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HERE, at last, is the full, authentic story of a young man of thirty-eight who has become a double-legend in half a lifetime. For the extraordinary R.A.F. career of Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, which won him the V.C., a triple D.S.O., and the D.F.C. with Bomber Command during the Second World War has been complemented since by his single-minded missionary zeal as a Christian on behalf of the chronic sick. But if the name and fame of Leonard Cheshire have reached the ears of millions, the man behind the legend has remained something of an enigma-a source of inspiration to those who accept with no mental reservations the repeated tales of his exploits, a source of irritation to others who suspect the cult of living heroes. In this definitive biography, both groups will find for the first time a convincing answer to the riddle of Cheshire's character.

The author, Andrew Boyle, was a close personal friend of several years' standing. His intimate knowledge of the man himself has been supplemented by a mass of original and hitherto unpublished material to which he was given free access. This has enabled him not only to establish in detail the daring tactical genius of his subject but to show as nobody else has done the revolutionary contribution of one man to the knocking out of vital enemy targets in the air prelude to D-day by the perfection of low-level marking and pinpoint bombing.

Many inaccuracies which until now have been accepted with the Cheshire legend are summarily disposed of. The most notable is the romantic assumption that his last war- time mission to Nagasaki as the Prime Minister's special observer suddenly opened his eyes to the horrors of warfare and marked the decisive spiritual turning point of his life. Andrew Boyle shows that the atomic bomb had almost exactly the opposite effect on Cheshire's complex mind.
hardcover 1957 Please click here to ask a question
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  • Seller location: Waitakere, Auckland, NZ

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