Bomber County by Daniel Swift
The Poetry of a Lost Pilot's War

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It’s a pleasure to walk through this verse with Swift. His tone is serious but open, and scholarly but solicitous of the general reader’s ability to unpack sometimes dense poems.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

In early June 1943, James Eric Swift, a pilot with the 83rd Squadron of the Royal Air Force, boarded his Lancaster bomber for a night raid on Münster and disappeared.

Widespread aerial bombardment was to the Second World War what the trenches were to the First: a shocking and new form of warfare, wretched and unexpected, and carried out at a terrible scale of loss. Just as the trenches produced the most remarkable poetry of the First World War, so too did the bombing campaigns foster a haunting set of poems during the Second.

In researching the life of his grandfather, Daniel Swift became engrossed with the connections between air war and poetry. Ostensibly a narrative of the author's search for his lost grandfather through military and civilian archives and in interviews conducted in the Netherlands, Germany, and England, Bomber County is also an examination of the relationship between the bombing campaigns of World War II and poetry, an investigation into the experience of bombing and being bombed, and a powerful reckoning with the morals and literature of a vanished moment.

 

About Daniel Swift

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Daniel Swift has written for Bookforum, The New York Times Book Review, and The Times Literary Supplement.
 
Published August 17, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 316 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Oct 22 2010

It’s a pleasure to walk through this verse with Swift. His tone is serious but open, and scholarly but solicitous of the general reader’s ability to unpack sometimes dense poems.

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