A nice read and great photos. Inexpensive, too. I’m glad I bought this one.
A large format book with lots of large pictures and less than 100 pages, this is a quick read. This is what some would call a coffee table book.
Organized into five chapters, each one tackles a broad category of aircraft. For example, chapter three is titled “The Desperate Struggle” and it covers military experimental aircraft from World War II. Chapter four is mostly about tailless designs. The last chapter is a general catch-all chapter covering general oddball aircraft, including helicopters.
An introduction to each chapter sets the stage for the aircraft covered. Then, one paragraph is devoted to each specimen.
There are a lot of airplanes in this book that I don’t remember seeing anywhere else. Specially the first two chapters on early aviation pioneers before World War II, which are filled with wonderfully interesting airplanes. There are many fascinating Russian aircraft throughout the book, but specially in these early chapters.
Generally speaking, the pictures chosen for the book nail their subjects. They are great. Many in full color, all contain lots of details that really bring their subjects to life.
This book is a very easy read. The writing is solid, tying together all the aircraft discussed very nicely.
I did not find any typos, but there is a picture caption that is missing its picture. That did not look so good.
Most pictures do not contain enough detail to even begin designing a scale model. That really was not a surprise. There is only one picture per aircraft, and many are side profile ground shots. In other words, there is no information provided on the shape of the wing.
I was already familiar with maybe a third of the aircraft in the book. Even in these cases, the text proved interesting and the pictures were great, bringing these aircraft to life in new ways I had not experienced before.
There are almost no specifications included for the aircraft. Oddly, just about the only specification that one can count on finding for each subject is the horsepower for its engines. Airplane dimensions are almost never given. It seems that the horsepower ratings are used as a stand-in for more detailed aircraft specs. Any other numbers that are provided strictly depends on whether the author found them interesting.
There are no pictures included for many of the aircraft discussed. This was a major disappointment. A paragraph of text without a picture is just not enough to get much of value out of it. I would have preferred it if the author had left out these aircraft entirely and either expanded the text for the other airplanes or included a second picture from a different angle.
This book does a great job of what it set out to do. It is filled with great pictures of lots of very interesting aircraft. The text is a good complement to the pictures and adds interesting details to these aircraft. Just do not expect it to be a great resource for a scale modeler.
Used copies of this book are very inexpensive. I only paid a couple of bucks for mine and it was in great shape. I definitely do not regret making the purchase.