First Light by Geoffrey Wellum Review
There are thousands of books about the Second World War, but this one has to in my top ten. In First Light we follow the career of a RAF fighter pilot through training, the Battle of Britain, Operation Pedestal and beyond. Piloting his Spitfire against the might of the German Luftwaffe, this is a deeply personal story, where all his fears and short-comings are laid bare.
The sheer number of the Authors comrades who die shocks the reader into realising how tenuous life must have been for "The Few", not knowing who would come back, or when your number might be up, and how much we owe to these brave men.
I particularly liked the fact that the author is not afraid to talk about how he mentally and physically started to brake down after years on the edge as a fighter-pilot - during his time in Malta his body had had enough, and he was forced to give up flying to recover.
In this modern age where US films and books dominate our Film & Book-stores, it is important to publiscise the British experience, after all from '39 to '41 we were fighting the might of Germany and Japan alone. If we had fallen, the war would have taken a very different turn indeed. There would have been no D-Day, no convoys to support Russia, no delay to Operation Barbarossa which would have led the Germans to Berlin weeks before the Winter set in, and there probable victory.
First light brings the personal experiences of one RAF officer to the page, it is a highly recommended read.
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