8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent Read For The Aviation Enthusiast.,
This review is from: Night Stalkers: 160th Special Ops Aviation Regiment (POWER) (Paperback)As a big helicopter enthusiast and budding pilot I've had a strong interest in the skills and equipment of the 160th SOAR for some time now. Despite the growing public interest in the activities of Special Forces, I've been disappointed by the lack of material published specifically on the subject of the 160th SOAR. Even following the release of Black Hawk Down - an event which really revolved around the actions of the 160th - there has still been very little information or interest in the unit. Consequently then I was rather pleased when I spotted this book.
Prior to ordering I did a brief search on author Fred J. Pushies previous work, and the reviews I read whilst doing so initially put me off buying this title. Given that there was nothing else available on the subject though, I decided to bite the bullet and order the book - and having now received it I'm glad I did. As with most titles on the subject of specific military units, this title is split into chapters detailing the unit's history, structure, training and equipment. Each of these topics is covered in a detailed fashion and, in most cases, contains information I haven't seen either in articles or on internet sites covering the 160th. On that note though it must be stated that several segments of the book bare a disturbing similarity to internet pages that I've encountered whilst reading up on this subject. Pushies references none of these, nor does he name any of the military personnel whose quotes litter the book. Still, given the secretive nature of the unit, I can understand that it may not have been possible to identify all information sources.
So if the text is a bit patchy, why then have I awarded the book 4 out of 5? The answer is simple; the pictures. Yes, I appreciate that sounds like a very childish piece of reasoning, but in the case of a subject like aviation, a picture really can say 1,000, or even 100,000, words. The majority of images within the covers are sourced either direct from the US military or Ted Carlson. Aviation buffs may know of Carlson's work from the rather excellent Fotodynamics - an aerial aircraft photography specialist - and the quality of his work is, unarguably, what makes this book such a great read. Interestingly Carlson wrote an article on the 160th SOAR some time ago and, up until this book, it was by far and away the best article on the subject that I've seen. This book contains most of the images from that article, as well as numerous shots that I've seen neither in other publications, nor on the internet.
So if you've any interest in combat helicopters, modern Special Forces or cutting edge aviation in general, I'd strongly recommend you buy this title. The soft back format is ideally suited to the subject material, with the numerous illustrations beautifully reproduced. As I've said above, the text does require some work, but the shortcomings of the author are easily eclipsed by the other qualities of the book. My only other advice is that if you do decide to order this book, you avoid trying to get it cheaper through a Marketplace seller. I tried 3 different sellers - each of which promised me the book would be dispatched within 24 hours - and each of which failed to provide me with anything but a refund.
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