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CAVALRY OF THE CLOUDS: Air War Over Europe 1914-19

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    Posted: 13 Oct 2010 at 22:24

CAVALRY OF THE CLOUDS: Air War Over Europe 1914-1918

John Sweetman

Spellmount, an imprint of The History Press, The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud GL5 2QG

224pp, 177 x 255mm, hardback.

ISBN 978-0-7524-5503-7, £20.00

Although the sub-title is misleading, with the book dealing solely with British and (some) German activity over the Western Front and Britain, this is a very good overview of the air war. The author had drawn from a large variety of personal accounts, many from the IWM’s Department of Documents, which serve to illustrate the emotions felt by participants in aerial action and, via, for example, the McCuddens, the impact of the war upon families. These are interwoven into the chronology of the air war that has been well researched from National Archives material and an extensive bibliography.

The full range of aerial activity is covered, from early reconnaissance flights and training to scout patrols, day and night bombing and ground attack work. There is little that can be questioned about the factual information presented, although KK may disagree about Borton’s observer named on page 32.

The book is illustrated with 80 photographs and 5 maps. The photographs are clear and well printed and a considerable proportion shows German subjects which, while interesting, does not reflect the, largely, British flavour of the text and the captions are often brief.

That brief criticism apart, anyone wanting such an overview could do a lot worse than buying this volume.             MD

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