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At 9.51 p.m. on Tuesday 13 February 1945, Dresden’s air-raid sirens sounded as they had done many times during the Second World War. But this time was different. By the next morning, 2,600 tons of high explosives and incendiary devices had been dropped on the unprotected city.

At least 25,000 inhabitants died in the terrifying firestorm and thirteen square miles of the city’s historic centre, including incalculable quantities of treasure and works of art, lay in ruins. In this portrait of the city, its people, and its still-controversial destruction, Frederick Taylor has drawn on archives and sources only accessible since the fall of the East German regime, and talked to Allied aircrew and survivors, from members of the German armed services and refugees fleeing the Russian advance to ordinary citizens of Dresden.


“This scholarly, objective, sane and well-written book … a tremendously powerful work, profoundly moving in the accounts of the ordinary German families who met their deaths that dreadful night.”
-- Evening Standard (London)

“Taylor’s carefully researched book, based on documents and interviews, tries to provide a more accurate account of why the Dresden raid happened and what really took place that night. He does not excuse, but he disposes of some enduring myths … This might have been one of those pert, self-important histories which boast that they are debunking all previous judgments. It is anything but that. As Taylor dismantles more myths, he becomes increasingly appalled by the truth which remains. This is a rigorous book, written by a man who does not deny his own feelings.”
-- The Observer

“In narrative power and persuasion, he has paralleled in Dresden what Anthony Beevor achieved in Stalingrad.”
-- Independent on Sunday

“An absolutely magnificent work both of scholarship and narration … it gives us enough background, description, anecdote and information to help guide our imaginations towards forming a picture of just how horrific the raid and its aftermath must have been … Taylor succeeds in explaining the significance of Allied aerial bombing not just to the war effort but to victory: it is a recognition that is long overdue.”
-- The Literary Review

“He has written a narrative that powers along without descending into hyperbole … impeccably documented while avoiding the sterile jargon of so much military history … In laying to rest the legends, Taylor’s authoritative and moving account provides a … fitting memorial.”
-- The Independent

”Taylor weaves a chilling narrative from eyewitness accounts and...documentary research ... His account of the air operation ... is quite superb.”
-- Allan Mallison , The Times

“Frederick Taylor’s magnificent, all-encompassing study of the action, its origins and its aftermath is surely as close as the English language will get to a definitive, balanced examination of the subject … Taylor gives us a beautifully worked version of every part of the Dresden story.”
-- The Scotsman

“This is a very good book indeed … Perhaps with this fine, highly readable and scholarly work, we can finally review the terrible destruction of Dresden with renewed objectivity.”
-- The Daily Telegraph

“Carefully researched and wonderfully written.”
-- Scotland on Sunday

“The enigmatic past and the patient muse of history are brilliantly served … by this blockbuster of a book. It is a masterpiece of scholarship and even-handed reporting not unlike John Hersey’s Hiroshima … Dresden is a war classic, one that combs the ashes to bring the complicated past to shuddering true life at last.”
-- Chicago Sun-Times

"Taylor's chronicle...makes for compelling reading, owing both to his chilling depiction of that surreal and horrible night and to the obvious moral seriousness he uses to grapple with the ambiguities at the heart of his account.... Drawing on the sophisticated assessments of a generation of scholars, [Taylor]...puts the assault in its proper context to reveal the inherent moral tangle of total war."
-- Atlantic Monthly

“One of the best non-fiction books I've ever encountered ... a path breaking work of scholarship and feeling. It reads like a dark thriller. It IS a dark thriller.”
-- KZYX&Z-FM Public Radio, California

"Passionately written and deeply affecting, DRESDEN is a bracing rebuke to the myths and propaganda that have painted over the memory of this tragedy.”
-- People Magazine

"For a look into the eye of a whirlwind, read this book. Taylor's work is highly recommended as a complete, learned and balanced analysis of the Dresden raid."
-- Edmonton Journal (Canada)


NEWSFLASH: On 1 October 2008 the Commission of Historians appointed by the City of Dresden to report on the true numbers of dead resulting from the Air Raid on Dresden filed its provisional report after four years of research and deliberations For an account of this and Frederick Taylor's comments in his article in Spiegel International see http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,581992,00.html

DRESDEN was published in Great Britain in February 2004 (hardcover) and February 2005 in paperback and is available from bookshops, Bloomsbury publishers and amazon.co.uk. It was published in the USA by HarperCollins and is available there from book stores and from amazon.com. DRESDEN has so far been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Czech, Hebrew, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazil), and Romanian.


© 2007-2013 Frederick Taylor