Libyan Air Wars Part 1: 1973-1985. By Tom Cooper, Albert Grandolini, & Arnaud Delalande. Solihull U.K.: Helion & Co, 2015. Maps. Diagrams. Illustrations. Photographs. Notes. Glossary. Bibliography. Pp. 64. $29.95. paperback. ISBN: 9781-909982-39-0
This book is part of Helion's Africa@War Series, a set of over twenty volumes dealing with the seemingly unending series of conflicts on that continent since the end of World War II. For most U.S. readers, operations in Rhodesia, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Congo, Libya, Chad, Central African Republic, Angola, and elsewhere are lost among the larger wars of Vietnam, Korea, and the Middle East. Except for events such as the Gulf of Sidra, where U.S. forces were directly engaged, most of the African conflicts leading to and resulting from the breakup of the great colonial holdings have been little more than blips on the six-o'clock news.
The authors have written three of the series' volumes covering the Libyan Air Wars. In this, the first part of the trilogy, they have done an excellent job of covering not only the Libyan Air Force since its formation, but also appropriate background on the country, its politics and geopolitical relations with its neighbors, and the creation of Libyan military forces from the 1930s on. The story they tell is often difficult to follow, not because of their writing but, rather, the very complexity of the relationships of the many countries in the area, the many regimes ruling these countries (or parts of the countries depending on the state of local civil wars), and former colonial powers. If anything, a reader comes away with a real appreciation for the messy situation throughout much of Africa.
But Libyan Air Wars concentrates on the air component of the...