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Air Power Supremo (Hardback)

A Biography of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor

WWII Aviation WWI Aviation in WWI Aviation in WWII Royal Air Force Biographies

By William Pyke
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 280
Illustrations: 30 mono
ISBN: 9781399095525
Published: 7th March 2022


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Sir John Slessor was one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished wartime commanders and incisive military thinkers, and William Pyke’s comprehensive new biography reveals how he earned this remarkable reputation.

Slessor, a polio victim who always walked with a stick, became a First World War pilot in the Sudan and on the Western Front and a squadron and wing commander in India between the wars. When aerial warfare was still a new concept, he was one of the first to develop practical tactics and strategies in its application. In the Second World War, as the Commander-in-Chief of Coastal Command during the Battle of the Atlantic and the RAF in the Mediterranean during the Italian and Balkan campaigns, he made a remarkable contribution to the success of Allied air power. Then, after the war, as a senior commander he established himself as one of the foremost experts on strategic bombing and nuclear deterrence. That is why this insightful biography of a great British airman and his achievements is so timely and important as we enter a new era of strategic doubts and deterrence at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

William Pyke follows each stage of Slessor’s brilliant career as a pilot and commander in vivid detail. In particular he concentrates on Slessor’s writings, from his treatise on the application of air power in support of land armies to his thinking on nuclear deterrence and Western strategy.

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About William Pyke

After a long career in the oil industry William Pyke decided to study the application of air power by the Royal Air Force throughout the twentieth century, and subsequently gained a distinction on the MA programme at Birmingham University. He has presented a number of papers on the subject and has made a special study of John Slessor’s career. He has had the active support of the Slessor family as he has compiled this comprehensive new biography.

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