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Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: AIR WAR IN WWI-LOOKING FOR BOOK RECOMENDATIONS rss

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Doug Erwin
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Any out there?
 
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Pete Belli
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Fighting the Flying Circus by Eddie Rickenbacker is a fascinating book; was told it is available as a free download.
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"Sagittarius Rising" by Cecil Lewis, a late war SE-5a pilot, and later one of the co-founders of the BBC. The book can be quite poetic at times.
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Ethan McKinney
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Peter Hart, Bloody April

I recommend Derek Robinson's novels, even though they are fiction. They're well researched and they really give you a feel for the events. Excellent writing. His Battle of Britain novel "A Piece of Cake," was made into a BBC miniseries that mother loved.
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I suspect you are looking for non-fiction and biographies but I'm going to recommend a novel:

Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson

It's a dark comedy about a squadron of WWI SE5a pilots - sort of Catch-22 for WWI.
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Edmund Hon
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I didn't know much about the subject matter before, and this was my first book I bought. I think it is quite good.

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Bob Roberts

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Wind in the Wires by Duncan Grinnell-Milne
No Parachute by Arthur Gould Lee
Falcons of France by Nordhoff & Hall
Flying Fury by McCudden

And of course... Biggles.
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Bob Zurunkel
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Aces Falling, by Peter Hart. Makes you realize how few of the famous aces survived the war.
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Dale Withroder
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Any of Peter Hart's books
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Bill Bailey
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Warplanes & Air Battles of World War I; Beekman House (1973)
and
Jenny Was No Lady by Jack R. Lincke (1970)
 
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Laurence Cutner
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Check out the Biggles books from W. E. Johns - at least he was there!
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Don Lynch
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"The Blue Max" by Jack D. Hunter. Historical Fiction. Amazing book.

The movie is very good too.

Spoiler alert: the movie and the book have differences, including the endings.

.
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They Fought for the Sky by Quentin Reynolds is a light, single volume history.
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kevin halloran
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Alan Morris, "First of the Many" (London, 1968) recounts the history of the forerunner of RAF Bomber Command, Independent Force RAF and its 1918 bombing campaign. They flew mainly FE 2Bs and DH9s and the book combines wide research with graphic eye-witness accounts of combat.
 
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kevin halloran
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Here is a link to a fairly comprehensive selection.
https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/world-war-i-aviation
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Nick West
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lcutner wrote:
Check out the Biggles books from W. E. Johns - at least he was there!


I understand Biggles Flies Undone is the best of the series...
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R Thor Wagner
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"Winged Warfare" by William Avery (Billy) Bishop

Still in print as far as I know.
 
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Kevin
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erwindougs wrote:
Any out there?


Thousands...depends on what you are looking for. Aircraft specific, personal stories, novels, focus on theaters, uses of aviation??

Several to recommend for specific topics:

Eyes All Over The Sky by James Streckfuss. The book is short but packed with information and thought provoking too. Focus is on the role of aerial reconnaissance in WW1. The majority of aircraft and missions flown were for recon- visual, photographic, contact patrols mainly. The fighter pilots get all the press, but recon is where the effort was at.

The Lafayette Escadrille: A Photo History of the First American Fighter Squadron by Steve Ruffin. It's not just a picture book, it goes into detail about the men who flew in the squadron and some of their more notable patrols.

The Origin of the Fighter Aircraft by Jon Guttman. Well written account of the rise and evolution of pursuit or fighter aircraft pre WW1 and WW1 itself.

The First Air War 1914-1918 by Lee Kennett. Good overall account of WW1 aviation, a place to start if this is a new to you

Aeronaut Books publishes a lot of WW1 aviation books that are specific to a topic- lots of German aircraft by manufacturer, topics like the Tri-plane craze, or the German 1918 Fighter competitions, or a recent 2 volume set of books on Manfred von Richthofen as examples.

Gunning For The Red Baron by Leon Bennett. If you thought shooting down, or even hitting another aircraft in WW1 was easy...read this book. The title is a bit misleading as it focuses on how aerial gunnery worked, how difficult it was, dispels with some myths and is a very interesting read overall. A bit technical at times but really gives you some factual material to understand what it took to fly and fight in the air.

There are plenty more very good books, many of which have already been mentioned. Be careful of some of the older first person accounts though. While they can be great reads, sometimes the facts are left behind...as is often the case when it comes to books like that.

Also, Osprey has put out a lot of fine books on WW1 aviation, many focused on the aces by plane type, but there are some excellent squadron histories as well.
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Mike Szarka
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No Parachute by Arthur Lee. A republished diary of a British pilot. One of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. You're right there with him, until he eventually breaks down (after being shifted from dogfighting to ground strafing missions).
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mark feldman
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https://www.hamiltonbook.com/german-war-birds and this https://www.hamiltonbook.com/richthofen-the-red-baron-in-old...
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Joe R

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Lots and lots of books out there on the topic but, as with many aspects of World War 1, much of the literature is actually twaddle. One of the better places to start imho is Marked for Death by James Hamilton-Peterson. This is relatively recent and well-written. It is a bit of an odd book in that it is not and does not seek to be a definitive account of the air war, but instead addresses several prominent myths and misunderstandings re the air war, focusing on the Western Front and the RAF in particular. Still, a modern treatment of the topic and not a bad introduction to the issues. Useful bibliography too.
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kevin halloran
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ajoer wrote:
Lots and lots of books out there on the topic but, as with many aspects of World War 1, much of the literature is actually twaddle. One of the better places to start imho is Marked for Death by James Hamilton-Peterson. This is relatively recent and well-written. It is a bit of an odd book in that it is not and does not seek to be a definitive account of the air war, but instead addresses several prominent myths and misunderstandings re the air war, focusing on the Western Front and the RAF in particular. Still, a modern treatment of the topic and not a bad introduction to the issues. Useful bibliography too.


Joe, much obliged. I hadn't spotted this one and it sounds very interesting: just picked a copy up on ebay.
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Andy Daglish
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The best and perhaps only scholarly explanation is The First of the Few by Dennis Winter, the aerial corollary to his earlier Death's Men, which is about the Western Front on the ground.


I recently inflicted a copy of Yeates' Winged Victory on my IFA and to his credit he read it, despite the flowery bits. Considered the best war memoir, albeit slightly novelised. A favourite vignette is the battle school, where the author is taken after a nearby engine failure. Its run by a team of avuncular old buffers who are keen to hear about the war from a young man fighting it, including a diffident country vicar-in-uniform, who teaches about gas.

mentions Yeates, in the guise of a forceful fighter ace, which lies very far from the impression gained in his own book.
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Joe R

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winheath wrote:
ajoer wrote:
Lots and lots of books out there on the topic but, as with many aspects of World War 1, much of the literature is actually twaddle. One of the better places to start imho is Marked for Death by James Hamilton-Peterson. This is relatively recent and well-written. It is a bit of an odd book in that it is not and does not seek to be a definitive account of the air war, but instead addresses several prominent myths and misunderstandings re the air war, focusing on the Western Front and the RAF in particular. Still, a modern treatment of the topic and not a bad introduction to the issues. Useful bibliography too.


Joe, much obliged. I hadn't spotted this one and it sounds very interesting: just picked a copy up on ebay.


Np. Author is quite opinionated, but he is up front about it so you can make your own judgments. At the very least thought provoking.
 
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Doug Adams
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Leaving aside the Biggles novels (which I adore, and are quite gritty in places), I have a copy of Sopwith Scout 7309 by Sir Gordon Taylor. It's a pretty low key memoir of flying Pups, but it's a good read. Quite moving in places (going to Albert Ball's grave, for example) and frank about the limitations of their hardware (basically, all they could do in a Pup was try to out-turn their opponent). May be had to find, but worth it.
 
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