Taylor Downing - Author

About the Author

Taylor Downing is a television producer and writer. He was educated at Cambridge University and went on to become Managing Director and Head of History at Flashback Television, an independent production company. His most recent books include Spies in the Sky, Churchill's War Lab, Cold War (with Sir Jeremy Isaacs) and Night Raid.

Featured books by Taylor Downing

Secret Warriors Key Scientists, Code Breakers and Propagandists of the Great War

Secret Warriors Key Scientists, Code Breakers and Propagandists of the Great War

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2014

The First World War is often viewed as a war fought by armies of millions living and fighting in trenches, aided by brutal machinery that cost the lives of many. But behind all of this a scientific war was also being fought between engineers, chemists, physicists, doctors, mathematicians and intelligence gatherers. This hidden war was to make a positive and lasting contribution to how war was conducted on land, at sea and in the air, and most importantly life at home. Secret Warriors provides an invaluable and fresh history of the First World War, profiling a number of the key figures who made great leaps in science for the benefit of 20th Century Britain. Told in a lively, narrative style, Secret Warriors reveals the unknown side of the war.

Other books by Taylor Downing

1983 The World at the Brink

1983 The World at the Brink

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/04/2018

1983 was a supremely dangerous year - even more dangerous than 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the US, President Reagan massively increased defence spending, described the Soviet Union as an 'evil empire' and announced his 'Star Wars' programme, calling for a shield in space to defend the US from incoming missiles. Yuri Andropov, the paranoid Soviet leader, saw all this as signs of American aggression and convinced himself that the US really meant to attack the Soviet Union. He put the KGB on alert to look for signs of an imminent nuclear attack. When a Soviet fighter jet shot down Korean Air Lines flight KAL 007 after straying off course over a sensitive Soviet military area, President Reagan described it as a 'terrorist act' and 'a crime against humanity'. The temperature was rising fast. Then at the height of the tension, NATO began a war game called Able Archer 83. In this exercise, NATO requested permission to use the codes to launch nuclear weapons. The nervous Soviets convinced themselves this was no exercise but the real thing. This is an extraordinary and largely unknown Cold War story of spies and double agents, of missiles being readied, of intelligence failures, misunderstandings and the panic of world leaders. With access to hundreds of extraordinary new documents just released in the US, Taylor Downing is able to tell for the first time the gripping but true story of how near the world came to the brink of nuclear war in 1983. 1983: The World at the Brink is a real-life thriller.

1983 The World at the Brink

1983 The World at the Brink

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/04/2018

1983 was a supremely dangerous year - even more dangerous than 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the US, President Reagan massively increased defence spending, described the Soviet Union as an 'evil empire' and announced his 'Star Wars' programme, calling for a shield in space to defend the US from incoming missiles. Yuri Andropov, the paranoid Soviet leader, saw all this as signs of American aggression and convinced himself that the US really meant to attack the Soviet Union. He put the KGB on alert to look for signs of an imminent nuclear attack. When a Soviet fighter jet shot down Korean Air Lines flight KAL 007 after straying off course over a sensitive Soviet military area, President Reagan described it as a 'terrorist act' and 'a crime against humanity'. The temperature was rising fast. Then at the height of the tension, NATO began a war game called Able Archer 83. In this exercise, NATO requested permission to use the codes to launch nuclear weapons. The nervous Soviets convinced themselves this was no exercise but the real thing. This is an extraordinary and largely unknown Cold War story of spies and double agents, of missiles being readied, of intelligence failures, misunderstandings and the panic of world leaders. With access to hundreds of extraordinary new documents just released in the US, Taylor Downing is able to tell for the first time the gripping but true story of how near the world came to the brink of nuclear war in 1983. 1983: The World at the Brink is a real-life thriller.

Breakdown The Crisis of Shell Shock on the Somme

Breakdown The Crisis of Shell Shock on the Somme

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/02/2017

Paralysis. Stuttering. The 'shakes'. Inability to stand or walk. Temporary blindness or deafness. When strange symptoms like these began appearing in men at Casualty Clearing Stations in 1915, a debate began in army and medical circles as to what it was, what had caused it and what could be done to cure it. But the numbers were never large. Then in July 1916 with the start of the Somme battle the incidence of shell shock rocketed. The high command of the British army began to panic. An increasingly large number of men seemed to have simply lost the will to fight. As entire battalions had to be withdrawn from the front, commanders and military doctors desperately tried to come up with explanations as to what was going wrong. 'Shell shock' - what we would now refer to as battle trauma - was sweeping the Western Front. By the beginning of August 1916, nearly 200,000 British soldiers had been killed or wounded during the first month of fighting along the Somme. Another 300,000 would be lost before the battle was over. But the army always said it could not calculate the exact number of those suffering from shell shock. Re-assessing the official casualty figures, Taylor Downing for the first time comes up with an accurate estimate of the total numbers who were taken out of action by psychological wounds. It is a shocking figure. Taylor Downing's revelatory new book follows units and individuals from signing up to the Pals Battalions of 1914, through to the horrors of their experiences on the Somme which led to the shell shock that, unrelated to weakness or cowardice, left the men unable to continue fighting. He shines a light on the official - and brutal - response to the epidemic, even against those officers and doctors who looked on it sympathetically. It was, they believed, a form of hysteria. It was contagious. And it had to be stopped. Breakdown brings an entirely new perspective to bear on one of the iconic battles of the First World War.

Night Raid The True Story of the First Victorious British Para Raid of WWII

Night Raid The True Story of the First Victorious British Para Raid of WWII

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/07/2015

The loss of British bombers over Occupied Europe began to reach alarming levels in 1941. Could it be that the Germans were using a sophisticated form of radar to direct their night fighters and anti-aircraft guns at the British bombers? British aerial reconnaissance discovered what seemed to be a rotating radar tower on a clifftop at Bruneval, near Le Havre. The truth must be revealed. The decision was taken to launch a daring raid on the Bruneval site to try and capture the technology for further examination. The planned airborne assault would be extremely risky. The parachute regiment had only been formed a year before on Churchill's insistence. This night raid would test the men to the extreme limits of their abilities. Night Raid tells the gripping tale of this mission from the planning stages, to the failed rehearsals when the odds seemed stacked against them, to the night of the raid itself, and the scientific secrets that were discovered thanks to the paras' precious cargo - the German radar. Its capture was of immense importance in the next stages of the war and the mission itself marked the birth of the legend of the 'Red Devils'.

Secret Warriors Key Scientists, Code Breakers and Propagandists of the Great War

Secret Warriors Key Scientists, Code Breakers and Propagandists of the Great War

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2015

The First World War is often viewed as a war fought by armies of millions living and fighting in trenches, aided by brutal machinery that cost the lives of many. But behind all of this a scientific war was also being fought between engineers, chemists, physicists, doctors,mathematicians and intelligence gatherers. This hidden war was to make a positive and lasting contribution to how war was conducted on land, at sea and in the air, and most importantly life at home. Secret Warriors provides an invaluable and fresh history of the First World War, profiling a number of the key figures who made great leaps in science for the benefit of 20th Century Britain. Told in a lively, narrative style, Secret Warriors reveals the unknown side of the war.

Secret Warriors

Secret Warriors

Author: Taylor Downing Format: eBook Release Date: 15/04/2015

A startling and vivid account of World War I, Secret Warriors uncovers how wartime code-breaking, aeronautics, and scientific research laid the foundation for many of the innovations of the twentieth century.World War I is often viewed as a war fought by armies of millions living and fighting in trenches, aided by brutal machinery that cost the lives of many. But behind all of this an intellectual war was also being fought between engineers, chemists, code-breakers, physicists, doctors, mathematicians, and intelligence gatherers. This hidden war was to make a positive and lasting contribution to how war was conducted on land, at sea, and in the air and, most importantly, to life at home.Secret Warriors provides an invaluable and fresh history of World War I, profiling a number of the key incidents and figures that led to great leaps forward for the twentieth century. Told in a lively and colorful narrative style, Secret Warriors reveals the unknown side of this tragic conflict.

The World at War

The World at War

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/10/2012

The World at War is the most successful history series ever produced by British television. TV producer and writer Taylor Downing explores the style, ethos, television context and impact of the programme, in a study that includes interviews with the producer, Jeremy Isaacs, and original research gathered from archives.

Spies In The Sky The Secret Battle for Aerial Intelligence during World War II

Spies In The Sky The Secret Battle for Aerial Intelligence during World War II

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2012

SPIES IN THE SKY is the thrilling, little-known story of the partner organisation to the famous code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park. It is the story of the daring reconnaissance pilots who took aerial photographs over Occupied Europe during the most dangerous days of the Second World War, and of the photo interpreters who invented a completely new science to analyse those pictures. They were inventive and ingenious; they pioneered the development of 3D photography and their work provided vital intelligence throughout the war. With a whole host of colourful characters at its heart, from the legendary pilot Adrian 'Warby' Warburton, who went missing while on a mission, to photo interpreters Glyn Daniel, later a famous television personality, and Winston Churchill's daughter, Sarah, SPIES IN THE SKY is compelling reading and the first full account of the story of aerial photography and the intelligence gleaned from it in nearly fifty years.

Olympia

Olympia

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/02/2012

Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia (1938) is one of the most controversial films ever made. Capitalising on the success of Triumph of the Will (1935), her propaganda film for the Nazi Party, Riefenstahl secured Hitler's approval for her grandiose plans to film the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The result was a work as notorious for its politics as celebrated for its aesthetic power. This revised edition includes new material on Riefenstahl's film-making career before Olympia and her close relationship with Hitler. Taylor Downing also discusses newly-available evidence on the background to the film's production that conclusively proves that the film was directly commissioned by Hitler and funded through Goebbels's Ministry of Propaganda and not, as Riefenstahl later claimed, commissioned independently from the Nazi state by the Olympic authorities. In writing this edition, Taylor Downing has been given access to a magnificent new restoration of the original version of the film by the International Olympic Committee.

Churchill's War Lab Code Breakers, Boffins and Innovators: the Mavericks Churchill Led to Victory

Churchill's War Lab Code Breakers, Boffins and Innovators: the Mavericks Churchill Led to Victory

Author: Taylor Downing Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/10/2011

The man, and the only man we have for this hour.' Indefatigable patriot, seasoned soldier, incomparable orator and leader of men - Winston Churchill's greatness in leading Britain's coalition government to triumphant victory in the Second World War is undisputed. Yet Churchill's enduring legacy to the world is attributable at least in equal part to his unshakeable belief in the science of war.From the development of radar and the breakthroughs at Bletchley Park to the study of the D-Day beaches and the use of bouncing bombs, this brilliant and gripping narrative reveals the Second World War as an explosive phase of scientific history, an unprecedented crucible for change that involved a knife-edge race to the finish.

Author Info

Author's Website

http://taylordowning.com/

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