Aircraft of the Second World War
The Development of the Warplane 1939-45.
This book was first published in 1997 and Putnam are to be congratulated for their decision to make it available once more so that enthusiasts who missed the opportunity the first time round can make up for that error. Essentially a compendium of essays each written by an author who is well established in his field. For once areas generally neglected in histories of aviation development receive due consideration. The role of engine development by both the allies and the Axis powers is discussed both in terms of the similarities and the differences. Scientists and engineers in all countries appreciated the necessity of increasing speed, manoeuvrability and firepower whilst retaining a balance between these and other factors in order to gain or retain an edge over the "other side". The essays show that, in common with war on the ground and at sea, gains in technology were worth more in terms of final victory (or defeat) than any of the sacrifices made by individuals.
It should be noted that there is a little crossover between some of the essays. However as each is written in its author's own style and from differing points of view the repeating of a few points is hardly noticeable at all. Illustrated by a collection of photographs that, in many respects, differ from those normally seen. Not just in terms of the details illustrated but the fact that the standard planes of the countries involved (the Spitfire, Bf109, Mustang, Zero, etc) are joined by some of the less well-known examples of development. In addition there are number of fine illustrations of engines, etc little seen outside the most specialised of publications. Last but not least mention must be made of the excellent line drawings scattered throughout the book. Taken as a whole this book is as well illustrated as any I have seen on aircraft in World War 2.
Is the book perfect then? The answer has to be no, if only because no book can ever be perfect, but it does come reasonably close. Quibbles might include the fact that no attempt has been made to bring any of the essays "up to date" by including information not known when the originals were written. Another would be to suggest that the bibliographies could have been updated to include works written since 1997. Some by the authors included here. These are however minor in relation to the overall quality of the work. A particularly fine example of Putnam's excellent publications. Recommended with enthusiasm.
photographs and line drawings
ISBN: 0 85177 875 5
270 x 200 mm
£35.00 [approx $56.35]
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