Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle of World War II

BIG WEEK                                                 JAMES HOLLAND

In Big Week, acclaimed World War II historian James Holland chronicles the massive air battle through the experiences of those who lived and died during it. Prior to Big Week, the air forces on both sides were in crisis. Allied raids into Germany were being decimated, but German resources—fuel and pilots—were strained to the breaking point. Ultimately new Allied aircraft—especially the American long-range P-51 Mustang—and superior tactics won out during Big Week. Through interviews, oral histories, diaries, and official records, Holland follows the fortunes of pilots, crew, and civilians on both sides, taking readers from command headquarters to fighter cockpits to anti-aircraft positions and civilian chaos on the ground, vividly recreating the campaign as it was conceived and unfolded. In the end, the six days of intense air battles largely cleared the skies of enemy aircraft when the invasion took place on June 6, 1944—D-Day.

Big Week is both an original contribution to WWII literature and a brilliant piece of narrative history, recapturing a largely forgotten campaign that was one of the most critically important periods of the entire war.

The book is titled Big Week, but really the author takes you from first the English bombing Germany and then the United States becoming active after Pearl Harbor. He takes you through the buildup of planes and how they change and the men who fly them. He also gives you the German side which was holding their own until we introduced the Mustang, that fighter took over the skies and with the bombers slowing down production the Germans were never able to compete with the amount of planes bombers and fighters that we were able to produce along with the men to fly the planes. The author takes you into the rooms with the Generals and some of their decisions one thinking that the war could be won with no ground troops that was a no go. Others felt later that the first Allied Air commander did not know how to use the Mustangs when they arrived, for the longest time they would not provide cover for the bombers, and though they could fly longer and hold two bombs he still would not use them. It would be after he is relived and a new commander takes over that they would be used to their full potential. The bombers would fly missions into Germany and into Italy sometimes they would be able to stop production and sometimes it would only slow down. The biggest thing is that the Germans were never able to make the changes to their planes to compete with the Mustang and they could not train piolets’ as the Americans could. The author leads you to the Big Week in February which would see more tonnage of bombs dropped than before. I found this to be a very good book about the air battle in Europe. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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