Defiant: Forgotten Heroes of the Battle of Britain (Paperback)
  • Defiant: Forgotten Heroes of the Battle of Britain (Paperback)
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Defiant: Forgotten Heroes of the Battle of Britain (Paperback)

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Paperback 384 Pages / Published: 03/06/2021
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'Robert Verkaik makes a revisionist case for an unsung aircraft, the Boulton Paul Defiant. This two-seat gun-turret fighter is, argues Verkaik, the forgotten fighter of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain; the effectiveness as well as the courage of its crews is overlooked in standard accounts. To advance his case, he notes that a Defiant squadron still holds the record for the number of enemy aircraft shot down in a single day, with a claimed figure of 38'

Times

'Robert Verkaik tells the story of the Battle of Britain's unlikeliest hero with verve and phenomenal grasp of detail. He brings the Defiant fighter back into focus as an important part of the victorious RAF in the hour of its greatest trial'

Mark Urban

'Meticulously researched and rich in human and social as well as military interest, Defiant fills a crucial gap in our understanding of that most perilous time'

David Kynaston, author of Austerity Britain

'Firmly establishes the aircraft's role in those crucial aerial battles of 1940 and elevates the brave aircrews who fought and died in their forgotten Defiants, to rank alongside their comrades in the better remembered Hurricanes and Spitfires.'

David Fairhead, director of Spitfire

'Verkaik is an excellent guide, making his case with a restrained passion, taking us through the inter-war rearmament before cataloguing the muddled thinking, the political infighting, the inter-service and personality rivalries. His research was clearly a labour of love, leaving no Whitehall paper or airman's letter unturned in his search for the truth, and he never forgets the human dimension behind the losses'

Simon Humphreys, Mail on Sunday, five stars

'Defiant is both a stirring testament to the courage of the men who flew them and a welcome new examination of one of the Second World War's most famous conflicts'

Alexander Larman, Observer

In this startling new perspective on the Battle of Britain, Robert Verkaik reveals the surprising truth about the battle's forgotten fighter, the Boulton Paul Defiant.

The crucial role played by the Spitfire and the Hurricane has been exhaustively recorded, but, to date, next to nothing has been written about the third British fighter which took part in the battle. By writing from the unique perspective of the pilots who flew the Defiant and their air-gunners, Verkaik helps to set the record straight.

The Air Staff regarded the Defiant as a state-of-the-art bomber destroyer and wanted to equip a third of all Fighter Command squadrons with this new plane. But the head of Fighter Command, Hugh Dowding, had other ideas and went to war with Whitehall o

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9781472143549
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 320 g
Dimensions: 196 x 126 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
From the corridors of the Air Ministry to the skies over Dunkirk, Robert Verkaik tells the story of the Battle of Britain's unlikeliest hero with verve and phenomenal grasp of detail. He brings the Defiant fighter back into focus as an important part of the victorious RAF in the hour of its greatest trial. -- Mark Urban
In Defiant, Robert Verkaik has achieved the impossible - resurrecting the reputation of one of World War Two's worst remembered fighter planes. Unwanted, unloved and rushed into service, the Defiant nevertheless turns out to have achieved far more success in combat than has been previously acknowledged. This is mainly down to the brilliance of the officers who commanded the two operational squadrons and whose record Verkaik rightly praises. This book firmly establishes the aircraft's role in those crucial aerial battles of 1940 and elevates the brave aircrews who fought and died in their forgotten Defiants, to rank alongside their comrades in the better remembered Hurricanes and Spitfires. -- David Fairhead, director of Spitfire
Verkaik is an excellent guide, making his case with a restrained passion, taking us through the inter-war rearmament before cataloguing the muddled thinking, the political infighting, the inter-service and personality rivalries. His research was clearly a labour of love, leaving no Whitehall paper or airman's letter unturned in his search for the truth, and he never forgets the human dimension behind the losses. -- Simon Humphreys * Mail on Sunday *
Defiant is both a stirring testament to the courage of the men who flew them and a welcome new examination of one of the Second World War's most famous conflicts. -- Alexander Larman * Observer *

Praise for Jihadi John:
An exemplary account . . . The book's most important contribution is to highlight the difficulties faced by the intelligence services . . . a first-class primer on Muslim extremism in Britain.

* Sunday Times *

Praise for Jihadi John:
Verkaik gives a fascinating if frightening picture of the jihadists in our midst.

* Mail on Sunday *

Praise for Jihadi John:
An outstanding pulling together of the fractured career of one of the most notorious terrorist psychopathic killers of this or any other age. The book is exceptional because its author makes no false claims for what he doesn't know and never confuses explanation with explaining away . . . [an] excellent and thought-provoking book.

* Evening Standard *

Praise for Jihadi John:
A riveting and compelling portrait of Mohammed Emwazi on his journey to the heart of darkness.


Meticulously researched and rich in human and social as well as military interest, Defiant fills a crucial gap in our understanding of that most perilous time. -- David Kynaston, author of Austerity Britain

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