Top positive review
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A good entry into the 'what if' genre.
on 18 August 2013
When the RNAS and RFC had been amalgamated into the RAF in 1918 it did not help the RN in the long-term as the RAF had sought to establish an independent identity and reason for its continued existence - strategic bombing. Naval Aviation was neglected and the result was that in 1939 the majority of the aircraft in the Fleet Air Arm were obsolete in comparison to what the USN and IJN operated. The lack of suitable British built naval aircraft is very well illustrated by the fact that in 1944/45 most of the aircraft operating from the British Pacific Fleet's carriers were American.
But what if things had been different? What if the Admiralty had been able to persuade the government to give it control of the FAA several years earlier? This intriguing possibility is the basis for David Row's book.
Much of Volume 1 is taken up with charting the development of aircraft (mainly fictional, but based on real concepts) and new aircraft carriers. Without giving too much away when September 1939 rolls around the RN has a much different carrier arm to what it had historically.
I first came across this story on the Internet and had looked forward to reading it in book form. I've not been disappointed and read it in the space of an evening. If you are looking for a story with character development this is not the book for you, however the lack of characters does not detract from a good story. Instead it reads very much like a history book.
Now if I enjoyed it so much why have I given it four rather than five stars? Well firstly there are quite a few annoying typos. I don't know if Mr Row used an editor, but I think that the book would have benefited from someone to read over it for such errors. Secondly the barbs against the RAF, Bomber Command especially, get wearing after the fourth, or fifth time one reads them.
However those are the only criticism I have of the book and I would still recommend the book highly.