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on 17 November 2002
Few books can safely be called definitive - this is one of them. Shacklady and Morgan's magnum opus covers the history of the Spitfire in minute detail, showing not only the what but the why of every design change and modification. The book is at its strongest when covering all of the various marks of the Spit, and in the comprehensive listing of every Spitfire ever built - over 20,000 individual entries!
Its weak points? Well, one isn't really a weak point, more a matter of emphasis - if you're looking for stirring tales of combat, this isn't the book for you. It's far more concerned with the technical aspects of the design than in recounting all the details of its combat career. That's not really a problem, because the book states up front what it is about, and sticks to it. The only real weak point is that the quality of the photos in the Key edition is not as high as in the first edition, but as it's about half the price, that's a perfectly acceptable trade-off in my view.
If you have any interest in the greatest fighter ever built, this book is a must.
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on 13 November 2000
This is an exceptionally well documented book. Eric Morgan and Edward Shacklady have undoubtedly had access to a unique collection of Supermarine company records, including much correspondence to and from official sources at relevant times during the design and development stages of this much developed aircraft. They have made full use of the material at their disposal to produce what must be as definitive a history of the Spitfire as is ever likely to be written. A book so lavishly documented from many original sources poses in itself a problem for the reviewer or a writer of forewords insofar that it is virtually impossible to check such a wealth of detailed information. Many of the illustrations are unique. It would be possible to criticise the book on many grounds that sometimes it tends to get bogged down under its own weight of detail and perhaps misses some of the broader interpretations. However the authors are to be congratulated on a most comprehensive and detailed history of the Spitfire. It is there for those who care to study it .It is not a book for light reading, but will be an essential on the shelves of serious aviaition historians, and anyone who wishes to study and be well informed about this remarkable aircraft which was by any standards a great national achievement.
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on 27 July 2003
The most informative book on the subject i have seen, a complete list of every Spitfire ever built and lists of varients and modifications. A book for the technically minded who wants more than a lot of glossy pictures and not much content. If it has to do with Spitfires you will find it in this book.
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on 21 March 2001
The research behind this book is exemplary; the detail delicious in its depth. If it's not in here then it's probably been reported inaccuratly somewhere else. Simply outstanding. Once again the experts at Key Publishing have found the best to help them produce the best. BUY IT.
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on 24 March 2016
Just received this book so I've only flicked through and read the prologue so far. Generally I would go along with the other positive & negative comments made by other reviewers. I'd add that what initially stands out to me, as is a disappoinntment, is the poor standard of writing / editing. Right from the preface (e.g. " would be not be possible..") there are errors; additional words, wrong words, sentences that don't make sense, missing spaces etc. Maybe it will improve in the main content. Also when reading about various aircraft in the prologue, you often have to go to another page to see illustrations of it, so the layout could be improved. The book was costly enough 2nd hand, certainly I would expect a book currently retailing at £240 to be better produced - I hope the facts & figures are more accurate. Maybe it's a factor of it being a pre-digital age publication...
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on 27 August 2007
you want a book on the spitfire then get this one every single varaint of the spitfire is in here has well has color pictures exellent for the modeller this is a very large book and very heavy 5kg and 3inch thick
hope this helps
get one book on the spit this is it you dont require anymore books
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on 19 March 2009
After a discussion on Internet about the ceiling of Spitfire 1, my correspondent recommended me this book, I quote "It's worth every penny you pay for it" - and it is. Since my boyhood, I've been interested in WW2 history in general, Battle of Britain in particular, I've 5 or 6 books dealing with the latter. But the technical aspects were mostly missing, and this book filled a gap.

Best regards,

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on 13 February 2015
The spitfire bible- expensive but good for the real enthusiast
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