Best Book on Aerial Warfare

Discussion in 'Books and Films' started by Gage, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Off the beaten track but one of my interests is airborne radar and electronics and I would recommend:

    Confound And Destroy: 100 Group And The Bomber Support Campaign - Martin Streetly
    The History of the Air Intercept Radar and the British Nightfighter 1935-1959 Ian White
    Echoes of War: Story of H2S Radar Sir Bernard Lovell
    Confounding the Reich: The RAF's Secret War of Electronic Countermeasures in World War II Martin Bowman
    Night Fighter Rawnsley & Wright
  2. Gage

    Gage New Member

    Another one off the beaten track and one that maybe should(n't) be here is :- 'A WAAF in Bomber Command by Pip Beck.'
    One of the first books I read. :oops:
  3. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Fix, I have Charlwood's classic. Recently picked it up at a secondhand bookstore but have yet to read it. It will be interesting to compare it to David Scholes' Air War Diary which I read recently. Have you read Charlwood's follow-up: Journeys into Night?

    Recently saw reference to Terror in the Starboard Seat in Martin Bowman's latest Mossie book. Given the adventures of the crew (American pilot, IIRC), it should be a good read.
  4. fixel101

    fixel101 Guest

    Hi, Andy: No, haven't got to Don's follow-up, yet. Over the holidays I've had ample opportunity to learn of a bevy of books I must add to my WWII airwar library (which I thought was extensive, >2,000 books) - several I've learned of from this forum. Can you kindly provide a bit of information regarding Don Scholes' book? It sounds interesting. Two others that I need to purchase are "Night After Night" (New Zealander focus on the airwar, and of course, can't remember the full title), and "Voice from the Stars or Sky, a Pathfinder's Story" by Scotland (again, I'm writing from memory and am a bit sketchy, especially with a few brews and watching American 'football'). I also missed Mayhill's "Bombs on Target." I have a great interest in Bomber Command.

    Here's one for you: "Boys, Bombs and Brussel Sprouts" by Doug Harvey I believe. Canadian lads in Bomber Command flying Mark II Lancs (Hercules powerplants). Nice book.

    Finally, I love Oz and have spent a lot of time in Perth, Freemantle and environs. Beautiful country and people. I've explored the wine country south of Perth, to Cape Leeuwin (Margaret River) and over to Albany. I just learned a while back that Albany was the jump off point for WWI Aussies.

    Cheerio, Fix
  5. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair New Member

    Hi All,

    What a thread!.....though I did expect a fairly enthusiastic response to the posted question.

    Two of my favourites are;

    "Enemy Coast Ahead - uncensored" by Guy Gibson.

    "Duel of Eagles" by Peter Townsend.

    Did I mention 'Down to Earth' by Squadron K.B. McGlashan AFC and......:bounce:


  6. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Hi Fix. Don Scholes' Air War Diary is subtitled An Australian in Bomber Command although several references on Amazon list it as Bombay Command which always makes me chuckle. It is a good read, very well edited by the author and consists of his diary entries from leaving Australia through to his time on ops. Very candid. As I said earlier in this thread when I listed it as my current read, Scholes is well known in Australia as a fly fishing author.

    I met Tom Scotland in the first half of 2008 just before I moved east (was living in Perth but previously lived in Manjimup and Bunbury for 6.5 years so know Margaret River area very well). He's very sprightly and was surprised that someone my age (32, 31 at the time) was interested in what he'd done. The book is a good read and well illustrated not just with photos but also cartoons drawn by one of his crew. He served with 614 Sqn in 205 Group in Italy and did more than 60 Pathfinder trips. The title is Voice from the Stars and refers to a couple moments of clarity he had while on ops that had a major bearing on his life to date. Lots of training over WA too so some familiar territory for you!

    Haven't come across Harvey's book before. Sounds interesting. Have had some good chats with an Aussie mid-upper gunner on Mk II Lancs who served with 514 Sqn. The only Canadian Bomber Command book I have, from memory, is A Thousand Shall Fall by Peden.

    Excellent memorials on top of the hills in Albany that overlook the harbour where our Gallipoli and beyond ANZACs left from. For many, it was the last of Australia they would see.
  7. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Bloody hell, can't believe I didn't mention it! Sorry, Owen.

    Here's the thread for another excellent book I read last year:
  8. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Max Lambert's Night After Night - New Zealanders in Bomber Command is brilliant.
  9. Gage

    Gage New Member

    Hey, Owen, what's the difference between the censored and the uncensored version?
  10. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair New Member

    Hi Gage,

    Originally published in 1946, it was carefully cut by wartime censors.


  11. fixel101

    fixel101 Guest

    Andy: Embarassingly, I have Don Scholes' book, and read it a few years back. I will need to revisit it soon. Many of my read, older volumes are beginning to melange into a fuzzy tapestry. Next to Don's paperback was "G for George," and "Flying Backward," two Aussie bomber command books in my collection. I'm 55 and have been reading for quite some time, ergo my flimsy recollection of some of them. It seems the most recent are also the best! Makes sense, eh?

    I have Geoffrey Morley-Mower's video from the last Reading, Pennsylvania, WWII Weekend, possibly 2006. I've watched it a few times - what a narrative. I met Geoff via my role as coordinator of the Weekends' Speaker series. What a bevy of folks I've had the honor to meet. How much work would it be to dump my video collection onto this site? Many of them were taken by my friend, whose approval I would need, but they should be shared by history buffs the world over.

  12. fixel101

    fixel101 Guest

    All, as I'm sitting in my office winding down, I am thinking about additional, memorable reads. Doug Alcorn's "From Hell to Breakfast" comes to mind - it's a must for those interested in the application of turbinlight (or turbinlite) Boston's to the night airwar. I believe Doug ended up in Mossies. Anyway, a well-written book.

    Anyone ever give "Pitcher and the Well" a read. A bit of an esoteric volume as books go, but an interesting psychological delving into the wounded airman.

    Finally, a question: what is the quality of Boiten's new tome related to the Nachtjagd? Worth the effort as I was completely disappointed with his Schiffer book - I could only get to page 200 before I gave up, impeded by omnipresent grammatical and spelling gaffes. A bit of a shame, really, from such a quality writer.

  13. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair New Member

  14. Gage

    Gage New Member

    Do you know if there is a lot added? Is it worth re-reading?
  15. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Can't say I've read it - nor any other Luftwaffe books. But the guys on TOCH seem to think it is ok.

    I know it may seem strange to some but I find books about the other air forces don't hold my interest. I am happy to read about the RAF and commonwealth air forces but.....
  16. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    A couple of books worth reading, regarding the consquences of aerial warfare is The Reconstruction of Warriors: Archibald McIndoe, The Royal Air Force & the Guinea Pig Club and Shot Down in Flames
  17. Gage

    Gage New Member

    I've had 'Shot down in flames' sat in my book case for God knows how long and I still haven't read it.
  18. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    I read the Geoffrey Page book many years ago (library book - my two major memories from it are his use of a rubber ball to return strength to his hands and wanting to shoot down one German aircraft for every operation he had) and have had my own copy for 18 months now without reading it. Recently purchased The Reconstruction of Warriors and was thinking just yesterday that I'll read that next. It is a well put together book so I hope it reads well too.

    I'm the same with air forces beyond the Commonwealth although I do own a few USAAF and USN/USMC memoirs. Again, though, I just don't end up with the same feel but that's just me. Fortunately, we're not all the same otherwise it'd be a pretty boring world!
  19. fixel101

    fixel101 Guest

    I just completed Jim Wright's "The Flying Circus," conveying his wartime service with the 380th BG in the South Pacific. His B-24 squadron was based in Fenton, Australia, and a bit of the narrative focuses on Oz, so there is a bit of history for everyone. I found it to be very well-written, insightful, and highly entertaining (read in one sitting), the end of the the story brings us to the present day and how WWII infused the United States with some critical initiatives that aided in the reshaping of my country economically, socially, and morally. He is able to articulate what it was about WWII that paved the way for important change over the next two decades, terminating with LBJ's legislation related to civil rights. It ranks as one of the best, from one of the USA's great leaders. Thanks, Jim.

  20. Asking for a favorite book or film is kind of like asking a parent who is their favorite child. It's a loaded question of sorts.

    With books, it's easy to have a favorite until you read more on the same subject, and then the flaws and shortcomings of your "favorite" start to show. Sometimes, works contradict, which invites you to dig deeper. Suddenly, instead of a favorite book, there emerges a favorite body of work on a particular subject, where the works serve to support and bolster the collective knowledge stored therein.

    As for films, liking is more subjective, but again, it's hard to choose a favorite, because there is such a wide range of work.

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