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A very good military read

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A very good military read

Old 1st May 2009, 07:36
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I'm now 50 pages into "Lost Voices of the Royal Air Force" collected by Max Arthur; I can unhesitatingly recommend it. A fascinating compilation of inputs from real people, covering the RAF throughout it's history, from the first time in Afghanistan to the Gulf War and after. The most evocative tome I've come across in a long while. If you've been following the thread featuring Cliff Nemo and Regle, this book will be right up your street.
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Old 1st May 2009, 10:58
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If you want a book that encapsulates the epic tragedy of America and Vietnam, read A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan. Moving, accessible, and so well written, it's a joy to read.
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Old 1st May 2009, 11:03
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Nmesis by Max Hastings on late stages of War with Japan.

Justed started reading it and seems pretty good.
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Old 1st May 2009, 11:18
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Particularly appropriate at this time when the fate of the Gurkha ex-soldiers is being debated, is the first part of John Masters' excellent autobiography: "Bugles and a Tiger".

He was commissioned from Sandhurst into the Gurkhas before the war and served with them in India, on the NW Frontier and, later, Mesopotamia and Burma. Well written, amusing, informative and touching, it paints a wonderful picture of those splendid fighting men and of service in India before the war.
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Old 5th May 2009, 09:52
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Never in Anger
The life of Anthony "Bugs" Bendell who joined the RAF in 1953, just as the service was converting to jets,his career spanned 34 years.
He flew the Tiger Moth, Harvard, T33, Vampire, Hunter, Lightning, Republic F105 and the Phantom F4, then he was diagnosed with M.S. A superb read (the above pinched from the cover of the book which I am just reading for the second time)
Call Sign Revlon
The Life and Death of Navy Fighter Pilot Kara Hultgreen, the US Navy's first fully qualified female fleet fighter pilot. She died in 1994 when her F 14 Tomcat crashed into the Pacific whilst on approach to a carrier.
Again, a superb read, written by her mother and deals with how much Kara had to go through to reach her dream
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Old 5th May 2009, 10:46
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Surprised nobody has mentioned THUD RIDGE by (Col, USAF) Jack Broughton, originally published 1969 it was re-published in 2006 by Crecy, <www.crecy.co.uk>
Definitive, first hand, account of the F105 operations over North Vietnam and the impact on the pilots of the political shenanigans surrounding them.

As far as WWII fighter pilots are concerned Bob Spurdle's book 'The Blue Arena' (published by William Kimber in 1986) was, IMHO, the best (i.e most authentic) read 'til the aforementioned G.Wellum's First light came along. He was a New Zealander by birth and served under 'Sailor' Malan on 74 Sqn. during BofB. I won't spoil your read by telling you what else he did from then until 1945.

Incidentally: Does anybody know of a definitive biography of Malan - I know a bit about his post-war return to his native South Africa (there is a small display devoted to him in the Hugenot museum in Franschoek, Cape Wnelands). Amongst the generation of fighter pilots who were my mentors (i.e. 35+ years ago) his was the reputation they most admired on the grounds that he, allegedly, "never lost a wingman" - unlike Closterman it seems!
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Old 6th May 2009, 01:17
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I agree on a lot of those mentioned already, one I would add is Samurai, by Saburo Sakai.

Fascinating look into the Japanese during WWII. Flight school was brutal to say the least.
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Old 6th May 2009, 21:53
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probably the best book available about the "battle of hamburg".
detailed by highly readable account from both sides with of course a special emphasis on the resulting "firestorm".

i digested this weighty tome over many late nights last year and lost quite a few hours sacktime.

even ventured downstairs a couple of times to check the
cooker was properly switched off
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Old 7th May 2009, 07:57
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Have a look at the books by Mark Berent - Steel Tiger, Rolling Thunder, Eagle Station to name but a few. Berent was a Vietnam fighter pilot and used his experiences to write some of the best war novels I've ever read.
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Old 7th May 2009, 08:28
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Apache by Ed Macy.

The role of the AAC in Afghanistan.
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Old 8th May 2009, 09:49
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I am currently reading Flying through Midnight by John. T. Halliday.
I am finding this book difficult to read, because after every few pages I keep having to check the front and back cover to see if there is any mention that this is a work of fiction.

But no, it is apparently a first person account of what a young man experienced during his time flying C-123's over Laos at night, acting as an FAC. To say that it is very well written and exciting book is doing it an injustice.
I am amazed that this person survived the war, yet alone retained his sanity to go on and become an airline pilot. It is also very honest, he admits several serious mistakes, criticism from more experienced aircrew, and also the worrying state of where his 'mind was at' as well as the blinding fear that he felt at times.

One of the many escapades involves an edge of your seat, in the nick of time and skin of his teeth landing that all the odds shout that he should not have managed. This book really is a ripping yarn. It makes the film Apocolypse Now seem like a normal documentry.

Even more so after I have done a bit of searching online and it does seem to be a true story.
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Old 8th May 2009, 10:01
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It makes the film Apocolypse Now seem like a normal documentry.
Bingo. It's writiien in a god-awful stream of consciousness style that makes for a painful read.

I wish I hadn't and I don't say that very often.
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Old 5th Jun 2009, 20:17
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Ditto on Mark Berent

Ditto on Mark Berent. His five F-4 novels are superb. The secondary characters are quite interesting, too. One, for example, is a Green Beret major who--among other things--leads the resistance to a VC attack on a residential compound. It's an incredibly dramatic and intensely written scene--you can smell the cordite.

The author did it all in Nam--see:

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Old 5th Jun 2009, 23:39
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The Last Enemy

The Last Enemy - Richard Hillary

Battle of Britain pilot's story. First published 1942, still in print.

As poignant today as when I first read it in 1966. The sort of story that made you want to join the RAF.

Times change. Governments change. The aircrew ethos will never change.

The last enemy is not death, but fear.
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Old 6th Jun 2009, 00:59
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Keegan "Six Armies in Normandy" (Self explanatory?)

Ethell & Price "One Day in a Long War" ( One day in the Vietnam air War)

Windrow "The Last Valley" ( The French Defeat at Dien Bien Phu......)
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Old 6th Jun 2009, 10:00
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I'm currently reading 'Thud Ridge' which is mentioned a few posts ago. Undoubtedly written by a very courageous, gutsy individual but for me the writing style is incoherent and is very little pleasure to read.
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Old 6th Jun 2009, 17:01
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I found Thud Ridge a bit difficult to stick with.

However, Jack Broughton also wrote 'Rupert Red Two' about his career up to Vietnam. It's an excellent book.
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Old 6th Jun 2009, 18:04
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May I recommend Roy and Lesley Adkins' 'The War for all the Oceans' subtitled 'From Nelson at the Nile to Napoleon at Waterloo'. Well written and researched.

ISBN 978-0-349-11916-8

Clearly not aviation related but one of the most important periods of modern history well explained.
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 10:20
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Jack Broughton`s other book,and IMHO his best, was Going down Town
a much more detailed account of the Vietnam experience.
If one is interested in the Vietnam air war I would recommend Clashes by
Marshall L. Michel a detailed but readable study of what went wrong
with the US Air Forces efforts there.
In defence of P.Closterman,I have read the book many times I enjoyed
it so much and I think reading between the lines,the man`s bottle was
almost empty by late 44 early 45.This may account for his taking
unnecessary risks with his life and the lives of his wingmen.The last
flight in his Tempest,Grand Charles,where he sat in the cockpit and
wept, I found very moving.

PS, Going Down Town,ISBN 0-671-67862-0
Clashes,ISBN 1-55750-585-3
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 11:55
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On a more light hearted note try any of the 3 McAuslan books by George Macdonald Fraser, hilarious.
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