Spitfire: A Very British Love Story Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The Sunday Times nonfiction best seller.
The iconic Spitfire found fame during the darkest early days of World War II. But what happened to the redoubtable fighter and its crews beyond the Battle of Britain, and why is it still so loved today?
In late spring 1940, Nazi Germany’s domination of Europe looked unstoppable. With the British Isles in easy reach since the fall of France, Adolf Hitler was convinced that Great Britain would be defeated in the skies over her southern coast, confident his Messerschmitts and Heinkels would outclass anything the Royal Air Force threw at them. What Hitler hadn’t planned for was the agility and resilience of a marvel of British engineering that would quickly pass into legend - the Spitfire.
Best-selling author John Nichol’s passionate portrait of this magnificent fighter aircraft, its many innovations and updates and the people who flew and loved them carries the listener beyond the dogfights over Kent and Sussex. Spanning the full global reach of the Spitfire’s deployment during WWII, from Malta to North Africa and the Far East, then over the D-day beaches, it is always accessible, effortlessly entertaining and full of extraordinary spirit.
Here are edge-of-the-seat stories and heart-stopping firsthand accounts of battling pilots forced to bail out over occupied territory; of sacrifice and wartime love; of aristocratic female flyers; and of the mechanics who braved the Nazi onslaught to keep the aircraft in battle-ready condition. Nichol takes the listener on a hair-raising, nail-biting and moving wartime history of the iconic Spitfire populated by a cast of redoubtable, heroic characters that make you want to stand up and cheer.
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|Listening Length||15 hours and 57 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.co.uk Release Date||06 September 2018|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio UK|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 6,376 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
286 in World History of World War II 1939-1945
322 in History (Audible Books & Originals)
432 in Great Britain History (Books)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 December 2020
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Aplogies to John as apparently Mk 8 Spitfire JF299 was the first ever example to be fitted with a tear drop canopy and cut down fuselage in the summer of 1943, even though I've never ever seen a pic of such an example in action so not sure how many were ever made in this configuration. Just goes to show the level of research he carried out in order to write this wonderful book and how even a true afficiando like myself for over 40 years can still learn something new.
Update: I am close to 100 pages into this and for the record many of the meaty ones i read i never get that far with, but this is amazing. Totally feel for the pilots, indeed the country. Never read one like it. If you're going to buy this, ensure before you pick it up that you have an afternoon or day spare, as you will find this tough to put down after.
At times harrowing and at times true 'boys own' stuff, this book will leave you amazed by the daring tales of those who fought this aircraft. It looks not just at the Battle of Britain but also beyond to many other theatres of conflict where the Spitfire excelled, such as the Mediterranean, North Africa and Far East. This is a book to be cherished by aviation enthusiasts and general readers alike.
Nichol, an ex-RAF man himself, interviewed a number of veterans for this book and it is the tale not so much of the aeroplane but of the men and women who flew and worked on it. The pilots’ stories make up the bulk of the book, from ‘The Few’ of the Battle of Britain, to the photo reconnaissance pilots who flew unarmed Spitfires deep into Nazi Germany, and the female ferry pilots who delivered them to squadrons. The narrative never fails to enthral.
It would have been nice to see a bit more about the people who built and maintained the aircraft, but what is clear from the book is that everyone who came into contact with it has developed a deep and enduring love for the Spitfire.