In June 1941, Flight Sergeant Leslie Mann, a tail gunner in a British bomber, was shot down over Germany and taken into captivity. After the war, wanting to record the experiences of the RAF's 'Bomber Boys', he wrote down his inner thoughts and feelings as a fictional narrative, recently brought to the attention of Imperial War Museums. Visceral, shocking and unglamorous, it transmits as rarely before the horrors of aerial warfare, the corrosive effects of fear, and the psychological torment of the young men involved. Although presented as fiction, the book's solid basis in lived experience makes it ring true - the sights, sounds, smells, and above all the emotional strain are intensely evoked with a novelist's skill. Providing a unique glimpse into a deadly profession and a traumatic time, And Some Fell on Stony Ground is a fascinating historical artefact in its own right. This compelling story is introduced and placed in context by historian Richard Overy, author of the acclaimed book, The Bombing War (Allen Lane, 2013).
Flight Sergeant Leslie Mann served as an RAF tail gunner during the Second World War, before being imprisoned in Germany when his bomber was brought down. When the conflict ended, he wrote this fictionalised version of his experiences, seen from the perspective of ‘Pilot Officer Mason’. Mann’s book, which benefits from an authoritative introduction by historian Richard Overy, author of The Bombing War, offers an unflinching depiction of a typical bombing operation. For narrative reasons, Mason and his colleagues address each other by name here. In reality, constant crew turnover – necessitated by massive casualties – meant that such familiarity was discouraged. Mann evokes this sense of detachment from normal life, and the relentless psychological pressure and fear that were the daily lot of airmen like him. On German soil after being shot down, his protagonist finally feels relief: ‘No more ops’. Not a heroic image, but a truthful one nonetheless.
Publication date: 04/09/2014
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
|Publication date:||4th September 2014|
|Author:||Leslie Mann, Richard Overy|
|Publisher:||Icon Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction,|
|Categories:||Second World War fiction,|
Richard Overy is an award-winning historian best known for his remarkable books on the Second World War and the wider disasters of the twentieth century. His most recent book, The Bombing War, was described by Richard J Evans in the Guardian as 'Magnificent ... must now be regarded as the standard work on the bombing war ... It is probably the most important book published on the history of he second world war this century' He is Professor of History at the University of Exeter and lives in London.More About Leslie Mann, Richard Overy