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.
Reviews for Dresden
“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.”
Simon Heffer, The Literary Review
“In narrative power and persuasion, he has paralleled in Dresden what Anthony Beevor achieved in Stalingrad.”
Nicholas Fearn, Independent on Sunday
“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.”
James Holland, Daily Telegraph
“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.”