H.E. Bates

How Sleep The Brave
  • How Sleep The Brave

  • Heroic and moving accounts of the R.A.F. in war time by the author of Fair Stood the Wind for France and The Darling Buds of May

    'After 60 years of writing and reading, I would place H.E. Bates as one of the best short-story writers of my time' Graham Greene

    First published under the pseudonym of Flying Officer X, H. E. Bates’s stories of the heroic exploits of British bomber crews during the Second World War created a sensation when they appeared in 1942, selling over two million copies all over the world. Bates lived among the painfully young pilots and recorded their lives, and those of their loved ones, with an emotional attention that deeply moved the generation that lived through the war, and an intensity that reverberates down the decades.

H. E. Bates was born in Northamptonshire in 1905. He published his first novel, The Two Sisters, when he was twenty, and for the next decade built up a reputation as a writer of great versatility. During the Second World War Bates was commissioned by the RAF as a short story writer, where he wrote the acclaimed How Sleep the Brave and The Greatest People in the World. His most popular creation was the effervescent Larkin family about whom he wrote five novels including The Darling Buds of May and A Little of What You Fancy. In 1973 H. E. Bates was awarded the C.B.E. He died in 1974.