02 June 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The First And The Last by Adolf Galland

The First And The LastThe First And The Last by Adolf Galland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fearless leader with 104 victories to his name, Galland was a legendary hero in Germany's Luftwaffe. Now he offers an insider's look at the division's triumphs in Poland and France and the last desperate battle to save the Reich.

"The clearest picture yet of how the Germans lost their war in the air".--Time.

A first-hand account written by a man who was part of the upper echelons of the WW2 German Luftwaffe and also at the forefront of the air war over Britain and mainland Europe. There's many interesting insights into strategic decisions made by the German leaders, and Galland's in-person dealings with Hitler and Goring give us a rare look at the minds behind Germany's war effort. I found it fascinating how much of a hindrance the mindset of Hitler was against the defence of the German Reich, thus allowing Allied air forces to gain the upper hand and eventual air superiority over Europe. The case of the misuse of the brilliant new ME-262 turbojet aircraft is indicative of this and the sorry saga is told well by Galland in the later chapters of the book. I could sense the author's frustrations as he retells these events. While reading Galland's account I came to respect the man and his honor as a soldier. He was no Nazi, that much is clear, yet he did his best to carry out his sworn duty as a Luftwaffe officer. Political ideology doesn't appear in this book, but it's a candid account that is both interesting and educational, a must-read for anybody interested in military history.

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