Sir Max Hastings is the bestselling author of 26 books and was editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph and editor of the Evening Standard.
His latest book is a masterly history of the Dambusters raid: Operation Chastise, the overnight destruction of the Möhne and Eder dams in Germany by the RAF’s 617 Squadron, an epic that has passed into Britain’s national legend.
Derbyshire has strong links with the Dambusters’ story: Barnes Wallis, who invented the ‘bouncing bomb’ was born in Ripley and Derwent Reservoir was used for practising low-level flights by the RAF due to its similarity to the German dams.
Chastise offers a fascinating retake on legend. Hastings sets the dams raid in the big picture of the bomber offensive and of the Second World War, with moving portraits of the young airmen, so many of whom died.