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Publisher's Summary

A definitive new edition of a classic memoir, published in association with the RAF Museum, complete with notes from leading historians. 

Guy Gibson was the leader of the famous Dambusters raid and Enemy Coast Ahead is a vivid, honest account, widely regarded as one of the best books on World War II. It is also an insider's account that sets down in clear, honest detail the challenges that the RAF faced in the war against Germany's Luftwaffe. 

Tragically, Gibson died in September 1944, when his Mosquito crashed near Steenbergen in the Netherlands. He was aged just 26. This new book has been published to mark the 75th anniversary of his death and includes an introduction by James Holland, a historian and broadcaster, and notes by Dr. Robert Owen, the Official Historian of the No. 617 Squadron Association.

©2019 Guy Gibson (P)2020 Greenhill Books

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What listeners say about Enemy Coast Ahead

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Gripping story but let down by poor narration

Great first hand account of RAF bomber activity in WWII up to May 1943, and the completion of the dams raid. A grand account, full of colour and whimsy, let down by a somewhat poor and dour narrative effort.

Mispronunciation of raid destinations is constant and he often seems to run short of breath toward the end of sentences.

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  • John
  • 04-01-2021

Great story badly read

Gibson’s account of air fighting in WW2 is authentic and fascinating, especially his account of the preparation and execution of the Dams raid.

Unfortunately it is rather let down by the monotonous delivery of the reader who didn’t even bother to learn to pronounce the names of the targets correctly. If ever there is a new recording of Winnie the Pooh, he would make a great voice for Eeyore!

That said, the book is well worth getting for the content alone!

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  • B Taub
  • 10-09-2020

I was wrong! This is actually a really good story!

Having just finished OPERATION CHASTISE, by Max Hastings, where he lauds ENEMY COAST AHEAD, I was worried that I missed something in this book in my earlier review, which found this book lacking excitement. I'm re-listening to it now and really enjoying it. Not sure what was distracting me on my first listen but now I realize that Gibson provides an engaging month by month, hands-on view of how Britain's bomber war changed over the course of the war. There's a ton to learn here and Gibson's dry sense of humor comes through in places.

So, here is a revised review...
The book provides some interesting perspective from a pilot who was there at the time. Guy Gibson is, of course, more than just a pilot, he was the celebrated leader of the 617 squadron, the Dam Busters. Quick thoughts...
- I didn't realize that Gibson spent time flying night fighters. That was an interesting part of this book.
- Good perspective on early war bomber command
- Gibson's first hand account of the dams raid was quite good, and the way he opened the book with the approach to that raid was really well written (given that opening, it seemed to me that he was a really good writer. It was fascinating that, because this book was written during the war and the bouncing bomb was a military secret, Gibson never actually mentions that the bombs skipped along the water when dropped. James Holland's recent book on the dams raid provides a lot more detail and overall excitement about that raid.
- Perhaps one of the weakest parts of this presentation was the narration. I really appreciate the time that narrators put into doing their work for us and this one seemed engaged and professional. The problem was that his speaking style is almost monotonous. It was easy, therefore, for my mind to wander.
- Gibson ends with the dams raid but doesn't cover his career thereafter (He was killed on a mission a year or so afterward)

BTW, OPERATION CHASTISE provides some different perspective on Gibson. He was a hero but, as many are, a flawed one. I'd recommend listening to the two books sequentially (order doesn't really matter).

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  • rascallybear
  • 21-10-2020

Terrible Narrator

Interesting to hear Guy Gibson's own words, but probably the worst choice of narrator I've ever heard. Not just doesn't sound right, he mispronounces too many terms. A shame, because the narration destroys the book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • YorkshireCandidate
  • 30-12-2020

Wonderful Book Totally Ruined By The Narrator

This is a wonderful and interesting book writen by a special man.

I've the read book many times and it's a real page turner.

...but where on earth did they get the narrator from? He sounds like he's reading from a book in a school english class and he's only doing so because the teacher forced him to.

He's not so much boring as bored, can't be bothered, wishes he could be somewhere else.

You know Ferris Bueller's teacher - the one who says "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? - This is him.

Please someone, re-record this with a narrator that can be bothered - the book deserves better

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-08-2020

Written by a hero who soon too to give his life

A poignant read. Written by a young leader who within a year was to give his own life. No review could ever do this book, this author, justice. Highly recommended

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  • S Hawkins
  • 14-02-2021

Great story exceptionally dull reader.

Good story, which sheds some light on the true Guy Gibson. This audio book for me is let down by the dull monotone narrator. if you have trouble sleeping or struggle to hear lower tones, this book is not for you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Greenslade
  • 31-12-2020

excellent book. completely unsuitable narrator.

an excellent book written by one of my childhood heroes but absolutely ruined by the choice of narrator. if ever a book needed to be recorded it's this one.

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  • Annie
  • 14-12-2020

Excellent Story, not so the narrator

Narrator sounded bored, monotonous , German place names mispronounced. Spoiled the book completely, very disappointed,

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-07-2022

Disappointing

I hate to agree with others but the narration really lets the content of this book right down. It just sounds so dull.

The information and background into Bomber Command is really interesting, as is the story of Gibson. Very glad I listened but please re-record!

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  • Martin Pearce
  • 26-06-2022

No idea why it took me so long to download this book!

So glad I finally got round to listening to enemy coast ahead … so interesting to hear it mid war. Now I’ve listened I believe the film is a very faithful recreation. As for the narrator - I had been put off before by negative reviews but to be honest I thought he was alright, the odd mispronunciation but I liked the laid back style (a bit like the narration of First Light)
and glad it wasn’t stuffy English.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-06-2022

narrator killed this book!

who ever chose this bloke to narrate this war time classic must deaf.

He killed what is otherwise an excellant story.

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  • M. McGuirk
  • 13-06-2022

Ice Cold Courage

I had to listen to this audio book, Guy Gibson was a household name in my youth and of course I’m very familiar with the film. I’ve also past his home off the Edgeware Road and read and reread the info on the blue plaque that graces the wall of his house.
I also have memories of drunken RAF airmen pretending to fly arms extended around the Naafi whilst humming the theme tune to the Dam busters. This book was great a record of cold blooded courage in almost suicidal situations. I have even more respect for these airmen.
The ending of the book was a record of the Dam buster Mission, but at the end of the book I was left hanging. We all know he was killed in action, and I was hoping we would have an explanation of his heroic end. I revised edition filling in this gap in his story is well overdue.

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