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The flood of newly published WWII-related books continuesthank goodness!to flow unabated, and many of the new books arrive here as review copies, including a great many heavily illustrated volumes about air operations, airmen, and aircraft. Here are some notes about four of the most recent arrivals in that genre.
Trojca, Waldemar. Junkers Ju 88, volume 1. Winnipeg: J. J. Fedorowicz Publishing Inc, 2002
Readers familiar with Trojca's books about armored fighting vehicles will find many similarities in his first volume on German aircraft. This book (with two more to come on the Ju 88) begins with fourteen pages of text describing the development of the Ju 88, versions Ju 88 A-0 through Ju 88 A-17 and Ju 88 H-1 through Ju 88 H-4 (with other versions to be covered in upcoming volumes), andespeciallydetails of the aircraft's many avionics systems, including at least a half dozen radar systems plus IFF devices, signal and meteorological buoys, rescue beacons, and target positioning transmitters. A further twenty pages of black and white photos illustrate much of what Trojca covers in his text. The heart of the book, however, comprises some forty pages of scale drawings of multiple versions of the Ju 88 and its various components. These pages are supplemented with a large poster included in the shrink-wrapped package with even more scale drawings. The book concludes with about eighteen pages of gorgeous color plates of assorted Ju 88s. Interesting stuff and very nicely executed, but targeted, it would seem, toward a specialized market of modelers or perhaps those thinking about opening their own Ju 88 production facilities....
Gordon, Yefim and Dmitriy Khazanov. Red Star, volume 5: Yakovlev's Piston-Engined Fighters. Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Limited, 2002. Distributed in the US by Specialty Press
While Trojca's book represents his first foray into aircraft, this is the fifth in Yefim Gordon's Red Star series about Soviet planes (including Polikarpov's I-16 Fighter, with Keith Dexter). The series spans considerably more than the World War II era, but this particular volume covers the Yak-1, Yak-7, Yak-9, and Yak-3 fighters during the war years. After a brief introduction, Gordon devotes a chapter of twenty to forty pages on each model. Each chapter contains a great deal of text punctuated with previously unseen black and white photos. The text covers design and development, modifications and specifications of different versions, and some information on operational employment as well as notes about other models which saw little or no production. The concluding chapter offers six pages of text and photos about Yak fighters serving with the air forces of other nations. The book ends with two pages of detailed specs in tabular format for dozens of versions of Yaks and related fighters, plus six pages of color plates. The Red Star series concentrates much more on design, production, and combat operations as opposed to colors and markings, andpartly because of that emphasisdoesn't look quite as colorful and sexy as some similar books, but it contains far more information than most of the visually-oriented aircraft titles. Distributed in the US by Specialty Press.
Sarkar, Dilip. Battle of Britain: Last Look Back. Worcester, UK: Ramrod Publications, 2002
Dilip Sarkar and Ramrod specialize in books about the Battle of Britain. In this one, Sarkar presents sixteen chapters, each one containing the story of one airmanpilot or groundcrewwho participated in the great air battle of 1940. The unifying thread of the book is that Sarkar has interviewed all these men and written the chapters based on what they've told him in personal conversations and correspondence. None of these are the famous aces of the battleone refers to himself as an "also ran"but they all display the graceful modesty that marks these aging veterans, now reduced to a dwindling few. The chapters generally contain a few paragraphs about the subject's birth and upbringing and a bit about earlier flying experiences, but they always focus on the Battle of Britain. Each man tells in his own words a few choice stories, anecdotes, or most indelible memories of those dramatic days, and Sarkar closes each chapter with a few wistful words and a recent photo of the airman. Some of these men have passed on since the author prepared this book, and with so few BoB veterans still with us, Sarkar is to be commended for his efforts to collect and preserve these recollections before it's too late.
Goss, Chris with Bernd Rauchbach. Luftwaffe Seaplanes, 1939-1945: An Illustrated History. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2002
Much anticipated, long delayed in the UK, and released sooner than originally scheduled in the US comes a new title from Chris Goss, who made a splashy debut (if that's the right phrase) several years ago with Bloody Biscay. His new effort, co-authored with Bernd Rauchbach, is in an entirely different style, comprising a workmanlike but unspectacular collection of photographs of German seaplanes. The book is divided into six main chaptersArado, Blohm & Voss, Breguet, Dornier, Heinkel, and Junkersplus a chapter of miscellaneous types, with each chapter made up of nothing more than photos and captions. The photos, "previously unpublished," are clear enough and interesting enough and include six pages of color shots, and the captions are brief but fairly informative. In sum, however, despite the sub-title, "An Illustrated History," this is really nothing more ambitious than a photo album. As such, for dedicated fans of seaplanes this array of snapshots might prove enthralling, but for everyone else it's rather thin gruel, especially in comparison to Bloody Biscay, and not nearly what we had hoped or expected. Published in the UK by Crecy.
All of these books are available from online booksellers, local bookshops, or directly from the publishers or their distributors.
Reviewed 13 October 2002
Copyright © 2002 by Bill Stone
May not be reproduced in any form without written permission of Stone & Stone
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