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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How much we owe, and to whom.
A candid account of Alex Henshaw's leadership of the Castle Bromwich flight test pilots. Written transparently. The heroism of the test pilots, the remarkable quest for quality in the Spitfire, the aggressive sense of urgency in delivering both Spitfires and Lancasters for the defeat of Hitler and his perverted science, all are the more apparent upon reflection after...
Published on 15 Feb. 2000

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spitfire heaven
Henshaw was a key person in testing Spitfires, mainly at Castle Bromwich. The book is well written and it's essential reading if you have any interest in the Spitfire. Nonetheless, Henshaw does not come across well - he seems arrogant and petty as he outlines the various disputes he had with people who crossed his path. He was clearly an exceptional pilot but Jeffrey...
Published 19 months ago by Zigerastica


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How much we owe, and to whom., 15 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
A candid account of Alex Henshaw's leadership of the Castle Bromwich flight test pilots. Written transparently. The heroism of the test pilots, the remarkable quest for quality in the Spitfire, the aggressive sense of urgency in delivering both Spitfires and Lancasters for the defeat of Hitler and his perverted science, all are the more apparent upon reflection after having read this book. We are left to make our own deductions, and those deductions leave us with an abiding respect.
This account rings true. The lessons learned and the characters met are being learned and met today. A thoroughly enjoyable book to read, and one that will repay study.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Grace we fly, 6 Jan. 2001
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This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
This book should be read by all Spitfire lovers.This book can only be described as an enthralling account not of one test pilot but all.This man made one of the best contributions any single person could have made between the years of 1940-1945 to that of Spitfire Aviation. With a total of 37000 test flights and every one could have so easily have been his last. His product knowledge shines through as the sun shines through the clouds, and his acrobatic style and ease of which he flew these birds of the sky, saved his life on many occasions. Many people have said " The book I am reading at the moment is so good I just don't want to put it down", being a local man not two mile away from the Airfield I must agree. The man's precence can be felt around you as you are reading, you fly as he flies, panic as he does at the thought of a crash landing and share the sheer power of the plane. BUY IT ! You will not put it down.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sigh for a Merlin, 4 July 2010
This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
What a wonderful book this is.
Alex Henshaw's story makes fascinating reading as he not only portrays first-hand what it meant to test fly one of the most wonderful aircraft of all time, but weaves through the story what living and working were like in war time England.
He was clearly a most outstandingly capable pilot and a sound leader of men, able to command the complete respect and dedication from his team of equally gifted flyers.
One cannot read this book without gaining the greatest admiration for efforts of the British aircraft industry during WWII and especially for two of its best prodigy, the Spitfire and Lancaster.
Henshaw outlines his feelings on just how finely balanced the outcome of the War was in those early years and his own attitude his work in those dark days deserves the highest commendation.
This book is a must for anyone interested in the development of the mighty Spitfire and its special place in the history of the Second World War.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Spitfire Story, 21 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
Its an over used word these days but Mr Henshaw was (and always will be in my mind) a true legend.
I had the honour of meeting him a few months before his death and was amazed at what a humble, intelligent and funny person he was. Spitfires have always been a subject close to my heart and to read Mr Henshaw's book (strangely in his voice after meeting him - does anyone else find themselves doing that?) is a real insight into the development of this iconic aircraft.
I immediately went off and watched "First of the Few" the film about R J Mitchell the Spitfire designer. Its not exactly a documentary given its 1942 propaganda film origins and its inaccuracies, but I just wanted to hear that iconic Merlin song that Mr Henshaw was so enamoured of.
Anyone who flies or even has a passing interest in aviation should read this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sigh for a Merlin, 15 Nov. 2009
By 
James Curnock (Scotland, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
Alex Henshaw was a gifted and brilliant pilot of his time. If you have a soft spot for Spitfire's, Lancaster's amongst many other fantastic aircraft of the era then this book will be a simply brilliant read.
Very well written and very interesting, it will leave you with many thoughts on the subject for the most part encompassing WWII, and how inspirational individuals raised the moral and spirit's of an initially beaten nation to one of every single man, woman, boy ,girl, old, young - all did their bit for the War, and how each and everyone of them pulled in the same direction when it mattered most.
My family all served, and for my part I have served this fine country. This book is extremely interesting in that it shows what anyone who has specialised in any branch of the armed forces would recognise - that the civilian sector, namely the specialised industries - teach and enable the military to operate at a much higher level and understanding.
A brilliant book, don't think about getting it - just get it, it will be a book you'll be extremely happy with!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff from a great man, 4 Feb. 2013
By 
C. Wright "freethinker" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
I cannot see anybody who is interested in Henshaw, or aviation of this era, being disappointed by this. To those in the know, Henshaw is one of aviation's revered figures, and this book is exactly what you'd want - a fascinating insight by the man who was there at the sharp end. Printed with the photos within the text, not grouped separately, which always makes for an easier read. Goes well with: Spitfire: A Test Pilot's Story
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spitfire heaven, 8 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
Henshaw was a key person in testing Spitfires, mainly at Castle Bromwich. The book is well written and it's essential reading if you have any interest in the Spitfire. Nonetheless, Henshaw does not come across well - he seems arrogant and petty as he outlines the various disputes he had with people who crossed his path. He was clearly an exceptional pilot but Jeffrey Quill comes across as much the more impressive individual in his own account.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sigh for a Merlin, 3 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
Good content, beautifully presented, thought was told very clearly and succinctly. Held the interest totally. Was told by recipient it was factually correct,, which was quite an accolade from a flight nut.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Man, 12 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
A wonderful book and a must for anyone with an interest in aviation, past or present. There is no doubt that Alex Henshaw was in love with flying and in that relationship the Spitfire was his mistress.
Apart all the technical information abut the `great plane you would expect and hope for, the book takes you on a fascinating exploration of just what it means to be a test pilot in wartime. Although unencumbered by false modesty, Henshaw still manages to relate his experiences in a clipped and oh so English way. In short; a great book written by a great man.
(Oh, by way of a bonus at the end, we are treated to a vivid description of the great storm of 1953.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 28 Oct. 2013
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Cornelius J Kriek (MORRISTOWN, NJ, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire (Paperback)
Great read if interested in Spitfire's - suggest you read if an enthusiast to feel humble about your own flying abilities
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Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire
Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire by Alex Henshaw (Paperback - 1 Nov. 1998)
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