The First Day of the Blitz: September 7, 1940

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Overview

On September 7, 1940, the long-feared and anticipated attack by the German Luftwaffe plunged London into a cauldron of fire and devastation. This compelling book recreates that day in all its horror, using rich archival sources and first-hand accounts, many never before published. Eminent historian Peter Stansky weaves together the stories of people who recorded their experiences of the opening hours of the Blitz. Then, exploring more deeply, the author examines what that critical day meant to the nation at the time, and what it came to mean in following years.

Much of the future of Britain was determined in the first twelve hours of bombing, Stansky contends. The Blitz set in motion a range of responses that contributed to ultimate victory over Germany and to a transformation of British society. The wave of terror, though designed to quash morale, instead inspired stoicism, courage, and a new camaraderie. The tragic London bombing can reveal much of relevance to our own violent times, Stansky concludes: both the effectiveness of modern terror and its ultimate failure are made powerfully clear by the events of September 7, 1940.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Terrorism comes in many forms, but when it comes from clear skies it is especially horrifying. Stansky (history, emeritus, Stanford Univ.; Sassoon: The Worlds of Philip and Sybil) focuses on a single day in British history: September 7, 1940, the day the Germans began systematically bombing London, an ordeal that would last for several months and cost the lives of over 28,000 Londoners. But despite the trauma of this daily onslaught, the citizens of London quietly persevered, calmly heading to their bomb shelters when the sirens began and trying to live their lives as normally as possible. Stansky recounts the numerous acts of courage and tenacity displayed by Londoners beginning on that first awful day. He even draws comparisons between this event and 9/11. The book can be read in conjunction with Margaret Gaskin's Blitz: The Story of December 29, 1940for a full picture of life in Britain in the last months of 1940. For all collections.
—Ed Goedeken

The International History Review - Paul Addison
"Stansky is an elegant and sensitive writer who depicts the scene with artistry." —Paul Addison, The International History Review
The New York Military Affairs Symposium Review
"Excellent. . . . The First Day of the Blitz is well written, and would make profitable reading for anyone with even a passing interest in history."—The New York Military Affairs Symposium Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300143355
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Stansky is Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University.

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