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A memoir that reads like a novel,
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This review is from: Winged Warriors: The Cold War from the Cockpit (Hardcover)
A memoir that reads like a novel charting the remarkable Royal Air Force career of Paul McDonald from young cadet to OBE and on to present day. From North East England to the Middle East. From steel town to steel nerves. This is a story of real people, real lives and real action told with a flair for writing and with a sense of humour uniquely British, uniquely RAF.
Winged Warriors is a memoir for those that don't usually read memoirs and fans of the genre alike. Inspiring on so many levels.
You don't need to be from a services background to relate to this book. "Bonny Lad" has a knack for making the information completely accessible, but this should be no surprise when you read of the experience he has as an instructor.
Action such as the reconnaissance mission to photograph the Kiev, the formidable Russian warship or life and death system failures in Jet Provosts and Tornados would rattle most of us beyond sanity. These are exciting reads among the detailed and at times very poignant narrative of an unusual career.
That career took in far more than the Cold War, taking Paul out to Kuwait at a time most of us only remember from TV news reports and the shocking footage of British tornado pilots battered and bruised in Iraqi `care'.
The Cold War itself is known to most only as a spy novel. Lethal injections delivered by means of an umbrella, the intelligence world and very secret. It was the war that never blew up. But it was very real and they were very dangerous times. Paul is keen and very right to highlight that despite the lack of full conflict, many paid the ultimate price. This book, I feel, is important in that it tells us what the Cold War really meant to the men and women on the front line ready to protect us from a very real threat and also what it could have meant to us at home had they not been there to deter an assault. It simply isn't taught or talked about let alone understood by the vast majority. It needs to be told and made real. Paul does this and does it well.
There are many things to learn from Winged Warriors. For one thing, pythons grow really fast. For another, Kuwait is not the place to work if you're at all paranoid, at least until you grow accustomed to how things are done. But what we take away from this book more than anything else is an enormous respect for those men and women of the Royal Air Force and their families.