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The Flight of the Mew Gull
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2009
A fantastic book from a wonderful era and period in British history. It's written superbly. Alex Hensahw's accounts of daring do are interesting, intricate in detail and all told with a good sense of humour, even self-afacing at times - which is always a good sign. From his close shaves in racing all the "circuits" around Britain and Ireland, to continental Europe, to his infamous UK-Cape-UK solo flight. Tales of woe how he and his father enjoyed flying together and how their pre-recce of the course and places Alex would eventually fly alone in his historical record, to how much fun and support they gave eachother.
You don't have to be a pilot to read this book (though it might help, Alex never really gets technical but decscribes just enough detail to understand for anyone), how's and why's things were done or why they happened and always leads the reader onto wanting to read on - it's very hard trying to pace yourself with this book as it flows so well and is always entertaining but also, very interesting.
I don't want to give too much away but it's a great book. I personally have to be disciplined to put it down and save more chapters for later, just so I have something to look forward to reading.
Informative, through the eyes of someone who lived it and was part of that age when good manners cost nothing and were expected yet not stuffy.
Well worth a read, and an interesting insight into the World, pre-WW2.
Get this book, whether it's for yourself, a present - you or it's recipient won't be disappointed!
My only concern is that I can't find anything else Henshaw has written, aside from his later but equally fantastic book, "A sight for a Merlin" - of his exploits as a test pilot for the Spitfire during WW2.
Enjoy!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2000
Alex Henshaw's descriptions of piloting a small single engine aeroplane from London to Cape Town are truly brilliant, catapulting the reader into the golden age of aviation adventure.
A fine guide to mans determination in the face of unrelenting fate.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2009
Alex Henshaw was one of those courageous unassuming men that made our world a smaller place. The book is about air racing in the 30's but the feat he became famous for was to fly a single seat aircraft solo to Cape Town and back and set a record that is unbroken 70 years later. When you read his account of this you come to realize what he had personally had to endure and what his little airplane had to produce to achieve the result he did. The book has been around for a while but is never the less a brilliant book by a very humble hero.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2014
The content of the book is excellent, but the perennial problem with Amazon is that you never know what you're going to get in terms of the physical quality of the book. Are publishers churning out low-quality editions especially for Amazon buyers who can't handle the goods before they buy? Poor paper, appalling print quality, dreadful photo reproduction... I buy books to keep, to put on my shelves, and Amazon is becoming a last resort for me because off these quality issues.
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A straight forward account by Alex Henshaw himself of his epic record breaking flight from Gravesend, England to Capetown, South Africa and back just before the start of World War 2. After briefly covering his early life we learn of Mr Henshaw's discovery of flying, a role which was to define his life, both through his part in the 1930's air races, exploratory flights across Europe and of course the epic journeys that he was to make across the daunting terrain of Africa. An outstanding accomplishment by a great man.
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on 23 June 2015
This is book is about what competitive endurance flying was like pre WW2. How aviators navigated and flew single engined aircraft to the bottom of the world and back, alone, with no outside help over desert land and sea is a testament to individual airmanship that couldn't be done today- unless of course your mad, which would help. Alex Henshaw was one of the greatest pilots there has ever been or ever likely to be.
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on 21 February 2013
Alex must have been both a remarkable pilot and navigator, I just wish I could have sat in a bar someplace and listened to the story from the man himself. Still, the books a terrific read as is his other book `Sigh for a Merlin' I recommend both very highly
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on 8 August 2013
It took sheer guts and a lot of luck to fly the flimsy lightweight built-for-racing Mew Gull to S.Africa and back, no wonder he landed back in England almost unconscious and with his nose gushing blood from the stress and strain of the flight.
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on 21 January 2013
...for pilots. How to fly VFR with ABSOLUTELY no NAVAIDS. Alex was a man ahead of his time and this book tells a lot about his origins.
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on 23 September 2013
This book was recommended to me as I had already read his other book "Sigh for a Merlin" some years ago
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