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on 18 June 2017
What a fantastic book. The Hawker Hurricane is my favorite aircraft of WW2. I don't get involved in the arguments about which was better. The Hurricane or Spitfire? To me they had one very important thing in common..The very brave and skilful pilots that flew them. A well written and enjoyable read.
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on 8 June 2017
An excellent book on the iconic British fighter, for those who want to know all the details of its development and combat deployment. Highly recommneded.
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on 4 November 2017
Late delivery bot otherwise no complaints
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on 3 August 2010
The author really knows the aircraft he writes about. This book is complementary to his previous well researched publication of the 'Spitfire'.
Perhaps it is understandable that the 'Hurricane' should follow the 'Spitfire' because this is the general view. Few realise that the Hurricane was statistically the more successful of the two aircraft during the Battle of Britain, and had advantages over the Spitfire as the author stresses. Perhaps it was the development limitations in the subsequent period of the War that helped to endorse this rather biased image in the public mind.
This is a highly readable acount of the development of the aircraft and the people involved with the operations. It is essential reading for anyone who has even a mild interest in military history and particularly events in the Second World War.
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on 24 January 2011
There is an old saying to the effect that quantity has a quality all of its own, and this was never proved better than by the performance of the Hawker Hurricane during the Battle of Britain. While the Hurricane was slower than the Spitfire - and the German Bf109 - it was rugged, stable, and best of all, available in numbers. While the Spitfire was without a doubt the better plane, it was difficult to build and repair, while the Hurricane was comparatively easy to construct - while it looked a modern monoplane fighter, it was built in the fashion of the older planes of the early 1930's.

McKinstry follows up on his earlier studies of the Spitfire and Lancaster, subtitiling the volume "the plane that won the Battle of Britain". That assertion is at least arguably correct: without the Hurricane available in numbers, with Spitfire production lagging behind orders, the outcome in 1940 might have been different indeed. But it is also clear that 1940 was the high-water mark for the Hurri as a fighter plane": after that it was used as a ground attack plane with tank-busting cannon, bombs and rockets, and in theatres outside Europe, such as North Africa, Malta and Burma, and as a catapult plane fired off merchantmen in the mid-Atlantic with no landing strip to return to!

Most of this book is about the Battle, and the role the Hurricane played. Prior to that, its development is run through and post-1940 the story is one of decline and obsolescence, at least in the role it was designed for. There are testimonials from pilots about the reliability and sturdiness of the Hurrincane, to which many owe their life. Some pilots preferred Hurricane to Spitfire, and explain why. There is also a bit of the Spitfire snobbery of German pilots exposed - if a single engine plane got you, then it must have been a Spit! Of course, this is true of every soldier since primitive man picked up clubs: in WWII allied troops reported every tank as a Tiger, and each artillery piece an 88.

This is a useful book on the Hurricane, and is just long enough. Hopefully the role of the Hurricane in 1940 will never be forgotten or ignored in favour of the more glamourous Spitfire.
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VINE VOICEon 27 January 2013
As a long time aviation fan, from airfix models to joining the ATC Air Training Corps and generally being a lover of flying all my life I found this a very informative and interesting read, very interesting sort of a this is your life for the Hurricane which is one of my favourite aircraft of all time, the book mixes the development and service of the aircraft with statements from those who fought in it. The book is in no way dry or boring but a really satisfying tribute to the plane that won the Battle of Britain and played a massive role in WW 2 and I have to say is a thrill to see flying. This is a very good and recommended book.
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on 18 April 2011
The story of the Hurricane has been told many times and I have read much about it but this book brings all of the background and the politics around the development of the aircraft and sets it in the context of the times. The Hurricane is always overlooked by history, undeservedly so, and this book corrects many of the myths. The book describes the relationship between all of the main players in history leading up to, and through the War. It should be read by all of those who believe that there was only one fighter in the Battle of Britain.
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on 16 June 2012
this book is brilliant! as i already knew a lot about the spitfire i decided to read about the hurricane. i was really impressed with this book. leo mkinstry has given the hurricane what it deserves
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on 5 December 2012
Great history of the Hawker Hurricane
Years ago I read Paul Gallico's early book on the Hawker Hurricane. (Yes, the same man who wrote "The Snow Goose", "The Poseidon Adventure", "The Love of Seven Dolls", "Jennie" and many other fine books!)
Many other books have been written about the Hurricane and Hurricane pilots since.
McKinstry's book is an excellent addition.
Many other reviewers have praised it, deservedly so.
I want to add some small points.
It is surprising that McKinstry says virtually nothing about the way Hurricanes were used, during 1941 to the end of 1942, as moon-light intruders over France.
On page 284 he says, "Some of the new planes were sent to the Middle East ... though many were retained by Fighter Command [in Britain] for use as intruders against occupied France and as attackers against Channel shipping".
McKinstry does cite Roland Beamont [not "Beaumont"], who was a RAF fighter pilot, and test-pilot for Hawker, specifically an interview with Beamont, and Beamont's own books (which I have not read).
However, Edward Lanchbery's biography of Beamont ("Against the Sun: The Adventures of Roland Beamont DSO OBE DFC", Cassell, London, 1955: Pan, London, 1957), in Chapter 4, explains how 87 Squadron, led at the time by David Ward, began flying moonlight intruder raids against Luftwaffe airfields, and opportunistic targets such as locomotives. Beamont flew with Ward on the first raid, with striking success!
McKinstry is quite right in saying that Hurricanes, without air-born radar to help find night-time targets, were almost wholly ineffective as night-fighters.
But moonlight raids against ground targets are quite another matter.
Another tiny quibbly point is that McKinstry does mention, when discussing night-fighters, the way Bristol Beaufighters were used with air-born radar. Unfortunately he fails to say that this effective night-fighter work began earlier with Bristol Blenheims, the ancestors of the much faster and more powerful Beaufighter.
Similarly, McKinstry repeatedly talks about the Hurricane's thick wing.
What is surprising, to me, is that he says so little about the successors to the Hurricane, the Typhoon, and the Tempest.
I am not an aeronautical engineer, but I believe that the thick-wing idea, as used in the Hurricane, was based on flawed or misleading aerodynamic theory.
When similarly thick wings were used in the Typhoon, it, too, was, to Camm's surprise, a poor performer at high altitudes.
But at lower altitudes, like the Hurricane, the Typhoon was an outstanding tactical ground-attack plane, rather than a fighter.
When Hawker (the company, and its engineers) investigated the laminar-flow thin-section wings of the North American P51 Mustang, designed according to laminar flow aerodynamic theory, they realised why both the Hurricane and the Typhoon lost speed at high altitudes: thick wings can't fly fast, high up. (Was Camm's non-use of wind-tunnels unhelpful in terms of wing-thickness?)
By changing the wings from thick to thin, the Typhoon became the Tempest (and, later, with a radial engine, Hawker, that is, Sydney Camm created the new monoplane Fury and then the Sea Fury -- the fastest piston-engined production plane, ever), and was an outstanding fighter at all altitudes. (The Supermarine Spitfire also had thin wings!)

These points are small, and in no way detract from a fascinating book.
John Gough - Melbourne, Australia - jagough49@gmail.com
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on 12 June 2013
I really enjoyed Leo McKinstry's book as I have been an admirer of the Hurricane for decades. I have read many books and articles about the Hurricane being compared with the Spitfire. I have always been aware of "Spitfire Snobbery" where enemy pilots claimed to have been shot down by Spitfires when only Hurricanes were in action at the time. The Hurricane was not "pretty" like the Spitfire but it was effective, rugged and got its pilots home even when badly damaged. One of the quotes in the book by a Battle of Britain pilot was particularly apt - "The Spitfire was a Rolls Royce, the Hurricane was a Tank. Which would you rather go to war in!!

There is no doubt that the Spitfire was a faster plane but it was more fragile than the Hurricane. The Spitfire's slim wing meant that the guns tended to "jiggle about" when fired whereas the Hurricane's thicker wing section provided a stable gun platform. The "Spitfire Snobbery" extended to the general public who established Spitfire Funds where communities raised money to buy Spitfires but attempts to do the same for the Hurricane met with public apathy.

The Hurricane continued to be developed and there were versions with cannons, with rockets and with bombs. It remained in service until the end of the war in the Far East where it was an effective ground attack fighter bomber.
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