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4.7 out of 5 stars69
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 4 November 2006
Although not quite as good or anywhere near as long as First Light by Geoffrey Wellum, I couldn't put this book down and, as with Geoffrey Wellum's excellent book, was sorry to finish it. They both paint a very vivid picture of what it was to be a fighter pilot in run up to the summer of 1940. The wonderful freedom and exhilaration they felt during training, the edge of the seat descriptions of aerial combat and their extremely moving thoughts when one of them fails to return - in Spitfire Pilot there seems so many.

Spitfire Pilot ended far too quickly unfortunately, as did the life of it's author, which is what makes this such a poignant read.
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on 27 March 2009
By the time of his death in action later in the war, David Crook was credited with 12 confirmed victories. His book is evocative of the immediate period of the Battle of Britain. Not one of the better-known aces or Wing Leaders, Crook's book reads as a diary, though how he had the time or energy to do so at the time beggars belief. Basically it is the story 'from the cockpit' and reads all the better for it. I commend it to all serious students of the Battle of Britain.
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on 18 June 2009
David Crook's "Spitfire Pilot" has deservedly been republished so that a new generation of readers can enjoy his fine memoir. This is an engaging read and Crook's likeable personality is apparent throughout. "Spitfire Pilot" is a great look at the life of a Battle of Britain pilot, with expert descriptions of the exhilaration and terror of air combat, the sadness of loss, and all aspects of life of an active fighter pilot at this pivotal point of British history. A great read and one which will be enjoyed by aviation enthusiasts and the curious alike.
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on 16 August 2014
I came across a second-hand copy of the original wartime edition many years ago, and treasured it.
As other reviewers have briefly noted, this is a clear account of some of the fighting during the Battle of Britain by one of the Few.
As far as I am aware, David Crook was later killed in action.
What the other reviewers do not mention is that this book was a companion volume to others in a series that were specially commissioned during World War II.
I believe that some experienced service men were given special leave, while assigned the task of writing about their combat experiences.
Leonard Cheshire was taken off flying duties after completing a tour of operations flying Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley twin-engine bombers, and another tour flying Handley-Page Halifax four-engine bombers.
He wrote "Bomber Pilot".
His tail-gunner was also set the task of writing, and the result was "Tail Gunner".
(Later, of course, Cheshire commanded the famous 617 Squadron known as "The Dam Busters", and later still was an observer at the bombing of Nagasaki, and became a major charity worker.)
Similarly, Guy Gibson, after the success of the Dam Busting raid with 671 Squadron, was taken of active duties and wrote "Enemy Coast Ahead", which outlined his experiences leading up to the Dams raid, Operation Chastise.
Also, Ginger Lacey wrote "Hurricane Pilot".
(On his own initiative, rather than as an official assignment, Richard Hillary wrote "The Last Enemy", his story of his university days, experiences as a Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain, and the consequences of plastic surgery after being shot down in a burning plane.)
These authors are the prose counterpart to Official War Artists, and give personal insight into the Official Histories.
John Gough - Deakin University (retired) - jagough49@gmail.com
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on 7 August 2010
I have read many accounts of Spitfire contribution to the war effort and have followed the history of the plane for many years (I am 83). This account is alive and written from a different perspective that is interesting and takes you to the battle zones. There are times when you feel you are in the cockpit as you read this diary.

Great piece of work and should be compulsory reading to all schoolchildren
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on 17 September 2009
This book is the result of diary entries by the author during the Battle of Britian period and altough it cannot be compared to "First Light" it does cover the experiences of the time both in combat and at play. It is certainly worth a read.
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on 25 May 2009
great book in memory of the "so few" who have made what I'm doing right now possible.
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on 17 June 2012
This book is a very well written diary of events in the life of David Crook DFC, a Spitfire pilot during WW2. It is very easy to read and gives a very true to life description of what it was like to fly a Spitfire during this time. A very enjoyable read and recommended for anyone who is interested in WW2 flying stories.
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on 1 June 2012
Written in the modest style of the times I found this book very moving. For anyone who enjoys reading about the Battle of Britain this is a most excellent read.
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on 16 April 2013
A truly wonderful book, very well written about a pilot who flew through an epic era of aviation & wartime flying, highly recommended reading.
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