United States Naval Aviation 1910-2010, 5th ed., Vols 1 (Chronology) and 2 (Statistics).

Author:Willey, Scott A.
Position:Book review

United States Naval Aviation 19102010, 5th ed., Vols 1 (Chronology) and 2 (Statistics). By Mark L. Evans and Roy A. Grossnick. Washington D.C.: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2015. Illustrations. Photographs. Tables. Appendices. Glossary. Index. Pp. 747 and 469, respectively. ISBN:978-0-945274-75-9 and -96-5, respectively. Available as a free download at www.history.navy.mil/research/publications/recent-publications.html

Nearly twenty years ago, I wrote an Air Power History review on the fourth edition of this work in which I said, "If you have room in your library for only one book on U.S. naval aviation, this is the one to buy." Amend that to read, "These two volumes can replace everything else you have in your library regarding U.S. naval aviation." Evans and Grossnick have assembled a vast amount of information covering all facets of naval aviation in these two volumes. In addition to covering fifteen additional years of naval aviation history, the two volumes now number 1,216 pages versus the 811 pages of the last edition.

I'm not sure why the title says 19102010, when, in fact, the book actually covers the topic from 1898, when the Navy assigned two officers to sit on an interservice board to study possible military uses of Dr. Samuel Langley's flying machine. The first of Vol 1's thirteen chronological chapters is, indeed, A Few Pioneers: 1898-1916. The remaining twelve chapters follow the same pattern as the first: there is a narrative introduction to the period covered and then individually dated entries for significant events in the history of U.S. naval aviation. Hundreds of photographs of people, places, and machines accompany these event paragraphs, the last being an F-35C over NAS Patuxent River.

One might think that it would be terribly difficult to find a particular aircraft or action in 604 pages of detailed chronology. It would be if it weren't for a superbly organized, 143-page index. The index is broken into...

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