After the fall of France in May 1940, the British Expeditionary Force was miraculously evacuated from Dunkirk. Britain now stood alone to face Hitler's inevitable invasion attempt.
For the German army to be landed across the Channel, Hitler needed mastery of the skies - the RAF would have to be broken. So every day, throughout the summer, German bombers pounded the RAF air bases in the southern counties. Greatly outnumbered by the Luftwaffe, the pilots of RAF Fighter Command scrambled as many as five times a day and civilians watched skies criss-crossed with the contrails from the constant dogfights between Spitfires and Me-109s. Britain's very freedom depended on the outcome of that summer's battle.
Britain's air defences were badly battered and nearly broken, but against all odds 'The Few', as they came to be known, bought Britain's freedom - many with their lives.
These are the personal accounts of the pilots who fought and survived that battle. We will not see their like again.
On 6 February 1958, a plane took off from a snowy Munich airport carrying probably the finest club side the world has ever known. Moments later, the aircraft crashed, killing some of the most legendary names in British football. This book is dedicated to those players - Roger Byrne, Tommy Taylor, the mighty Duncan Edwards and the others whose lives were cut off in their prime - and their indomitable manager, Sir Matt Busby.
Max Arthur has sought out all the players who survived the crash and spoken to the relatives and friends of those who died. From these interviews, sometimes serious but often humorous, he has captured their remarkable spirit and created a unique portrait of all the Busby Babes.
On the night of 16-17 May 1943, nineteen Lancaster bombers from 617 Squadron headed for Germany. Their mission, for which they had been trained under a cloak of absolute secrecy, was to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley and in doing so cripple the Nazi industrial war effort. It was to become one of the most famous raids of WW2.
For the first time, acclaimed oral historian Max Arthur has gathered together the voices of the 'Dambusters', including Guy Gibson, commander of the mission and Barnes Wallis, who developed the iconic Bouncing Bomb. These voices tell of the hard training and sheer bravery that went into this legendary mission. We also hear from the German civilians who suffered the attack, who speak of the devastation that was wrought in their lives. This was a raid like no other, and in this extraordinary collection Max Arthur has created an enduring record of a unique event in British military history.
The Imperial War Museum holds a vast archive of interviews with soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians of most nationalities who saw action during WW2. As in the highly-acclaimed Forgotten Voices of the Great War, Max Arthur and his team of researchers spent hundreds of hours digging deep into this unique archive, uncovering tapes, many of which have not been listened to since they were created in the early 1970s. The result will be the first complete oral history of World War 2.
We hear at first from British, German and Commonwealth soldiers and civilians. Accounts of the impact of U.S. involvement after Pearl Harbour and the major effects it had on the war in Europe and the Far East is chronicled in startling detail, including compelling interviews from U.S. and British troops who fought against the Japanese. Continuing through from D-Day, to the Rhine Crossing and the dropping of the Atom Bomb in August 1945, this book is a unique testimony to one of the world's most dreadful conflicts. One of the hallmarks of Max Arthur's work is the way he involves those left behind on the home front as well as those working in factories or essential services. Their voices will not be neglected.
This unique landmark oral history uses first-hand accounts from ordinary men and women who were there. Gripping, poignant, surprising and even humorous, the personal experiences of these soldiers, civilians, marines and medics from both sides tell us what it was really like to live through what was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Skilfully assembled by acclaimed author and historian Max Arthur using the IWM’s remarkable sound archive, Forgotten Voices of the Great War became an instant classic on first publication with close to half a million copies sold.
In 1972, the Imperial War Museum began a momentous and important task. A team of academics, archivists and volunteers set about tracing First World War veterans and interviewing them in order to record the experiences of ordinary individuals in war. Since then the Sound Archive has grown to become the largest and most important oral history collections in the world. It now contains over 34,000 recordings, including interviews with veterans of both world wars – both service personnel and non-combatants – recordings relating to Britain and the Empire in the inter-war period 1919–1939, conflicts since 1945 and the Holocaust.
In 2002, Ebury Press published the first edition of Forgotten Voices of the Great War. It was both the first time many of these recordings had been transcribed and published, and the only comprehensive oral history of the First World War. Twelve further books covering aspects of the Second World War, the Falklands and the Victoria Cross followed, selling well over a million copies to date.
Max Arthur is a lifetime supporter of Manchester United. He is this country's leading oral historian and the author of the classic work, Forgotten Voices of the Great War. His most recent book, Last Post: The Final Words from our First World War Soldiers was the biggest selling history book of 2006.