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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 1 October 2012
Wings is a well-researched and well-written romp through aviation history. Bishop is naturally strong on WWII, but there's plenty of colour and to be found in the material on WWI too. Bishop conveys that the story of the RAF was as much driven by personalities as technical innovation. Egos and eccentrics alike were responsible for the triumph of the Battle of Britain and Dambuster's raid.
It's difficult for the post-war drama to live up to previous chapters but there are plenty of engaging testimonies from pilots of the more modern period. There's also an added layer of interest in that the author was a reporter during the Falkland's, Gulf and Afghan Wars.
I would have perhaps liked some more comment on drones and the future of aerial warfare and the RAF, but otherwise this is a great one volume history.
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on 2 October 2012
This book starts off almost with a list of those magnificent men in their flying machines, but then soon gets to grip with the military applications of flight. There is a healthy sense of a lack of a health and safety culture among pre war and WWI pioneers.
The chapters on the Second World War run over familiar ground, but there's no harm in being reminded about Dowding, Bomber Harris and the spirit of the pilots in the RAF. Bishop is perhaps our greatest historian on the myths and heroics of our finest hour.
I learned a lot from the chapters on the post war story of flight and the RAF, although the drama and characters fail a little to live up to the earlier material.
Bishop often returns to themes of mavericks in the RAF and how pilots are a breed apart to give Wings an overall cohesiveness.
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on 13 January 2014
I am a Patrick Bishop fan but this book will not be added to my collection of his other books. The most descriptive passages rely on material which has appeared in some of his other books.

I blame the editors for the irritation I experienced in the first few chapters which was caused by their disorganised nature with, for example, the same 'tales' popping up more than once. The early chapters needed editing to make them flow.

The middle chapters were a reheated meal from other of Patrick's WWII books and the end chapters included bits from '3 para' which drove the point home of this being constructed from old ingredients. Iraq; the Gulf; and Kosovo etc were names sprinkled in to 'tick-the-boxes' to show that more recent events had been noted - bur there was no 'meat'. What is there has appeared in the newspapers.

Someone has commented how this book was like an essay and I agee with that view except for the WWII bits which were taken from Patrick's previous works and were good - when read the first time.

Unlike his other works, I will not be keeping this book. I would not read it again and I feel it has nothing in it to which I may wish to refer. Disappointing from an author whose work I have previously enjoyed.
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VINE VOICEon 17 May 2015
I read this book having previously enjoyed Patrick Bishop’s The Bomber Boys, so knew the author’s style.
Wings takes a similar approach with the telling of the general history interspersed with anecdotes from real life individuals, which nicely adds a human touch to the book.
I felt the book perhaps spent a little longer than I’d have expected on the war years – undoubtedly the author’s main area of interest – with much less information post WWII given that period is fifty years of the one hundred in total covered by the book.
That small criticism aside, in my opinion this is a well written, easy to read and informative history of not only the aircraft but the people behind them.
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Having read Patrick Bishop's `Fighter Boys,' `Bomber Boys' and `Battle of Britain,' I rather expected `Wings' to represent a whistle stop tour through his previous material, especially in relation to aspects relating to World War 1 and World War 2.

Consequently although there was an essential need for Bishop to refer to significant personalities, whose names must inevitably recur in any history covering the (predominantly RAF) air war during these periods, and also to highlight key events, there is also ample material covering new observations, references and analysis.

It was also fascinating to see a much wider range of RAF war activity being encompassed within the fabric of the book, thus putting the whole cycle of RAF action into a relevant overall perspective.
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on 28 January 2014
Bishop writes history in a very accessible way, interspersing facts with recollections from people who were there.

The book focuses mainly on the two world wars and the interwar period which shaped much of the RAF's structure. As a result the last few chapters feel as though they rather gallop through events post-1945.

That aside this is an entertaining, informative and at times quite moving read.
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This book covers the birth and development of the RAF from the RFC up until the falklands war. While there are a few areas where I feel that the book could've been expanded and more information included like the bombing campaigns of WW1 and more on the conflicts between the wars but on the whole it really is a great history of the RAF and those most influential in its creation and development. The book has been put together well, it would have every excuse to be dry and dusty, but it isn't the writing style is intelligent, informed and interesting. To anyone interested in the RAF this really is a good read.
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on 19 December 2013
I found Patrick Bishop's book very useful because it clarified a lot of the ideas I had about all aspects of the part the RAF played in the second world war. Spanning the early development of aircraft and their application in the first war to the part the RAF is playing in Iraq it is a useful reference book.
As an ex RAF man myself there was also the added sense of "involvement" as I read. Well written, in an easy to read style the book is well laid out and will be a useful reference book.
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on 8 November 2012
Well worn material with, surprisingly, several glaring inaccuracies, for example the location of RAF Coltishall. Rather too boys' own and it rather loses direction and thrust towards the end. Definitely bottom shelf.
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on 22 November 2013
This is a thorough and readable book. Anyone who wants a clear history of how aeroplanes evolved and were used to assist war should read it. Great attention is paid to the two world wars, and I liked the excerpts from pilots' diaries. The unglamorous bombers receive full attention. Anyone interested in aerial warfare should read this.
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