Book Re­views

RCN News - - 2016 Calendar - ~Jim Bates

Ti­tle: With Wings Like Ea­gles: A His­tory of the Bat­tle of Bri­tain Au­thor: Michael Korda Pub­lisher: Harper

As 2015 is the 75th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Bri­tain, I de­cided to read a few of the newer books on the topic. The first on the night­stand was Michael Korda's en­try from 2009. This is a breezy 322 page book which fo­cuses more on the po­lit­i­cal back­ground and tac­tics of the bat­tle than in­di­vid­ual air­crews. Korda is clearly a huge fan of Air Chief Mar­shal Sir Hugh Dowd­ing and much of the nar­ra­tive is dis­cusses his de­ci­sions, lead­er­ship, and con­flicts with other RAF mem­bers. It is in­ter­est­ing to learn that while Prime Min­is­ters Bald­win and Cham­ber­lain are of­ten con­sid­ered as ap­peasers, much of the tech­nol­ogy of the Bat­tle...Hur­ri­canes, Spitfires, and radar...were funded un­der their watch. As ex­pected, Nazi in­com­pe­tence and ig­no­rance was a huge part of why the Luft­waffe could never wipe out the RAF, but it was in­ter­est­ing to read just how in­com­pe­tent they ac­tu­ally were. (For ex­am­ple, Ger­man in­tel­li­gence made no ef­fort to con­duct any hu­man in­tel­li­gence with re­gard to Fighter Com­mand air sta­tions.) Sadly, Korda makes a few bloop­ers when it comes to avi­a­tion, both in the photo sec­tion and on the dust jacket: a flight of Bf-109s are iden­ti­fied as Bf -110s, Keith Park is pic­tured in a Har­vard, not his per­sonal Hur­ri­cane as the au­thor sug­gests, a photo of a Hur­ri­cane and Spit­fire was not taken dur­ing the Bat­tle, no mat­ter what the

cap­tion says, and the Hur­ri­cane was not an all metal fighter as iden­ti­fied on the dust jacket. While not an in-depth study of the air­craft or air­crew that fought on the front lines, this is a good in­tro­duc­tion to the Bat­tle and the be­hind the scenes pol­i­tics on both sides of the channel.

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