Owing to the fact that this book was first published in 1949, it is free of the potential accretions and distortions of time. This book not only discusses the air war from a Polish viewpoint, but also other aspects of WWII.
The canard about the Polish Air Force getting destroyed on the ground on the first day of the 1939 war by the Luftwaffe is debunked. In fact, 53% of the Polish Air Force planes and personnel were still intact on September 7, 1939 and 10% of the same were intact as late as September 14. (p. 14). Interestingly, many evacuated Polish planes and pilots lingered near the Polish-Romanian border. This fueled suspicion that, had there been no Soviet stab in Poland's back, the Polish Army would have awaited resupply through Romania, and re-entered southeastern Poland in order to continue fighting the Germans. (p. 15).
The crucial Polish participation in the Battle of Britain is described in considerable detail. The Marshall of the Royal Air Force, Viscount Portal of Hungerford, commented: "The Poles proved themselves splendid airmen: adaptable, resourceful and highly skilled as aircrews and ground staffs." (p. v). In time, Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris said: "The courage and determination of the Polish aircrews has always been of the very highest order, ably sustained by the tireless and skilful work of the ground staffs." (p. 174).
It has nowadays been argued that none of the Soviet Gulags were as bad as the Nazi death camps; that there was no Soviet Gulag to which admission virtually guaranteed death. Tell that to those who were actually there. Of 20,000 Poles toiling in the deadly lead mines of Kolyma, only several hundred were (barely) alive just over a year later, and of these less than 20 survived for a significant length of time. Out of a camp in northern Novaya Zemlya came only ONE survivor, and even he soon died afterwards. (p. 29).
Polish airmen continued to participate in all phases of the air war against Germany. On December 31, 1942, the Polish aircrew shot down their 500th German plane. (p. 77). Poles took part in major air raids against German cities, such as Cologne, Bremen, and the big firestorm-raising raid on Hamburg in July 1943. (pp. 150-151).
This work provides fascinating details about the Polish discovery of the secret of the German V-2 rocket, including the smuggling to England, aboard a flimsy plane, of a crashed V-2 rocket's steering mechanism. (p. 151-on). Unexpectedly, a German unit had shown up less than a mile away from where the Dakota plane first landed. It was too late to postpone the maneuver. Talk about adventure!
There are also descriptions of Polish pilots involved in airdrops to Polish guerrillas in German-occupied Poland. This includes the herculean efforts to render aid to the distant, Soviet-betrayed Warsaw Uprising.
The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III (near Sagan) is described from a general as well as Polish viewpoint. (p. 158, 249-252). A Polish engineer, Mickiewicz, designed at least one of the "traps" of the three tunnels. Among the 76 escapees were 6 Poles: Kiewnarski, Kolanowski, Mondszajn, Krol, Pawluk, and Tobolski. (p. 251). All but 3 of the 76 escapees were recaptured, and 50 of these were shot by the Gestapo. While some recaptured British airmen were spared and some were not, ALL of the Polish escapees (in fact, all of the Slavic escapees) were murdered by the Germans. (Clearly, we can see, the Germans did not only single out Jews for worse treatment).
One of the Polish airmen participating in the controversial Feb. 13-14, 1945 bombing of Dresden expressed his feelings at the recent news of the Churchill-Roosevelt Teheran-Yalta betrayal of Poland: "Lwow (Lviv), which was never a Russian city, by an arbitrary decision, is handed over to Russia!... Half of Poland has been handed over as a gift. The other half has been has been condemned to compulsory incorporation within the `eastern sphere of influence' just as if it were some desert island in the Arctic, or a piece of the Sahara." (p. 169).
Towards the end of the war, the Germans developed the Me-262 jet aircraft. It was faster than any of the planes that the Allies had up to that time. It is therefore interesting to read how a Polish crew put their propeller-driven Mustang plane into a dive in order to temporarily match the speed of an Me-262 jet and to shoot it down. In fact, the Poles, at that time, shot down 4 Me262 planes. (p. 94).