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By Clive James

'One stupendous starburst of untamed brilliance' SIMON SCHAMA 'Aphoristic and acutely provocative: a crash direction in civilization' J. M. COETZEE prepared from A via Z, and containing over a hundred essays, Cultural Amnesia is the final word consultant to the 20 th century. 'This is a gorgeous booklet. James proves himself not just to be in ownership of a towering mind, yet a novel skill to speak his passions' Observer 'Witty, insightful and unashamedly erudite, the e-book is a wonderful miscellany of 20th-century cultural and political subjects' The Sunday occasions 'Over the previous 40 years James has been scribbling notes within the margins of the books he has learn ...and this can be the end result. smart, contentious and funny' mum or dad 'An eclectic trip in the course of the twentieth century, as Clive James explores the careers of luminaries resembling Charles de Gaulle and Charlie

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Extra info for Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time

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The attack force included seven air divisions (206th, 214th, 289th, 291st, 228th, 267th and 227th) and two independent air regiments (208th and 637th), equipped with a total of 317 operational and 133 unserviceable Il-2s. Despite bad weather, the attack aircraft pilots fulfilled every mission tasking asked of them, providing efficient close air support to friendly ground troops. Soviet forces encircled the Sixth Field Army and units of 4th Panzer Army outside the city, leaving the enemy with little option but to keep these trapped units supplied with ammunition, fuel, food and medicines brought in by air.

Flying through a hail ofdefensive fire, the Il-2s attacked aircraft on the ground. During their second run they were attacked by 30 Bf 109s, which were in turn set upon by the Shturmovik 5 escort fighters. This distracted the German fighter pilots long enough for the 11-2s to attack the airfield. While aircraft from 686th ShAP were withdrawing, the Bf 109s struck again, downing regimental CO Maj Zotov on their first pass - he returned to his unit with a burned face five days later. Jnr Lt Kiselkov shot down two Bf 109s by employing a scissors manoeuvre, but a machine gun burst at point-blank range in turn damaged his 11-2.

Appearing over the base just as the German aircraft were preparing for a combat sortie, the Soviet attack pilots spotted around 50 He 111 and Ju 88 twin-engined bombers parked in large groups being refuelled from tankers. The Soviet aircraft came in at low-level with the sun behind them, and following their attack runs, the effectiveness of the Il-2s' bombing and strafing was confirmed by the crew of a reconnaissance aircraft that overflew the airfield immediately after the Shturmoviks. At least 20 German aircraft had been destroyed.

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