Combat Aircraft of the United States Air Force (Paperback)
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From its humble beginning in August 1907, when the U.S. Army Signal Corps created its Aeronautical Division assigned: “to take charge of all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines, and all kindred matters.” That small in consequence portion of the U.S. Army would grow progressively over the many decades to become its own separate entity following the Second World War, named the U.S. Air Force in 1947. It became overnight the world’s most powerful military establishment, able to deliver conventional and nuclear ordnance anywhere around the globe. Today’s cutting-edge example of that is best represented by the supersonic, bat-winged B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, which can fly at an altitude of 50,000 feet, and is built of carbon-graphite composite materials. The B-2 Spirit is a far cry from the early days of the service when it relied on fragile prop-driven, wood and fabric-covered aerial platforms, such as the Wright Type B, which could barely reach an altitude of 100 feet. As this superb illustrated and well informed book vividly demonstrates, in between have been such iconic aircraft as the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt fighters and bombers such as the B-25 Mitchell, B-17 Flying Fortress and B-29 Super Fortress which dropped the first A-Bomb in 1945. The Cold War demanded ever more powerful aircraft, such as the B-58 Hustler and B-52 Stratofortress and fighters including the F-86 Sabre, F-104 Starfighter and F-4 Phantom.
A good generalist bookAir Fan, February/March 2017 – reviewed by Sam Pretat
This book is a soft-cover work of the ‘Aviation Monograph’ genre, and is essentially a ‘picture book’ of photographs, accompanied by a small amount of text. It is both a written and visual history of the USAF. The photographs it contains are from the author’s collection, although the majority are originally sourced from USAF archives, a fact that the author acknowledges. The volume is divided into six separate chapters, with each of these covering a specific time period. A well-researched and well-written section appears at the beginning of each chapter. Within this section the relevant information is presented under appropriately-worded subheadings. The written section is in turn followed by a photographic section showing aircraft of the era, the majority of these images being in colour. The photographs are clear and crisp, the colour images especially-so. The photographs appear to have been professionally-taken, and provide a level of detail and quality that few amateurs can match. If photographs (especially colour photographs) of USAF aeroplanes are what the purchaser requires, then this book will have few equals. The volume contains a Contents section together with a Dedication, Foreword, Acknowledgments and Notes to the Reader. There is however no Index, nor or a list of the aircraft-types that appear within its covers. For those interested in a once-over-lightly review of the USAF and pictures of its aircraft, it is unlikely that the lack of the latter will be of any consequence.NZ Crown Mines - Keith Rimmer
In precis, this work is something of a mixed bag; it has beautiful photographs (especially colour ones) and a well-researched and well-written text. As such it would be useful as an introduction to its subject.
Something just a little bit different from usual for this new addition to the Images of War series, for the bulk of the pictures in this one are in colour, though there are still some black and white archive pictures. As usual, this is a photo book, but with some informative and well balanced background text to introduce each chapter, along with helpful captions on all of the photos as well.Military Modelling, Robin Buckland
A good collection of photos which make a good job of illustrating the many combat aircraft used by the USA over 100 years plus of history, from those flimsy, early biplanes, through to the supersonic and stealth aircraft of the 21st Century.