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A Summer Bright and Terrible

Winston Churchill, Lord Dowding, Radar, and the Impossible Triumph of the Battle of Britain

List Price: $16.00

October 10, 2006 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 304 Pages | ISBN 9781593761165
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"Fisher's book is lively, gripping, entertaining and educational." —Airforce Magazine

Lord Hugh Dowding, Air Chief Marshall of the Royal Air Force, Head of Fighter Command, First Baron of Bentley Priory, lived in the grip of unseen spirits. In thrall of the supernatural world, he talked to the ghosts of his dead pilots, proclaimed that Hitler was defeated only by the personal intervention of God, and believed in the existence of faeries. How could it be that such a man should be put in charge of evaluating technical developments for the British air ministry? Yet it was he who, fighting the inertia of the bureaucrats who ruled the Air Force, brought the modern multi-gunned fighter into existence. And he insisted that his scientists investigate the mysterious invisible rays that would prove to be the salvation of Britain: radar.

Dowding, who provided the organization and training that led to victory, has been all but ignored by U. S. biographers of Churchill and historians of the Battle of Britain. Yet his story is vital to tell, both for its importance to the defense of Britain— indeed the entire free world — and for the intriguing character study that emerges from his ongoing conflict with Churchill and the British government during the crisis years of the empire. Part military history, part science narrative, part biography, this incredible story is brought to life by David E. Fisher.

DAVID E. FISHER is the author of twenty-three books, including A Race on the Edge of Time and Fire and Ice. He and his son Marshall John Fisher co-wrote three books—Tube, Strangers in the Night and Mysteries of the Past. David E. Fisher is currently a professor of cosmochemistry and environmental sciences at the University of Miami, and also teaches graduate courses in theories of war and peace, and the impact of science on history. He holds a PhD in nuclear physics.


“Difficult to put down… Fisher’s book is lively, gripping, entertaining and educational.” —Airforce Magazine

“Fisher’s narrative is like a lecture from a professor who knows that to keep students’ attention he has to spice up dry historical facts with a clever turn of phrase, an ironic stance toward the material and an occasional aside of bit of humor. . . . Fisher takes the reader on a lively march through the history of aerial combat, the development of radar and a lucid explanation of how it works, a journey which culminates in the 1940 Battle of Britain and Dowding’s role in England’s victory.” —Seattle Times

“Fisher’s portrait of the dotty Dowding is a pleasure to read.” —Kirkus

“Featuring a lively narrative peppered with summary judgments, Fisher’s profile of the eccentric Dowding merits the allegiance of the WWII audience.” —Booklist



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