Fire and Fury

Randall Hansen

When does war end…and slaughter begin?

Date Published
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During World War II, Allied bombing obliterated every major German and Japanese city, killing approximately 400,000 Germans and 330,00 Japanese, the vast majority civilians. Fully 83,000 British, Commonwealth, and American airmen lost their lives, as well. A large number of these raids occurred when Allied victory was assured.

Fire and Fury asks why.

Based on extensive archival sources, interviews with bombing survivors, airmen, and published first-hand accounts, the book looks at the bombing campaign from an avowedly human perspective – Allied, German and Japanese. It recreates the experience of living through the death of a city. It presents the complex personalities of the senior airmen, and explores why bombing campaigns that seem so excessive seventy-five years later seemed reasonable, to many, at the time.

Fire and Fury explains why those campaigns became so murderous so late in the war. And it asks, with the full benefits of time’s passing, whether it was all worth it.


Randall Hansen is Director of the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies and a Chair in Politics at the University of Toronto. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at Nuffield College, a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, and a Tutorial Fellow at Merton College Oxford, where he ran the PPE school. He has held visiting fellowships at UCLA, the…

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