Douglas Bader by Robert Jackson

BaderAfter a lengthy dalliance with the world of fiction, albeit historical fiction in some instances, it was good to pick up a straightforward biography that told the life story of one of the most famous figures in the world of aviation in the 20th century.

Straightforward and uncomplicated can sometimes mean a bit dull, but not always. Biography, as a genre, tends to suffer more than most genres from a slavish adherence to formulaic writing. When you’ve read a number, you quickly recognize the patterns, sometimes even predict the direction of the narrative itself.

This familiarity, however, can create its own comfort zone, just like the familiarity of your favourite armchair that beckons at the end of a busy day.

Robert Jackson’s Douglas Bader: a biography is the product of a career military historian who, at the tender age of 28, became a full-time writer, specializing in aviation and military history. Although this volume bears all the hallmarks of being written to a standard formula, its style and structure make it readily accessible and, like your favourite armchair, it is easy to relax into at the end of a busy day.


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on August 13, 2013, in Book reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. One of my favourite books as a child was ‘Heroes of Nowadays’ with a chapter on Bader. I was most impressed with the way (as I vaguely remember it) he bit his own legs off to escape from a burning plane, walked without sticks and played golf. He looked a bit like my grandfather – also a war veteran.

    • Yes, Bader was one of those war heroes that made Brits proud of their Britishness…..but then you discover that the Germans too had one or two ‘legless’ aviator heroes who shot dozens of enemy aircraft from the skies. The irony is that Bader became a close friend of one such German hero.

  2. I remember when I was a schoolgirl I watched a movie about “Tin legs Bader”, I think Kenneth Moore played the lead role. It had an impact on me as my dad was a pilot in the RAF so it was possible that the accident could have happened to him. Thankfully it didn’t.

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