The First Day of the Blitz September 7, 1940 Peter Stansky

Publication date:
15 Sep 2008
Yale University Press
224 pages: 197 x 127mm
16 b-w illus.
Sales territories:
World excluding Australia and New Zealand

In the first terrifying hours of the London Blitz, when the skies rained bombs from hundreds of German planes, the British people were galvanized and the nation’s future was changed 

On September 7, 1940, the long-feared and anticipated attack by the German Luftwaffe plunged London into a cauldron of fire and devastation. This compelling book recreates that day in all its horror, using rich archival sources and first-hand accounts, many never before published. Eminent historian Peter Stansky weaves together the stories of people who recorded their experiences of the opening hours of the Blitz. Then, exploring more deeply, the author examines what that critical day meant to the nation at the time, and what it came to mean in following years. Much of the future of Britain was determined in the first twelve hours of bombing, Stansky contends. The Blitz set in motion a range of responses that contributed to ultimate victory over Germany and to a transformation of British society. The wave of terror, though designed to quash morale, instead inspired stoicism, courage, and a new camaraderie. The tragic London bombing can reveal much of relevance to our own violent times, Stansky concludes: both the effectiveness of modern terror and its ultimate failure are made powerfully clear by the events of September 7, 1940.

Peter Stansky is Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University.

"There is no shortage of books about the Blitz, but Peter Stansky’s is up there with the best." —John O’Connell, Time Out