The Longest Night by Gavin Mortimer

The Longest Night

The Longest Night reveals the untold story of the horrific bombing raid that almost brought Britain to military collapse - using extensive survivors' testimony and previously classified documents to reveal just how close the Luftwaffe came to total victory. This vivid, dramatically told account depicts how fate shifted based on Hitler's mistaken belief that he'd actually lost the air war over Britain - and portrays the unsurpassed, "we-can-take-i...

Details The Longest Night

TitleThe Longest Night
Release DateOct 3rd, 2006
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, War, World War II

Reviews The Longest Night

  • Melissa McShane
    I finished this book exactly 75 years to the day after the events recorded. That was coincidence, but it did give the read a little more significance. This account of the most severe bombing London endured during the Blitz is told through the lives of its survivors, many of whom Mortimer interviewed. That gives it maybe too personal a touch, as he also recounts events through the eyes of people he couldn't possibly have met or known their thought...
  • Christie
    An engrossing account of the London blitz but as seen through the first responders, citizens and even those in the clergy. The citizens of London lived through night after night of bombing but found an inner strength to help them survive the loss and devastation. The personal accounts from so many of the survivors had a common theme of putting their fears aside and doing whatever they could to help out others in need of comfort, aide and support....
  • ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀
    Not bad, with lots of numbers and a long, boring, pointless account of a football match. There are some interesting stories here, including the memories of an actor from Fawlty Towers, however, there are a number books about the blitz that are far more compelling.
  • Blake Bouza
    The idea that the Blitz happened is always something I've known, but I wanted to UNDERSTAND it. I wanted to understand how people could live every day lives while bombs fell around them every night, friends and neighbors dying all around you, never sure if you're next or will make it to the next holiday. I expected this book to be informative, but I didn't expect it to be beautiful. Mr. Mortimer does a fantastic job highlighting the horrors of th...
  • Colleen
    A good POV book about the Blitz on this particular night, and really this night only for the most part. I recently saw a documentary about the Second Great Fire of London which was on Dec 29, 1940 and this book doesn't really reference earlier attacks much. It is totally centered around the experience of 24 people around London on May 10, 1941 and it's a very interesting read. Definitely made me wish I had asked my grandmother more about her WW2 ...
  • Tobias
    An amazing book which granularises the history of the blitz by zooming into a single night of May 10th 1941 - the worst night of the blitz. It tells the story of a hundred or so people scattered across the capital on that night and the gritty and horrific details of the bombs and fires they experienced. There is also memoirs from the Germans bombers and British fighter pilots who took part. The blitz as a whole has since become part of the subcon...
  • Marc
    Wow! Detailed is right. The author buried me in the minutae of the many people he tracks over that longest night. I knew a bit about the challenge that the Blitz represented but I had no idea really. But having said that, I'm not sure after about Chapter 14, how much more of the details were actually necessary to make the point. It just seemed to go on and on, one building fire after another, all more or less the same: incendiaries, fires everywh...
  • Elizabeth Gibbs
    It took some time to get into this book, but once I did, I was hooked. There was a lot of detail, which at times was overwhelming, but there were plenty of stories about individuals that made up for it. While the description of the devestation of London was horrifying, the most haunting part for me was the epilogue - so many people were there in London, helping others through the chaos, fear, and unknown future, and yet many of them have passed o...
  • Gerry Welsch
    Must admit I eventually had to skim many chapters. I am very interested in this topic but the presentation of the material was somewhat repetitive and boring. Book would benefit greatly from inclusion of maps for readers not familiar with all neighborhoods and landmarks. Photos of people mentioned were marginally compelling. More photos of areas impacted by bombing would be better.
  • Nancy
    very interesting...wish I knew London better to better understand the places he talked about.
  • Nancy
    Unlike Blitz, which centered almost entirely on the ordinary British citizen living in London at the time of the German attack, The Longest Night is largely about the responders -- the firemen, wardens, airmen and watchers who tried to protect London from destruction. It is breath-taking reading, but nearly impossible to completely comprehend how the reader would feel faced with the same circumstances as words are inadequate to convey this human ...
  • Jane
    This book I read last year on holiday- yes for me this was a great holiday read.I enjoyed the build up to the blitz during the time frame 10-11 may 1941. The focus was of the lives of the people that this timeframe were involved - Germans in their fighter planes planning and getting ready for the raid, the civilian people who were on firewatch, fire service, ARP wardens etc, and of course the ordinary people of London who got caught up in one of ...
  • Graceann
    Please see my detailed review at Amazon Graceann's "Longest Night" Review"Overall, Longest Night was a disappointment. I live in the neighborhood described, and the descriptions were so scattershot and vague that I found myself constantly referring to a London A-Z Guide to get my bearings. My husband, who has lived here for 15 years, had similar problems, and he has a much better sense of direction than I. I'm still glad I read it for the eyewitn...
  • Barbara Mader
    Apparently forgot to add this one--read in August, I think. This book tells the personal stories of a number of people who were in London that night--what it was like out in the streets, inside in the shelters, how things were afterward. Most mind-boggling to me was the matter-of-fact descriptions of the firefighters who were out all over the city trying to put out fires during the incessant bombing, including the struggles to access water. Also ...
  • Sandeep Chopra
    There is no doubt that the book has been in exhaustively researched and is very comprehensive. I however feel that the author could have cut down on the number of people he was following (and making us follow) in the book. Due to their sheer number, the book has had to compromise on the characters of these people, which somehow leaves the reader with a little more to be desired. This is a book about a very important and tragic historic event and,...
  • Trenchologist
    Plays out something like a documentary, interweaving the events through personal experience, including victims on the ground, police & firewatch brigades, British air fighters, Germans command and their bombers. Gives a true sense of the weary pragmatism Londoners had adopted by this time and how, in this one night of such an intense, brutal blitzing, that pragmatism was jarred back to life, despair and ire. Fast, intelligent read that has you ra...
  • Daisy
    As an American, I am ashamed to say, that I was never taught about the heroism, sacrifice, and horror our Allies in Great Britain (and especially in this case Londoners) faced during World War II. In a nine month period over 16,000 civilians died during the London Blitz. This book tells the story of the worst night of the Blitz, May 10th-11th of 1941 - the night that London burned. I highly recommend this book - especially to my fellow Americans ...
  • Valerie
    This tells the story of the near destruction that London took from the Germans on May 10-11, 1941. What makes this story exceptional is that it is mostly told from the participants' perspective. Gavin Mortimer does not discuss any military strategy. This is not a scholarly history. However, if you are interested in seeing how the people of London reacted during this horrific time, then this is the book for you.
  • Wendy
    I think maybe the author introduced too many people's stories. I couldn't keep them straight so I stopped trying. Maybe if he had fewer people with more detailed stories I would have liked it more. The Blitz sounds horrifying but I don't think this book reflected how bad it could be. Or how good the people reacted.
  • John
    This book follows a number of characters and places before, during and after what is described as the worst night of the London Blitz. It was quite good and very detailed. I have to admit that I skimmed part of the middle bit only because all the bombing and fires got a bit repetitive.
  • Lisa of Hopewell
    Very interesting account of one night of the Blitz using personal stories. One lamentable [but small:] editing error has George VI marrying Queen Elizabeth 4 years before the Blitz--obviously this was meant to refer to their Coronation--not wedding!
  • Jeff
    It's a walk through London, May 10, 1941.
  • Richard
    The May 10, 1941 bombing of London. Not much to it.
  • Ken French
    Very detailed telling of the worst night of the Blitz. The multiple POVs add a lot.
  • Julia Ross
    Great storytelling, but there were a lot of names to remember!
  • John
    Interesting view of one day - the worst day - in the London Blitz. Enjoyed the read but was difficult to follow because of the constant jumping from story line to story line.
  • Marcia
    Interested in how writers restrict history. This is one night in one city. Very dramatic and riveting.
  • Jeffrey
    A good read about the night London was bombed on May 10 1941.