28 Bunkers

Written by Elizabeth Braun
Review by Christoph Fischer

28 Bunkers by Elizabeth Braun is an immaculately researched WWII drama about the Allied bombings of Ludwigshafen, an industrial city in Germany. Told in separate narratives, it describes the war and the Allied bombing of the city from the perspective of a German family in the city, and that of some Allied troops, particularly that of Ray Powell, an American who volunteered to serve as a pilot in the RAF.

Historically the book gives a lot of insight, from army training to life in the attacked city. The author has clearly done an enormous amount of research, which shows on every page of the book with overwhelming detail.

The individual storylines are very helpful to get an idea of what life would have been like on both sides of the fence. The characters, especially the German family, are drawn well, with a focus on the irrationality of war, rather than painting a purely black and white picture. I fell for charming little Emilie, the young daughter of a German doctor, in particular. However, not all of the characters were fleshed out as much as I would have liked, which made some of them a little lifeless or predictable. Maybe the cover could be more inspiring? The fictional narrative probably could have had a little more editing, but I enjoyed the book for its historical value and would recommend it for that reason.