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Mustang (Paperback)

The Untold Story


By Matthew Willis
Imprint: Key Publishing
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 130
ISBN: 9781802826838
Published: 15th May 2024



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The North American Mustang is one of the most well-studied aircraft, the subject of many hundreds or thousands of books and articles. However, much of what is commonly understood about the Mustang, particularly its early Allison-powered variants, is not entirely correct, nor entirely complete. The published record is strewn with myths and misconceptions, which have persisted across decades.

The common perception of the Allison Mustang is that of a flawed and ineffective aircraft, merely a prelude to the ‘definitive’ Merlin-engined versions: an aircraft scorned and rejected by the RAF and USAAF, relegated to less important tasks by both. This orthodoxy ignores the Allison Mustang’s contribution in service and influence on design.

By placing the creation, evolution and use of the aircraft in as full a context as possible, the truth behind many of these commonly accepted ideas emerges. Mustang: The Untold Story examines the history of the aircraft afresh, within the orbit of tactical doctrine, strategy and even politics, as well as the changing nature of World War II as the Mustang crews were fighting it. The Allison Mustang proved to be no worse than the best aircraft of the war in the roles where it found its niche. Through this new account, it is hoped that the significance of this vital aircraft can finally be appreciated.

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About Matthew Willis

Matthew Willis is a writer and historian of aviation history. His first work of non-fiction was published in 2007, the first full-length work on the Blackburn Skua World War Two dive-bomber/fighter. Since then, he has focussed on lesser-known areas of aviation history, particularly with regard to naval aviation, with titles on the Fairey Flycatcher, Blackburn Shark and Fairey Barracuda, and he wrote the first biography of the 1930s–40s test pilot Duncan Menzies. He focuses on original research and bringing out the voices of those who were there at the time. He is a frequent contributor to the historic aviation media, with many features published in journals such as Aeroplane, Flight Path, The Aviation Historian and Flypast, and currently writes the regular ‘Flight Line’ column on aviation history in Aeroplane. He has also contributed to heritage projects and has written for the Naval Records Society. He runs the website Naval Air History (www.navalairhistory.com).

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