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BLACK FOKKER LEADER

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    Posted: 20 Oct 2009 at 12:40
BLACK FOKKER LEADER: The First War’s Last Airfighter KnightBLACK FOKKER LEADER
 
Peter Kilduff. Grub Street Publishing, 4 Rainham Close, London SW11 6SS. 224pp, hardback. ISBN 978-1-906502-28-7, £20.00.
Click on the cover to buy from Amazon!

This is the biography of Carl Degelow, and a refreshing change from yet another one about the Red Baron! It is everything a biography should be, being a combination of first hand accounts from the participants, contemporary photographs and meticulous research over more than thirty years. Kilduff’s first book about Degelow (Germany’s Last Knight of the Air) was published in 1979, and so he had the opportunity to correspond with many of the main characters, who sadly are no longer with us. As a result, all Degelow’s combats are described in detail. Since then a lot of new information as come to light, which makes for a valuable and interesting book. Degelow was basically a nice man, which cannot be said for many of his colleagues, but still a ruthless and determined fighter, who would rather force an enemy down and capture the pilot, rather than kill him, which seems to be a bit of a contradiction. Interestingly, he was different in that he considered the carrying of parachutes to be a good thing for morale.

I would have liked to read more about Degelow’s life after the Great War, and more about what happened to him and his friends under the Nazis.

There are some unfortunate errors – the Franco-Prussian War did not last for 21 years, and more than one translation from German into English is flawed, but I really enjoyed reading this otherwise excellent book. The footnotes, appendices and indices are the most comprehensive I can remember.
 
GM, Volume 40 Number 3
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