Wing Leader Unknown Binding – 1974
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Top Customer Reviews
He doesn't hold back on criticising his senior officers' decisions. His account of defying their pet theories is typically dry, but his stopping regular `rhubarbs', dangerous, low level fighter raids over occupied Europe, doubtlessly saved many allied pilots lives.
Finally, after describing the sacrifices of the long, hard fighting, he recalls an air show he arranged at the wars' end. Nothing Johnson did was entirely without purpose and the show was no exception. The Danes had suffered at the hands of the RAF in a wartime raid. Ticket sales from the air show would go to victims of the attack, while the demonstration of Western air power went some way to reassuring the Danes that they would be suitably protected from the potential of Soviet expansion. Like most things Johnson did it was a tremendous success.
He was the genuine article, a real hero in spite of his modest account. I can't recommend this book enough.
I read this after having recently read Pierre Clostermann's The Big Show (Cassell Military Paperbacks), and over the last fifty years many other similar books including Paul Brickhill's excellent Reach for the Sky: Story of Douglas Bader, D.S.O., D.F.C. (Cassell Military Paperbacks).
Johnson's version of history is the golden gloss, written from the victor's point of view. It tends to skate over the hardship and exhaustion, terror and overwhelming odds, and how close Britain came to losing in so many ways; starvation, lack of man-power, lack of equipment, lack of almost everything except courage and the will to survive at all costs. He does mention how they had to rethink their tactics, and eventually adopted the Germans' well tried and practiced methods learnt in the Spanish war. Also he talks of how much he learned when flying with Douglas Bader, right up to when Bader disappeared from the sky.
He was lucky in that he missed much of the Battle of Britain when the majority of British fighter pilots were being shot down mainly because of their inexperience and inadequate tactics, in the same way as Clostermann escaped that particular carnage. He was also lucky in sticking with the evolving Spitfire; while Clostermann went on to fly a wide assortment of aircraft on different kinds of mission, some of which he survived only because he also had the Top Gun prescience.Read more ›
The descriptions of the aerial battles, the flak, the missions, are all superbly done & you can only marvel at the courage & dedication of men like Johnson & feel eternally grateful that they were there.
A very well written account of the battle for the skies in World War 2, with some incredible testimony from (as the blurb on the book cover states) the top scoring Allied fighter pilot of the war.
To survive from almost the beginning to the end of the war without being shot down, his aircraft only getting hit once, nearly forty kills and numerous damaged and probables to his credit, in my eyes Air Vice Marshal James Edgar Johnson is a legend and amongst others, the like of which we will probably never see again!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This man has always been one of my heroes, a superb book a must read.Published 12 months ago by David Wilson
Bought this for my dad as he was a young man doing national service when he used to drive Johnnie Johnson across the airfield to and from the planes. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Lemonie
The copy that was sent to me arrived well on time and in excellent. I am very pleased.Published 12 months ago by John Hull
This is a thoroughly enjoyable book detailing Johnnie Johnson's career in the RAF from start to finish.Published 21 months ago by E2C
I read this book years ago before I joined the service myself and since then have had chance to meet some of JEJs' contemporaries and read their stories and I can only say this is... Read morePublished 23 months ago by KTB