Everything that happened twenty-two years later in the Battle of Britain is foreshadowed in this story.
Fighting was raging on the other side of the Channel, but in London, in the warmth of a drowsy late-September afternoon, the war seemed a long way away. The roads were strangely quiet and deserted, for petrol restrictions had reduced motor traffic almost to zero. London seemed breathless, in the tense expectancy of disaster.
First Blitz is told in two parts, each detailing the events of a single week:
The first part tells the story of the first London Blitz — six raids by German bombers in eight nights in 1917. Part two focuses on the events of August 1918 and the countdown to the incendiary raids that would have destroyed much of London and Paris had they not been called off at the very last minute.
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Neil Hanson is the author of four acclaimed works of narrative history: The Custom of the Sea; The Dreadful Judgement; The Confident Hope of a Miracle; and The Unknown Soldier.Review:
“The 1940s bombing raids over London have taken such a powerful grip upon our imagination that the existence of an earlier Blitz, in World War I, will come as a complete surprise. Yet, as Neil Hanson ... demonstrates in this gripping and well-researched book, it was in many ways more terrifying.”
— Daily Mail
“Using first-hand witnesses plus government war records, Hanson draws a powerful picture of the impact of these first air raids.”
— Time Out
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