as that of Coventry and the London blitz, the fire bombing of Tokyo and most shocking of all the callous destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was a war crime.
Was the evil that was done to Dresden taken by elements of the military to assume that murdering civilians, including children, by dropping bombs could be justifiable? This cruelty reached its most terrible depths with the atomic bombings of August 1945, a cynical experiment by the then American administration, at a time when Japan was already reportedly suing for peace, to see how the nuclear bombs that had just been developed - one using uranium and the other plutonium - would work in practice, while also serving as a warning to Russia of the weapons of Hell the US now possessed.
In another passage this book quotes from a diary entry by Conservative politician Sir Cuthbert Headlam in February 1945: 'Dresden is also being smashed to pieces - it is an abominable business - but it cannot be helped in these enlightened days and no one now seems to have any compunction in killing crowds of civilians, so long as they are Germans or Japanese.'
Yes, Hitler had to be stopped, as did the military clique that had seized control of Japan, but not by meeting evil with evil.

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  • YM
  • 22-04-20

A story of the human tragedy of war.

The story from both sides including the history of this historic city. Lots of viewpoints but gives the listener the absolute example of the tragedy of what war can do.

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  • MAGGS
  • 19-07-17

Dresden Tuesday 13th February - Very interesting 3 1\2 stars

Dresden Tuesday 13th February - Very interesting 3 1\2 stars
Narration by Sean Barrett as always brilliant

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  • Jan
  • 25-06-15

Brilliant book

I have just been to Dresden (the birth place of my mum only a few years after the war) and I wanted to find out more about this dark day and this answered all the questions and it definitely seems to be true.

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  • Guilherme Langner
  • 27-03-15

Excellent book

Really good book, tells the history based in facts and lots of documentation, destroying all kind of neonazi theory about Dresden. The bombing of Dresden was one of the saddest chapters of human history but in nothing can minimise what Nazi Germany did.

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