Peter Ewer. Wounded Eagle: The Bombing of Darwin and Australia's Air Defence Scandal. Chatswood: New Holland, 2009. Based on the author's PhD thesis, this looks at the politics of Australia's air policy before the war as well as the air attacks on Australia during it. It was a random find -- surprised I hadn't heard of it before, given that Ewer is a fellow Melburnian.

Geoffrey Wellum. First Light. London: Penguin, 2009 [2002]. One of the last great airmen's memoirs to come out of the Second World War. I've become more interested in reading some of these since reading The Flyer and Bomber Boys recently: Richard Hillary, Don Charlwood and so on.

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5 thoughts on “Acquisitions

  1. Having browsed Brett's purchases this arvo prior to the new post (just scoring cheap points Yr'honour) the Wounded Eagle certainly looks interesting, anfd I enjoyed the Wellum when I read it, a refreshing pilot's autobio feom the Battle of Britain era, deservedly collecting many plaudits. This edition seems to have been inflicted with an Andy McNab style cover, Bravo Nineteen Forty perhaps.

  2. I've read large numbers of airmen's memoirs, starting when I was a kid, and continuing just recently when I started re-reading many old favorites (am currently about halfway into a re-read of Johnny Johnson's Wing Leader). Anyway, had not encountered First Light, and I'll look for it. Have you discussed any of the airmens' memoirs you mention here, along with others, in any particular posts? Would love to catch up with titles that I've missed.

  3. Post author

    No, you haven't missed anything yet, Paul -- I'm still in the collecting phase. Reading is some way off, let alone writing! But if you're interested in an analysis of memoirs (among other representations of airmen) I can recommend Martin Francis's The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force, 1939-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

  4. Regarding the First Light cover*: it seems Penguin have reissued a number of their war books as the 'World War II Collection' with updated covers; I can't seem to find the set on the Penguin website itself, but the set is discussed here. I'm not a huge fan of the CGI-heavy photoshop look, but I do quite like the Most Secret War jacket.

    *The copy I have is the UK hardback (a charity shop buy), which looks bland if inoffensive.

  5. Post author

    Oh yes, I've got that edition of Most Secret War. Though I quite like the cover, it did seem a bit over the top -- but makes more sense now in the context of the other reissues.

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