The book was already being worked on when the author was approached by the BBC to produce a related theme for a history programme, hence the programme and book sharing the same name. The programme was aired on BBC 1 in late 1983 and the book launched in early 1984.
The book (ISBN 978-0850596786) tells of the day-to-day activities on bomber stations between 1939 and 1945, where the author had researched his material meticulously. It draws extensively on reminiscences from surviving crew members who served such as at Waddington, Scampton, Skellingthorpe, Binbrook, Fiskerton, Bardney, Woodhall Spa, and many other bomber stations.
The book also recalls the stories of those that didn't make it or were shot down over enemy territory. A routine flight from Skellingthorpe that turned into a nightmare, and memories of raids on Nuremberg, Düsseldorf and Hamburg, where airmen watched their comrades shot out of the sky by a barrage of deadly enemy flak, all go to paint a picture of what being an airman based in wartime England, was really like.
The book was also the basis for a BBC television programme of the same title, which plots the history and present conditions of seven RAF and USAF airfields in the East Midlands. Bruce Barrymore Halpenny scripted the programme and merged wartime film footage with up-to-date shots. Film cameraman was Dick Kursa, Film Editor was John Rosser and Producer Mike Derby.
First shown on BBC1 at 10.15pm on 11 February 1983, the TV listing read: "To Shatter the Sky, A History of Seven Airfields of the East Midlands. Military historian and author Bruce Halpenny has written a history of seven Royal Air Force and USAF bases in the east midlands. From the deserted airfield in the forest to the modern jet terminal, he traces the part they played in the air war over Europe and their use today."
- To Shatter the Sky: Bomber Airfield at War - Book Review by Martin Bensley - The Standard - Friday, 20 April 1984 pages 16-17
- War Life on bomber stations in county - Lincolnshire Echo - Monday, 9 April 1984
- Don't miss Barry's TV take off - Front page - The Standard - Friday, 11 November 1983
- BBC1 - TV Guide - The Daily Mail - Friday, 11 November 1983