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Customer Review

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A history of everything interspersed with Harrier facts., 9 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Harrier: The Biography (Kindle Edition)
I purchased the Kindle version of this book as it was the cheaper option but i still feel that was nearly £8 wasted.

I am 50% of the way through this book and can safely say that I have probably skim read and skipped through 50% of that! I was looking for a book on the Harrier not bogged down by too many technical details but a plotted history of its inception, development and service history with reasons behind its retirement. The book barely scratches at these points without digressing off into massive tangents that only fulfil to massively pad the book out.

'A wonderfully entertaining book, a rich mixture of science, social history and politics written with the verve, expertise and infectious enthusiasm we have come to expect from Glancey. Unlike the politicians and the MoD, this man knows what he is doing. --Patrick Bishop, Sunday Telegraph Takes you on a vivid tour through the history of the aircraft and the men and women who created and flew it. --Daily Express'

The above review from the Daily Express highlights the content of science, social history and politics. This is true but I would say that this is the main content with sudden burst of information about the Harrier woven in. It very much feels that the author has managed to associate the Harrier with historical events rather that the other way round.

The book starts with the withdrawal of Harrier service at RAF Cottesmore and a brief insight into the political reasons behind this. Good start. Then when it goes onto give you the thinking behind VTOL aircraft, it descends into a laborious story about magic carpets, Arabian Nights and Hindu gods! It waffles on about airships and Nazi prootype aircraft to name but a few. This would be ok but the references made about this stretches into pages and not paragraphs. I feel that only short concise connections to this history should be made. All padding.

Any mention of a key players turns into a draw out synopsis of their life and references to alternative aircraft types seems to give more information about them than the Harrier. I feel the book flies through the development of the Pegasus engine and the main problems associated with getting the protoypes to fly. Before you know it the book tells us that RAF Germany is equipped with Harriers, they are stationed in Belize and then we're onto the Sea Harrier!

This chapter on the Sea Harrier descends into a chapter about the Falklands war in general with a historical background to the Islands and Argentina dating back to the 1700s! This information merely pads the book out. If I wanted to know a plotted history of Argentina then I would by a book on the subject.

This basically sums up the book as a whole. I'm an avid aviation enthusiast and I feel any aircraft book is aimed at such a person. Therefore a lot of background information can be assumed to be known by the reader (I must stress I'm no aviation expert just well read in the subject) and in some cases aviation books confirm details and 'fill in the blanks' for the reader, this does neither.

A poor attempt at what could be an easy, non-technical, read of one of the UK s greatest technological achievements.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 May 2014 16:57:22 BDT
Mark Time says:
I agree totally with this review. This book, which I also skim read before giving it to a charity shop, was so utterly boring and the title is very misleading; almost infringes the Trade description act as it was almost everything bar a biography about the Harrier. There are so many better books about the Harrier that one wonders what prompted the writer to even bother putting pen to paper. A complete waste of effort and money!
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