Spyplanes: The Illustrated Guide to Manned Reconnaissance and Surveillance Aircraft from World War I to Today. By Norman Polmar and John F. Bessette with Hal Bryan, Alan C. Carey, Michael Gorin, Cory Graff, and Nicholas A. Veronico. Minneapolis MN: Quarto Publishing Group, 2016. Tables. Illustrations. Photographs. Notes. Index. Pp. 240. S40.00 ISBN: 978-0-7603-5031-7
Norman Polmar, among the most distinguished naval historians of his generation, and John Bessette, a former Air Force intelligence officer, along with four other contributors, have produced what amounts to an encyclopedia. Culling various archives and other sources, they have collected an impressive selection of photographs to support their efforts.
The first third of the book examines reconnaissance operations. Of these 75 pages, 15 are devoted to World War I and earlier, two for between the wars, and 11 to World War II. The remaining 47 pages cover the Cold War and beyond. America's Peacetime Aerial Reconnaissance Program (PARPRO) dominates the discussion, though the Korean and Vietnam Wars receive some attention.
While the subtitle suggests unmanned aircraft are beyond the scope of this work, they are mentioned.
The balance of the book examines individual aircraft from four countries: Germany (five entries, all from World War II); Great Britain (eight from World War I to...