Heroes of Coastal Command: The Raf's Maritime War 1939 - 1945 - Andrew D. Bird

Heroes of Coastal Command: The Raf's Maritime War 1939 - 1945 - Andrew D. Bird

Well, I jumped the gun on this one. I skimmed it when it arrived and dropped AG a quick note thanking him and saying it looked a good read. It is a damned good read, but by God, it’s hard work. Why is it hard work? Because of the obscenely poor editing and proofreading.

For the first few pages, the poor presentation didn’t seem to matter, but after the first chapter it started to grate, and in truth, give the book an incredibly (but unfairly) amateurish feel. I was finding myself reading the same few words three or four times in order to make sense of them. Not only is this frustrating, but it also slows down progress and starts to destroy a readers enthusiasm. Come on Frontline Books, pull your finger out, book buyers deserve better than this.

Right, gripe over let’s look at the content. Many will never have heard of Coastal Command, they’re the forgotten part of the RAF, the Cinderella service, living in the shadow of Bomber Command and, of course, Fighter Command. But they undertook vital missions disrupting the German U-boats, German shipping and generally protecting our shipping and shores.

What I really liked about this book were the human stories that the author has put together. Many of the featured characters were either foreigners or came from the various parts of the Empire to help us in our hours of need. Their bravery shines through.

Many crews were sent on missions by a hierarchy that didn’t actually understand the demands they were making on them. Coastal Command wasn’t exactly well stocked with appropriate aircraft either, having to make do, by and large, with an eclectic mix of outdated aircraft no longer wanted by other parts of the RAF. But these brave guys put in a brilliant performance, a performance that not only can they be proud of, but one that the UK as a whole should be grateful for. These were very ordinary people doing very extraordinary things and putting themselves at very great personal risk.

Another thing I liked about this book was that I’d not heard any of the stories before. The majority of Bomber and Fighter Command stories are now quite well known: it was really refreshing to be presented with detail and information that I’d not come across.

I’d also not come across this author before, but his research is certainly good and quite in-depth. It’s just such a shame the way the publisher has put so little effort into the finished product. Authors rely on publishers to sort out their mistakes, I feel that this author has been let down and I don’t hold him responsible for the errors.

With decent editing and sound proofreading, this would easily be a 4 anchor read. As it is, I’m afraid I can only run to 21/2.