Join us for an exclusive evening with historian, Sir Max Hastings discussing his new book, Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943 – revealing for the first time the full extent of the human story behind the Dambusters legend.
Operation Chastise, the overnight destruction of the Mohne and Eder dams in north-west Germany by the RAF’s 617 Squadron, was an epic that has passed into Britain’s national legend. Max Hastings grew up embracing the story, the classic 1955 movie and the memory of Guy Gibson, the 24-year-old wing-commander who won the V.C. leading the raid.
In the 21st century, however, he urges that we should review the Dambusters in more complex colours. The aircrew’s heroism was wholly authentic, as was the brilliance of Barnes Wallis, who invented the ‘bouncing bombs’. But commanders who promised the young fliers that success could shorten the war fantasised wildly. What Germans call the Mohnekatastrophe imposed on the Nazi war machine brief disruption, rather than a crippling blow.
Sir Max Hastings is an author, journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in every British national newspaper. He contributes to The Times and reviews for The Sunday Times and New York Review of Books.
Chastisse: The Dambusters Story 1943 is published on September 5 by William Collins. RRP £25, copies will be available to buy at the event.