If I’m asked to review a book, I usually hope it’s got something to do with a war. If I had to be more specific, I’d pick the Second World War. Then if you could add some kiwi flavour to it, I’d be chuffed. Hopefully you have worked out why I put my hand up for Max Lambert’s Victory.
No doubt many of you would have seen ‘Saving Private Ryan’ or watched the epic mini series ‘Band of Brothers’. Both are two of my favourite ‘historical’ pieces concerning the D-Day invasion. Both tell the story, with a bit of Hollywood license of course, of the epic battles surrounding the world changing events that began in June 1944.
What both productions sadly fail to mention is the huge role that the RNZAF played during that stage of the war. Our brave airmen were an essential piece of the entire puzzle. As with Lambert’s previous books on New Zealand soldier’s roles in World War Two, Night after Night and Day after Day, his latest book, Victory, aims to highlight just how important the RNZAF were for the final push. In fact the title sums up how important the RNZAF was for victory.
Lambert’s account of New Zealand’s involvement in the largest invasion the world has ever seen makes me wonder if he was actually there himself. He wasn’t, but the detailed accounts from New Zealand fliers who were, mean you shouldn’t expect a glamorous Steven Spielberg Hollywood account of D-Day. Victory is the real deal.
The RNZAF’s role during the build up to the invasion, the day of days itself and the subsequent disastrous “Market Garden” campaign are all expertly unpacked and credit finally given where it has been long overdue. Lambert gives us New Zealand’s point of view in the story of the final push to end the war.
To write a book about events now 70 years past is a huge undertaking. To do so with such detail and understanding is a credit to the writer and of course the ever-diminishing pool of veterans Lambert was able to interview.
This book stands as the third part to a complete history of the lengths New Zealand air force members went to in order to provide the freedom we have today. June 6th this year marks the 70th anniversary of a day that should never be forgotten. Lambert’s book Victory ensures the brave stories of our airmen will live on.