Book Review; Kev Darling: Fleet Air Arm Carrier Warfare

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Terry Duncan
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Book Review; Kev Darling: Fleet Air Arm Carrier Warfare

Post by Terry Duncan » 15 Oct 2011 00:34

This book by Kev Darling is an excellent read, and covers an interesting subject. There is a lot of very interesting detail to cover the careers of every carrier and escort carrier to see service, and of the planes that served on them. The book is illustrated throughout, and has many interesting photos of the planes that are seldom seen, such as deck landing crash photos.

The author is clearly well versed in the subject of the aircraft, even listing the serial numbers of planes on carriers at times as well as detailing missions flown, something seldom seen outside of very specialist books. There is a very good appendix, there basic details of all the plane types are given, which can be useful to people when trying to see how the planes evolved and thereby forced the carriers to evolve too.

The genesis of the Fleet Air Arm during the First World War part of the book is rather brief, obviously everything could not be covered in great detail but it does run the risk of leaving a reader with no knowledge of this period and the struggle for funding during the interwar years maybe a little in the dark on this. There are a few errors such as HMS Resolution being described as a battlecruiser, and a description of HMS Furious being sunk after being hit by four torpedoes when this should have been HMS Eagle – though in true heroic style HMS Furious does return in action a few pages later. This did lead me to check a lot of details to see if any serious errors were included, but I found none that could not be put down to a simple slip up. It doesn’t spoil the book, but it does bring home the fact that even the best authors make mistakes at times.

Altogether a very good book that anyone wishing to learn about the Fleet Air Arm and its history would be well advised to read, and put together in such a manner as to make it accessible to newcomers to the subject as well as those with greater knowledge. I enjoyed reading it, and can only say that I imagine others will too.

The flaws are more than compensated for with the details on individual planes and the excellent photo illustrations, I would rate this as a 4 out of 5 star book overall.

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