The Royal Air Force at War


The front inside flap claims that every dramatic episode of RAF history from 1939 to 2007 is covered in this book. That is a bold claim. The 1939-45 war occupies naturally many of the pages. The story continues up to the recent wars of aggression that Britain has become involved in as an invader, as a secondary player to a new imperialism. This has allowed the author to paint a reasonably comprehensive picture of the changing face of aerial warfare over the period and provides many insights and personal contributions from RAF crews. It is impossible to cover every aspect of RAF history over more than sixty years in a single volume. There are some episodes where a reader might wish for more information. There will also be some former RAF personnel who feel that an episode in which they participated should have been included but has not been. However, this is a very interesting and balanced historical overview that is lavishly illustrated in single colour. It succeeds in providing a flavour of RAF life, military engagement and rapidly changing technology. It also provides a social commentary during a period where Britain struggled to adjust to life at the end of Empire. Given the huge amount of material already published on the RAF during WWII, the most important contribution of this book is in placing that history in context with what was to follow. Some readers will be surprised by the level of activity and the great variety of episodes that followed the end of WWII.

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