Books of the year 2010 | Jonathan Derbyshire

Bomber Country: The Lost Airmen of World War Two by Daniel Swift

 

Daniel Swift's Bomber County: the Lost Airmen of World War Two (Hamish Hamilton, £20) is a remarkable debut. Into a memoir of his grandfather, a Second World War bomber pilot lost over the North Sea in 1943, Swift insinuates military history, moral philosophy and literary criticism, rescuing in the process the "poetry of air bombing" from the condescension of posterity. Bomber County is an elegy of sorts, and so is the late Tony Judt's final book, The Memory Chalet (Heinemann, £16.99) - a threnody for the world of postwar social democracy, disguised as a sketch for an autobiography the historian will now never write.

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