The TSR 2, a doomed bomber project, was perhaps the poster boy of the decline and fall of the British aviation industry in the latter half of the 20th century. For those who love aircraft, it was a strikingly beautiful shape, wrapped around intricate systems and advanced technology aimed at a demanding technical specification. It showed every promise of being a true pilot's aircraft and achieving performance targets which few aircraft types would achieve even today. The other side of the coin was a mix of wishful thinking, over-reaching, messy compromise and muddled planning. The aircraft project could well have ruined its manufacturers, and possibly the nation, had it been permitted to continue. It had the misfortune to exist (fleetingly) at a time when the technology (especially electronic) which it needed was in its relative infancy and when the military-industrial complex which sponsored it was undergoing a rapid decline. This led to over-reliance on premature technologies in an environment where the inevitable cost over-runs were not sustainable.
This book is, I think, as close as possible to the definitive analysis. It could be misjudged by its lurid cover showing a hypothetical scene of the TSR 2 having failed in its avowed aim of deterrance (a scene which the author himself seems slightly embarrassed about at page 296). In fact the book appears to be the result of intense and intelligent research, marshalled together by an author who (perhaps assisted by the detachment which almost half a century brings) shows objectivity and judgment which has perhaps been lacking up until now. The evident depth of research is impressive. From the origins of the operational requirement to the dismal end of the project, with political in-fighting (both in Parliament and among the Services), technical setbacks and desperate attempts to cut costs and fight off other contenders, the whole story is told in depth and with judgment. The text is accompanied by photographs and diagrams (a mix of contemporary drawings and those produced especially for this book) which, again, perfectly illustrate the points which need to be made. Much like the aircraft it portrays, the book as a whole is a beautiful thing.
Criticisms are minor - the cover is unfortunate, as already mentioned. For this reviewer, a set of comparisons would have been nice. A constant theme of the book (and the project) was the TSR 2's struggle at the design, prototype and projected development stage to meet the targets of runway performance, low-level flight, speed at altitude and low-level, combat radius and warload. But these seem to be portrayed only against the somewhat arbitrary target. A comparison of what the TSR 2 was realistically likely to have achieved as against the aircraft it would have replaced or supplanted (the Canberra and the V-Bombers), its competitors (the Mirage IV, Buccaneer, A6, A5 and the F-111) and the aircraft which could have or eventually did take its place (the AFVG, UKVG, Tornado and Strike Eagle) would have been informative. But these are relatively minor criticisms, and if these comparisons had been included, no doubt something else of value and interest would have had to go.
In summary, if you only buy one TSR 2 book, without doubt, buy this one.