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Hurricane: Victor of the Battle of Britain [Paperback]

Leo McKinstry
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

6 Jan 2011

In the summer of 1940 the fate of Europe hung in the balance. Victory in the forthcoming air battle would mean national survival; defeat would establish German tyranny.

The Luftwaffe greatly outnumbered the RAF, but during the Battle of Britain it was the RAF that emerged triumphant, thanks to two key fighter planes, the Spitfire and the Hurricane. The Hurricane made up over half of Fighter Command's front-line strength, and its revolutionary design transformed the RAF's capabilities.    


Leo McKinstry tells the story of the remarkable plane from its designers to the first-hand testimonies of those brave pilots who flew it; he takes in the full military and political background but always keeps the human stories to the fore - to restore the Hawker Hurricane to its rightful place in history.

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Hurricane: Victor of the Battle of Britain + Spitfire: Portrait of a Legend + Lancaster: The Second World War's Greatest Bomber
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; 1st Paperback Printing edition (6 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848543417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848543416
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Superb volume . . . great merit of [his] style . . . enthralling . . .' (Literary Review)

A superb volume . . . The great merit of McKinstry's style is that he skilfully mixes the story of the machines with those of the men behind them... enthralling (Literary Review)

As with his earlier books McKinstry interweaves the engineering lore and red-tape disputes behind the aircraft's manufacturing history with first-hand descriptions of its reliability and effectiveness. The tale he has to tell is a powerful one, like the Hurricane itself but once again he has proved himself an ace at the controls (Daily Express)

'Superb' (Saul David, Daily Telegraph)

'McKinstry is brilliant at bringing to life the tales of these machines for a new generation. His book is both worthy tribute and a genuinely page-turning read' (News of the World)

Here the author does for the Hurricane what he has already done for the Spitfire, reminding us of the crucial role that the Hawker Hurricane played in the Battle of Britain...Leo McKinstry is particularly good on the 'bullish' character of Sidney Camm, the Hurricane's designer (Sunday Telegraph)

McKinstry's case is persuasive (Daily Mail)

'Those interested in the history of aviation, and the Second World War more generally, will be delighted with Leo McKinstry's latest book. This is a beautifully crafted and thoroughly researched study of the Hurricane's role . . . One particular strength of the book is that it sets the narrative of the Hurricane's development against the contextual backdrop of the era. Another is that it sheds a light on a cross section of people who were involved with its development and employment, not least its designer, Sit Sydney Camm...Hurricane is a compelling read, and has done precisely what it set out to achieve: to restore the Hurricane to its rightful place in the story of the Second World War' (BBC History)

Book Description

The biography of the aeroplane that won the Battle of Britain, for the seventieth anniversary

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author really knows the aircraft he writes about. This book is complementary to his previous well researched publication of the 'Spitfire'.
Perhaps it is understandable that the 'Hurricane' should follow the 'Spitfire' because this is the general view. Few realise that the Hurricane was statistically the more successful of the two aircraft during the Battle of Britain, and had advantages over the Spitfire as the author stresses. Perhaps it was the development limitations in the subsequent period of the War that helped to endorse this rather biased image in the public mind.
This is a highly readable acount of the development of the aircraft and the people involved with the operations. It is essential reading for anyone who has even a mild interest in military history and particularly events in the Second World War.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The plane that saved Britain 24 Jan 2011
By John Middleton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
There is an old saying to the effect that quantity has a quality all of its own, and this was never proved better than by the performance of the Hawker Hurricane during the Battle of Britain. While the Hurricane was slower than the Spitfire - and the German Bf109 - it was rugged, stable, and best of all, available in numbers. While the Spitfire was without a doubt the better plane, it was difficult to build and repair, while the Hurricane was comparatively easy to construct - while it looked a modern monoplane fighter, it was built in the fashion of the older planes of the early 1930's.

McKinstry follows up on his earlier studies of the Spitfire and Lancaster, subtitiling the volume "the plane that won the Battle of Britain". That assertion is at least arguably correct: without the Hurricane available in numbers, with Spitfire production lagging behind orders, the outcome in 1940 might have been different indeed. But it is also clear that 1940 was the high-water mark for the Hurri as a fighter plane": after that it was used as a ground attack plane with tank-busting cannon, bombs and rockets, and in theatres outside Europe, such as North Africa, Malta and Burma, and as a catapult plane fired off merchantmen in the mid-Atlantic with no landing strip to return to!

Most of this book is about the Battle, and the role the Hurricane played. Prior to that, its development is run through and post-1940 the story is one of decline and obsolescence, at least in the role it was designed for. There are testimonials from pilots about the reliability and sturdiness of the Hurrincane, to which many owe their life. Some pilots preferred Hurricane to Spitfire, and explain why.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hurricane - overlooked by history 18 April 2011
The story of the Hurricane has been told many times and I have read much about it but this book brings all of the background and the politics around the development of the aircraft and sets it in the context of the times. The Hurricane is always overlooked by history, undeservedly so, and this book corrects many of the myths. The book describes the relationship between all of the main players in history leading up to, and through the War. It should be read by all of those who believe that there was only one fighter in the Battle of Britain.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurricane 21 Aug 2010
By Brian
An excellent book especially at this anniversary.It moves it out of the shadow of the Spitfire.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars JFEssex 5 Aug 2010
By John
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
'Hurricane' is repetitive and not as well researched as it should be.For example the huge role of Sir Thomas Sopwith in the inception and production of this Battle Winner, which saved our Country, is scarcely mentioned.
Likewise the practice of the controllers to 'vector' the fighters onto the SAME course as the incoming bombers is not explained; head-on meetings were the exception, while the book implies that they were normal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 4 Mar 2012
Leo McKinstry's aviation books offer possibly the most balanced view of his topics . Unlike many others they spend as much time discussing the the political, operational and manufacturing backgrounds as the do the merits of the specific plane. I learnt lots of new things here - even that Chamberlain wasn't the complete fool that propaganda of the time misled us to believe.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok but a bit much of a muchness 7 Nov 2010
By Robtt
Oh dear, having read Spitfire and Lancaster I begin to see a sameness to the authors books . Really they.and I mean all his aircraft works,lack technical detail and depth of knowledge. I did not buy the book to get a potted history of WW2 air history and a lot of padding .Not a good buy
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hurricane victor of the battle of britain 6 April 2011
excellent well written book, I thought I know a great deal about subject as its part of my hobby but there was a great deal of extra info in this book
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars famous fighter
I am reading this paperback at the moment. Like the Spitfire volume this is a very well researched history covering the original thoughts and design studies and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by manxman
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last the Hurricane Appreciated
I really enjoyed Leo McKinstry's book as I have been an admirer of the Hurricane for decades. I have read many books and articles about the Hurricane being compared with the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ayrshire Davy
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
As a long time aviation fan, from airfix models to joining the ATC Air Training Corps and generally being a lover of flying all my life I found this a very informative and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mr. M. Regan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great history of the Hawker Hurricane
Great history of the Hawker Hurricane
Years ago I read Paul Gallico's early book on the Hawker Hurricane. Read more
Published 20 months ago by John Gough
5.0 out of 5 stars hurricane: victor of the battle of britain
this book is brilliant! as i already knew a lot about the spitfire i decided to read about the hurricane. i was really impressed with this book. Read more
Published on 16 Jun 2012 by bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Few
Hurricane, one of the three books of Leo Mc KINSTRY explains the saga of the king of the Battle of Britain. Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2012 by tonio
5.0 out of 5 stars xmas gift
Great xmas gift for airplane nut. Book arrived quickly despite xmas rush, service very efficient, it's exactly as described and was well packed. Read more
Published on 1 Jan 2012 by budgie11
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Tribute.
This is a magnificent book and pays full and proper tribute to the Hawker Hurricane and those who flew her. Thoroughly recomended.
Published on 17 Mar 2011 by Terry
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Hubby and his Hurricane
I bought this book for my husband as he has always had a great interest in Hurricanes (I prefer Spitfires), although he wasn't born until well after the war. Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2011 by Mrs. J. Stewart
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