Books: Distant Glory

THE GREATEST RAID OF ALL (270 pp.)—C. E. Lucas Phillips—Atlantic-Little, Brown ($4.95).

It began as an air raid—keening sirens, baleful searchlights, great gouts of tracer bullets spewing into the treacherous sky. But few bombs fell. Overhead, the British planes merely circled and then fled. What were those damned English up to?

The nervous Nazi garrison at St. Nazaire got its answer soon enough. In the wake of the hit-and-run bombers that ominous night in March 1942, a motley armada ghosted in across the broad tidal flats of the Loire estuary. Thin-skinned motor launches flicked...

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