Aircraft of World War I, 1914-1918. By Jack Herris and Bob Pearson, and Aircraft of the Cold War, 1945-1991. By Thomas Newdick. Both London: Amber Books, 2010. Map. Tables. Diagrams. Illustrations. Photographs. Index. Pp. 192. $34.95 each ISBNs: 978-1-906626-66-2 and 978-1-906626-64-8, respectively
Both of these books are part of The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide series and are valuable for aviation enthusiasts, historians, and modelers. Aircraft of the World War I provides a welcome addition to the literature on the First World War. Written and illustrated by two specialists on World War I aviation, the book is an attractive and comprehensive guide to the aircraft of the Great War.
It is arranged chronologically and regionally with solid detail and concise descriptions. During World War I, military planners deployed aircraft on a large scale for the first time, as the focus shifted from reconnaissance to fighters and bombers. Pilot aces became popular heroes, and their aircraft come to life in this book.
Pearson's drawings are particularly commendable. His attention to detail with unit markings and his representation of historically significant aircraft are noteworthy. Few are able to bring the early aircraft to life as capably as Pearson. Herris's historical survey is a useful compendium of information on early military aviation and the genesis of air combat. He clearly articulates the move beyond reconnaissance as well as the arrival of early pushers to the full-fledged dogfighters and night bombers.
The work highlights key aircraft such as the Nieuport 11, Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5, Sopwith Camel, SPAD XIII, and Fokker D.VII. The roles and significance of early bombers, such as the Sikorsky Ilya Muromets, Gotha G. IV, Caproni Ca.4, Breguet Br14, and Airco DH9, are given their due. The authors also explore lesser-known aircraft such as the Bleriot XI, Caudron G.4, Aviatik B.1, Farman MF.11, Rumpler C.1, Curtiss H-16, Armstrong-Whitworth F.K.8, and AEG G.IV.
Aircraft of the Cold War offers a visually engaging and thematic introduction to the global confrontation of air forces for anyone interested in learning...