Another Battle of Britain book? Yes...and a worthwhile addition to that crowded shelf.
Fighter Boys takes the pilot's view of the aerial war of 1940 and succeeds in painting an eloquent and often harrowing picture of what it was like for those who fought. As far as history is concerned, Bishop has nothing much new to say, but this gives him space to concentrate on the human tales of both sides, RAF and Luftwaffe.
Patrick Bishop's greatest strength is his keen understanding of the RAF's history and mentality, and he does a fine job of explaining its complex attitude to rank, nationality, individualism and class.
My main criticism is that the technical dimension is neglected. While the book contains many insights into the lives of the pilots and ground crew of Fighter Command - and deals well with the question of how RAF tactics compared with those of the Luftwaffe - it omits a great deal of the technical detail that actually bound together the lives and experiences of those involved. I'm thinking of aircraft manufacture, testing, maintenance and armament; flying techniques and pet modifications favoured by the pilots; the detection of enemy aircraft; and airborne communication and ground control, both at day and at night.
But this book is really very good: humane, balanced and compelling. If you are already widely read on the subject of the Battle of Britain, you will find much of interest. If on the other hand you are new to the subject, this book will provide an excellent and balanced overview and will spark off new and rewarding lines of further reading.