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The Hawker Hunter: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives (Images of War)  -  Martin W. Bowman

The Hawker Hunter: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives (Images of War) - Martin W. Bowman

I’ve long had an interest in the Hunter. It started when I was a child and watched the aircraft performing over the north Norfolk skies. The sonic booms fascinated me. My interest continued through my teens with me making Airfix models and finally culminated with me working on the aircraft in the early 70s. I still have the scars on the back of my hands where I was wiring tail cones and stores pylons.

And just as I have looked back through rose-tinted spectacles, I think the author has done similar. Yes, the aircraft was a thing of beauty, it had a long service life but it was by no means perfect. It had its problems, it had its faults.

I requested this book because of my memories. I must be honest, when it arrived I felt a bit deflated. A quick flick through the pages showed plenty of the promised pictures, but many were not of particularly good quality and I’d seen most of them before.

Putting my initial disappointment to one side I settled down to read the book.

The book is well written, well researched and easy to read. It gave me several nights of bedtime reading. All in all, it was an enjoyable read but I didn’t feel that I’d learned anything new.

I feel that this book is just another ‘me too’ book about the Hunter. It doesn’t try to compete with Griffin’s ‘bible’ on the aircraft, it doesn’t compete with McLelland’s history of the aircraft, and I thought Martin and Neil’s Hunter in British Service was more comprehensive. This book just seems to hang on to their coat-tails trying to fit in somewhere but it doesn't seem to be quite sure where.

This doesn’t mean that it’s a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s just not the best. If you want a reasonably priced book on the aircraft and just want to scratch the surface of what is a very interesting subject, this book would likely suffice. Consider it a ‘Bluffer’s’ guide type of book and you won’t go far wrong. It's a quick, dirty, read that will equip you quite well. It might even whet your appetite to explore further.

There is, however, one unforgivable mistake in a book of this type: there is no index nor reference section. That really needs correcting and I would urge the author/publisher to correct this before any reprint., it might move the book up the pecking order a little.

I’ll run to 31/2 anchors, I did quite enjoy it despite its limitations.
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