Peter Hart's work will be well known to many of those reading this review, for he has become a prolific author on Great War subjects. He is in an enviable position, for as Oral Historian at the Imperial War Museum he has access to the rich collection of material there and uses it to great effect in this, as in his previous books. (If you are interested, Peter is a very entertaining speaker on the subject too, so if you have the chance and have not heard him, do).
Not too many works on the air war have concentrated on the dramatic year of 1918 . This is rather curious, as we see the emergence of co-ordinated "all arms" fighting where the air component was key to the ground war. This is no longer about individual heroes like Ball, great circuses of scouts engaged in deadly combat, and honourable regard for the enemy. Air war in 1918 was more about interdiction, ground strafing and tactical battlefield bombing, strategic bombing of the enemy's industries and sheer, grinding, crushing, stress.
Peter provides an intelligent framework: it is the men of the air forces that do the talking, for this book is laced throughout with quotes. They are taken in the main from the IWM collection, the Peter Liddle Personal Experience Collection at Leeds and from the RAF Museum. For some reason, W&N chose to print the quotes in a grey bold text which is not easy to read by bedside lamp, but the words are powerful, emotional and insightful.
Even at full cover price this is well worth a read. It should appeal to the mildly interested as well as more serious air buffs . Great stuff.