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Spitfire: The Biography Hardcover – 12 Oct 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; 1st Edition edition (12 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843545276
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843545279
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.9 x 22 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`Elegant and meticulously researched... an authoritative and
comprehensive tribute to a unique aircraft.' -- Adrian Swire, Spectator

`Hugely entertaining, SPITFIRE is told with the passion and style
that this most iconic of aircraft deserves.' -- James Holland, author of FORTRESS MALTA

`Stylishly written and entertainingly told, SPITFIRE is a real
treasure-trove of fascinating anecdote... A wonderful book.' -- Rowland White

`Superbly readable.' -- Giles Whittell, The Times

About the Author

Jonathan Glancey is the architecture and design editor of the Guardian. He is also a pilot. A frequent broadcaster, his books include The Story of Architecture and The Train: an illustrated history.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Norman on 17 Oct 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that I read in a weekend and could not put it down. Yes it compares the Spitfire with other aircraft of its generation, but it is this comparison that brings out the genius that was R.J Mitchells masterpiece.

The book deals with all aspects of the Spitfire and where the auther thinks criticism is justified it is levelled. It does however look at the legacy not just of the aircraft itself but the whole aura that surrounds it.

If you have an interest in WW2 aircraft, in that period of our countries history or you are a bulge baby like me you will love this book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Seasideman on 30 Sep 2006
Format: Hardcover
The main thing to be aware of when considering the purchase of this book is that a substantial section of this book is not about the spitfire aircraft as such. About 40% of the book is about other fighter aircraft contemporary with the spitfire or about the spitfire in comics and films. Had the title made this clearer, there would not have been much to gripe about. The content of the book appears detailed and well-researched with information I had not seen before. Not a bad buy but not what you might have expected.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jon Latimer on 1 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback
Jonathan Glancey's enthusiastic and energetic account of perhaps the world's most famous aeroplane is full of boyish affection for its subject.

The aeroplane's story is, naturally, bound up with that of the people who created and flew it. R. J. Mitchell is famous as its designer, but he died aged just 42 in 1937, and he never got to see what his child would become - probably the most famous aircraft in the world, even today. But although the Spitfire remains synonymous with the Battle of Britain, one of its most remarkable aspects is its longevity. In various marks and roles it dominated aerial warfare not only during the Second World War, but even as the jet age began, serving on both sides in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. This evolution was primarily down to another great engineer, Joseph `Joe' Smith, who worked on it right up to its final production in 1947.

The book describes the aircraft's prewar development in some detail, although the truth is that in 1940 the tough and durable Hurricane was responsible for more German aircraft downed. But the Spitfire was faster and more agile, more glamourous, and inevitably Luftwaffe crew would claim to have been shot down by a Spitfire whatever the reality. Although near contemporaries, the Spitfire was the modern plane and represented the future. The affection it inspired is summed up by one of the Battle of Britain's greatest pilots, the South African Adolf `Sailor' Malan. `She had no vices. She was beautifully positive. You could dive till your eyes were popping out of your head ... she would still answer to the touch.' She was, says the author, `a winged spirit of ecstasy'.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Keith McAllister on 26 Nov 2007
Format: Paperback
When I bought this book on a whim it was for the purpose of gaining some trivial knowledge of an aircraft which I only had a vague interest in. I needed it to inspire me towards writing an article I had volunteered to work on, which would demand at least a basic concept of the aircraft.

Not taking too long about it I compared the book to a dozen or so others about the Spitfire, and most of these had me yawning in no time. It was definitely the pick of the bunch, and I'm sorry to see it getting less than great revues.

Can we agree then that Glancey is a good writer, and the fact that I couldn't stop turning the pages and now want to learn more about the Spitfire is proof enough from a reader's perspective? I don't care if he mentions a pile of information only vaguely linked to the aircraft itself, it added to the book!!! I love the history lessons, the putting into context, the admiration and infatuation obviously felt by the author.......... When reading about a legend I expect some good story telling and not just pure academics.

If you want to know about a Spitfire purely from a mechanical point of view then buy a Spitfire! If you want to learn more about why this aircraft has become so much more than a plane in the eyes of romantic historians feel assured when buying this book. Enjoy!

I've given it five stars because it deserves a bit more than the continues stream of 3 stars everyone else seems to have given it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Howe on 26 May 2008
Format: Paperback
If you took all the books ever written about the Spitfire and laid them end-to-end you'd only have to go and pick them all up again, but what you would appreciate is that there've been one helluva lot of `em; good, bad and indifferent. Here's another, and it immediately begs the question; what can there be left to say? Not much, as it turns out, but it's the way the story is told that sets this missive apart. The author reveals a quite unabashed affection for the subject of his `biography'. I bought this book because I wanted to understand the phenomenon that the Spit has become, why so many seem to swoon in its presence or wipe a tear when it flies overhead. It gets to me too and I want to understand why! All the book really did was show me I'm not alone.

It certainly made a nice change from the cold, factual histories anyhow...
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