The Red Baron: The Graphic History of Richthofen's Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI. By Wayne Vansant. Minneapolis, Minn.: Zenith Press, 2014. Maps. Illustrations. Appendices. Bibliography. Pp. 101. $19.99 paperback ISBN: 978-0-7603-4602-0
In last winter's issue of Air Power History, I reviewed Vansant's book on the bombing of Nazi Germany. With this latest book, Vansant has continued a strong string of illustrated histories. He is both the writer and illustrator of these and used a similar format when he illustrated Marvel's The 'Nam series. He then wrote and illustrated Normandy, Gettysburg, and Bombing Nazi German for Zenith. He drew almost 400 high-quality illustrations for this latest venture.
The Red Baron, Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen, has been the subject of many books, several of which are quite good. However, for a reader who wants a quick brush-up on this noted ace or on air warfare in the First World War in general, this is an excellent little book to go through. Some may not think a book done in the style of the old Classics Illustrated series would be worth the time, but for the purpose this book serves, it serves well.
Vansant has done an excellent job of presenting a number of the principal characters of the first major air war. It is inevitable if one is to tell von Richthofen's story. Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann--two of the immortal German aces--certainly heavily influenced the young von Richthofen. Lanoe Hawker, one of the early British aces, became one of the Red Baron's early victories. Others such as Germans Verner Voss, Kurt Wolff, Lothar von Richthofen, and Hermann Goering; Frenchmen Rene Fonck, Georges Guynemer, and Charles Nungesser; and Americans Raoul...