The Few: The American "Knights of the Air" Who Risked Everything to Save Britain in the Summer of 1940

by Alex Kershaw

Paperback, 2007




Da Capo Press (2007), Edition: Reprint, 360 pages


The Few tells the dramatic and unforgettable story of eight young Americans who joined Britain's Royal Air Force, defying their country's neutrality laws and risking their U.S. citizenship to fight side-by-side with England's finest pilots in the summer of 1940-over a year before America entered the war. Flying the lethal and elegant Spitfire, they became "knights of the air" and with minimal training but plenty of guts, they dueled the skilled and fearsome pilots of Germany's Luftwaffe. By October 1940, they had helped England win the greatest air battle in the history of aviation. Winston Churchill once said of all those who fought in the Battle of Britain, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." These daring Americans were the few among the "few." Now, with the narrative drive and human drama that made The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter national bestsellers, Alex Kershaw tells their story for the first time.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member damcg63
This was a great story about the Battle of Britain, but with a narrow lens. It bounces around a bit, which gets a little confusing, but is not difficult to follow. The story is really fascinating. A unique story of bravery and sacrifice and a lot of work went into it. I suspect it pales in comparison to the overall sacrifice to the RAF and the British people, though. Worth a read.… (more)
LibraryThing member stonesis
A fabulous story of Americans who broke the law to volunteer for the English and French before the Americans joined the fight. The excerpts from uncensored diaries and letters alone make this book worth reading.
LibraryThing member jamespurcell
Stonesis captured the essence quite nicely in their review
LibraryThing member xenchu
Of the seven Americans who fought in the Battle of Brittain only one survived the war. They had to give up American citizenship to join the RAF. Most of them had to struggle just to get to England. It tells not only their stories but part of the stories of their English compatriots an that of their German enemy.

It is a fairly quick read with a nice bibliography, good photographs and airplane illustrations. They were men to be proud of and to cherish as countrymen. They stood beside the best and fought their country's battle before their country knew it had a battle. I recommend this book.… (more)
LibraryThing member buffalogr
This was an excellent read about "The Few" Americans that joined Great Britain to fly and fight against the Nazi's before America joined the WWII. Kershaw adds depth by including not only the American experience but also the accounts of the British and German pilots. The book contains many individuals and it's hard to keep them all straight. Yet, Kershaw's research was marvelous.… (more)
LibraryThing member Luftwaffe_Flak
Excellent book, writing flows and reads like a novel. Kershaw does an excellent job of telling the struggle of not only the British but the Americans who volunteered to fly and fight with them.
LibraryThing member JesperCFS2
Mr. Kershaws words read by Scott Brick is not a bad combination, not a bad combination at all.


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