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What's the best history/non-fiction book on the bombing of Dresden?
January 24, 2014 5:37 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to learn more about the history of the bombing of Dresden, and am looking for the most reliable (yet accessible) source.

Just finished listening to Slaughterhouse 5 (so it goes), in advance of a Slate Book Club live event here in Seattle, and it got me interested in learning more about the bombing of Dresden at the end of World War II. While there are a number of published books on this event, they seem to vary in terms of their reliability, at least based on reviews and articles that I've read.

Can anyone recommend a particularly good book to read on the topic - one that's both accurate and approachable for a non-academic, non-historian?
posted by scblackman to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not a book, but a comment in a previous MeFi thread has a powerful perspective on the bombing of Dresden.
posted by alms at 6:59 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


If you're open to podcasts/audiobooks, Dan Carlin's Hardcore History episode about the atomic bomb goes into very great detail about how Hiroshima and Nagasaki were just the end of a progression that very much included the firebombings of Dresden and Tokyo (and others). He talks a lot about the firebombings, and how war planners got to a place where that seemed like a good idea... he also quotes extensively from accounts from survivors of the firebombing.

You have to pay a couple of bucks for the podcast (I think you can do it from the link I posted, or it's available on iTunes), but it's totally worth it. Fascinating, harrowing stuff.
posted by COBRA! at 7:17 AM on January 24


I don't have any useful info for you, but my wife and I also have tickets for the Slate Book Club event. We should have a meetup!
posted by Kwine at 7:25 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


For the history I recommend The Fire by Jörg Friedrich. Although your question specifies non-fiction, you might also enjoy Len Deighton's Bomber. (And since, like for many, Slaughterhouse 5 was your gateway, don't miss the movie.)
posted by Rash at 9:01 AM on January 24


There was a 2004 Metafilter thread on the book Dresden: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1945 by Frederick Taylor.
posted by alms at 9:04 AM on January 24


There's a documentary on Youtube. I also highly recommend the book On the Natural History of Destruction by W.G. Sebald (the first half of the book). Not specifically about just Dresden but a great piece on the bombings of German cities and why authors and people in Germany in general didn't talk much about it.
posted by perhapses at 9:55 AM on January 24


The above mentioned documentary features the infamous David Irving quite prominently. It has some interesting historical footage, but I recommend caution evaluating its narrative.

(I tried Googling the movie's provenance, but my company's filters are blocking the first 20 or so results due to "racism and hate".)
posted by monospace at 1:38 PM on January 24


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