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on 15 May 2005
David Wrag is a well known author of aviation/military books and this one demonstrates his dedication to research although it is sub titled The story of the raid on Taranto it covers the war in the Mediterranean leading up to and after the raid. There is also background into the world of navel carrier aviation development and thinking.
As always David writes well without pumping out pages of statistics in the middle of chapters that although useful can make for a poor read, his use of anecdotes adds a human side to the operations carried out by the Swordfish and his descriptions are exciting without being Biggles (wizzo prang stuff). Indeed it gives a voice to the many service personnel for whom the Med was not a sunny sea but a place of death and destruction and to be their final resting place. Overall I think this is a well written and thoughly researched book that has increased my limited knowledge of the war in the Med and for those who have an affection for the old Stringbag a very useful addition to ones collection.
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on 17 March 2008
This book brings to life, with personal accounts, the attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto. It also records the Royal Navy's movements in the Med after Taranto, and likens the raid to Pearl Harbour. An excellent read, hard to put down. David Wragg is an excellent WW11 naval historian.
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on 7 March 2010
I picked up a copy of "Swordfish" just before a long train journey, and the hours sped by. I was actually looking forward to the long trip back, so I could finish it. David Wragg is a good writer, with a light but firm and informed touch. The story of the Taranto raid is interesting enough in its own right, but Wragg turned it into a page-turning read. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 29 November 2015
An excellent account of the Taranto Raid, and its place in the history of the war. Another reviewer questions the inclusion of some of the content in the final chapters - I think they help establish the context of this remarkable episode. The author's naval background shows - he writes with authenticity and an insider's knowledge of the workings of the Royal Navy. He establishes the characters of many of the key players, and gives us a real sense of the horrors of war - the description of the Luftwaffe's later crippling of the Illustrious is harrowing, and comes as a sobering antidote to the derring-do of the raid itself.

I was delighted to discover this book, having a personal interest in the story. My late godfather piloted one of the Swordfish (L4M) on the first strike. I was lucky enough to see a Swordfish in flight at the Yeovilton air show in the mid-1960s. This book is a fitting tribute to these extraordinary planes and the men who flew them.
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on 28 February 2011
This book is a well written account of a battle whose significance was hardly recognised at the time, despite the strategic importance and the spinoff consequences. While Alamein was the "must win" battle on land in the Mediterranean, Taranto was the naval equivalent. As the Germans had no fleet in the theatre, neutralising the large and modern Italian fleet at a stroke completely changed the balance of power and enabled Malta to be kept (just) alive. Of course the raid was not enough to fill a book, so there is a bit of padding with the biographies of everyone involved being a bit overdone. On the contrary the discussion of the aftermath is essential to explain the strategic importance. The writing style is fluid and easy to read and there are some well chosen photographs.
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on 29 July 2008
Very interesting account of the Taranto raid, a forgotten yet important event in WW II. Despite the fact that the books reads easily, it shoudl have been half as long. The buildup to the raid is indispensible, but a bit overdone in detail. It could have been slightly less rich in detail. But what is really overdone is the aftermath. This takes half of the book, in which the general course of events in the Mediterranean is described, as well as later engagements in which Swordfishes were involved, and a comparision with Pearl Harbour is made. To top it of, a general analysis of carrier development. I was a bit suprised to see the F4 Panthom appear in the last chapter of a book dealing with the Raid on Taranto. The writer should have made some basic choices here. Nevertheless, even though the story runs wild, it still makes easy and entertaining reading. And the charm of a story about biplanes taking on a much more modern fleet is too strong not to recommended this book.
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on 12 July 2015
An enjoyable read about the raid on Taranto and how it was first considered when Italy invaded Mesopotamia.
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on 5 May 2015
Excellent book
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