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R J Mitchell: Schooldays to Spitfire
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2011
This is the definitive book, the required reading, the most informative book for people who want to know what RJ Mitchell, designer of the famous Spitfire, was really like. This should be no surprise as the author, Gordon Mitchell, is the son of the great man. R.J.Mitchell was certainly no Leslie Howard, the famous film star who played Mitchell in the film First of The Few. Mitchell was a broard-shouldered active man who loved sport. Famous for his no nonsense power of concentration when faced with a problem and his beaming smile when it had been solved.

His life is traced from his aprenticeship in a steam-loco works in Stoke-on-Trent to his major works at the Supermarine aircraft factory in Southampton. If you are interested in the design of the aircraft that he designed at Supermarine, twenty-five in all, first seaplanes like the Walrus, his problems with the Schneider Trophy winning aircraft, then the Spitfire and the bomber designed to be faster than the Spitfire, nothing is held back, his triumphs, his disasters, his visits to Vienna and his later illness - read this book.

George Mountford
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2009
Britain was Great and people like RJ put the Great there. We probably have inventors today that deserve recognition but do not get it. The Spitfire is iconic and deservedly so. Not everybody will be familiar with its designer or the tragic circumstances in which the Spitfire development unfolded. This book will serve to highlight the earlier work of RJ and set out just how advanced and brilliant he was. Just remember as you read this, what his age was as he achieved things and what he was going through at the time. Then think of todays people that age. Remarkable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2010
A little repetitive in places but a thorough covering of the titled objectives. First Class. Not enough about the later development of the Spitfire but that shouldn't be expected from the title.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2009
I don't need the recommended max of 300 words. During the war we lived near Castle Bromwich and Merlin engines were a familiar sound, never to be forgotten. Since then, Spitfire books have multiplied but "Schooldays to Spitfire" is such a personal record. Sorry to lapse into cliche but anyone who has Spitfire books on the shelf needs this one.
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on 19 May 2011
From his superb tea making skills as an apprentice engineer, designing Schneider trophy winning machines, and ultimately to his design of the most historically significant fighter plane of the 21st century, R.J Mitchell's sadly short life is covered here in detail. What makes the detail even more special and accurate is that it is written by his only son, Gordon. There is a high level of detail on both R.J and his magnificent designs.

What an amazing tribute this book is to R.J. Any Dad would be proud to have their son write a book about them - especially a book that so much effort and skill has gone into.

Schooldays to Spitfire is a well written biography on R.J. It is entertaining and highly interesting and should be essential reading for anyone with interest in the Spitfire.

Thank you for the book Gordon. It is men like your father who put the `Great' in Great Britain.

Winston Bugle, author of Bobby on the Run
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2013
This is an interesting book as it throws more light on Mitchell's background, but oddly enough doesn't really cover in too much detail his masterpiece, the Spitfire, more on the earlier flying boats. Still worth reading.
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on 18 October 2010
Given that the author is of the Mitchell family, this has to be one, if not THE most comprehensive volume about this shy genius who remains forgotten to a major degree. Even when the country commemorates [as it did recently] the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, his name remains unmentioned. The book is a sheer joy to read for anybody interested in Second WW history as well as the life of the man who was instumental in ensuring this country remained free during the dark days of 1940, yet tragically, never lived long enough to see the fruits of his labours.
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on 2 September 2013
Having seen the Kenneth More film many times, then reading the book,Paul Brickhill's writing reads more like a movie script where direct inverted comas speech is concerned. I commend the film maker for keeping close to the book, although the book has more content of events. A really good read . Douglas Bader gives commendations to other pilots and helped other amputees live with their disabilities.
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on 12 June 2015
depends what you want from the book. Unfortunately for me as a general interest reader, too much in depth engineering and technical stuff, so a lot was skipped. The other parts were good!
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on 20 November 2012
An excellent book, giving many historical details about the life of RJ Mitchell.
I'm using it as part of a family history project, exploring the possibility of a family link!
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