This wasn't the book I expected. A better title would have been 'The Spitfire In Action'.
Having read Sharp and Bowyer's book 'Mosquito', I was looking forward to technical details about the aircraft including drawings, photographs and technical data. Photographs there are, but many are conventional three-quarter views from a distance. There is much mention of the cramped cockpit and poor visibility but no pictures. There is a lot of description of the technically brilliant stressed metal wings, but no photos or drawings, even of the highly criticised fabric-covered ailerons and their metal replacements. This is not a book for the propellor-head who wants to know about the engineering of the machine. It would have been interesting to see how the components were made.
What you do get is a thorough account of the various battles and events of World War Two and the often destructive political and personality clashes that lay behind the war effort. Leo McKinstry is excellent at describing the people involved and how they fought or co-operated. He is not afraid to make judgements. The reader is left in no doubt of his admiration for the Spitfire's designer Mitchell and for Churchill, Beaverbrook and Dowding, and of course the heroic men who flew. He makes his case well. He also spends much time adjudicating on the vexed matter of whether it was the Hurricane or the Spitfire that was the more significant.