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Steve Darlow's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Steve Darlow recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Steve Darlow's favorite book recommendations of all time.


The Last Enemy

Described by critics as "not a book written by a pilot about the war, but a book written by a writer about a pilot," "The Last Enemy" tells the story of a young writer's experiences as a Spitfire pilot in training and during the Battle of Britain, and of the life he led after being shot down. Richard Hillary begins his story with a gripping account of his flight from Hornchurch on September 3, 1940, up and out over the Channel and into ferocious aerial combat, "a blur of twisting machines and tracer bullets." His plane hit and hurtling towards the water, Richard bails out of the flaming... more
Recommended by Steve Darlow, and 1 others.

Steve DarlowBecause it’s an absolute classic of the war. It follows the personal journey that he went through, though it’s a tragic tale. Hillary came from a privileged background to become a pilot, but later he was shot down and suffered very badly from burns. During his long recovery he wrote this book. Nevertheless he maintained a desire to fly and he went back again – and was killed during a training... (Source)

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Recommended by Steve Darlow, and 1 others.

Steve DarlowBecause he was probably the most famous bomber pilot of the Second World War. (Source)

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It is not often that a remarkable gem of a manuscript is uncovered and published. Geoffrey Wellum's First Light was one example. The memoir of Timothy Ashmead Vigors is another. Born in Hatfield but raised in Eire and educated at Eton and Cranwell, early 1940 found Tim Vigors in France flying Fairey Battle bombers. After the Fall he converted to fighters joining 222 Squadron with whom he saw frantic and distinguished service over Dunkirk and then during the dangerous days of The Battle of Britain, when he became an ace. Transferred to the Far East in January 1941 as a flight commander with... more
Recommended by Steve Darlow, and 1 others.

Steve DarlowThat’s right; the pilots came out differently at the end of the war. Vigors maintained a passion for flying, whereas for others it was a job, and when they completed their job and the war was over, some wanted to start families and develop their careers. Some pretty awful things happened during the war and many wanted to put it behind them. However I do think that many pilots never lost their... (Source)

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Bomber Pilot

Recommended by Steve Darlow, and 1 others.

Steve DarlowIt’s estimated that around 800 Allied airmen were lynched during the Second World War. At the beginning of the war it was not the norm – far from it. Almost everyone at the start had a moral high ground – the RAF, for example, were forbidden to bomb near civilians. However this was steadily eroded and by 1945 there had been massive strategic bombing across Germany, and so any airmen who did come... (Source)

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First Light

An account of Boy Wellum, one of the youngest fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain. Enlisting in the RAF weeks before the outbreak of World War II, Geoffrey Wellum found himself fighting the Germans over the English Channel, a Spitfire pilot at just 18 years of age. less
Recommended by James Holland, Steve Darlow, and 2 others.

James HollandEverything changes when you suddenly find yourself in the Battle of Britain. It was incredibly harrowing. I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it was, physically and mentally, to fly three times a day in those sorts of conditions – knowing that any moment might be your last. (Source)

Steve DarlowHe is not a combat hero, an ‘ace’ (someone who has shot down five enemy aircraft), though he was a good pilot. His skill is in taking the reader into the aircraft and giving them the experiences he had. (Source)

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