Eric Ash. Sir Frederick Sykes and the Air Revolution 1912-1918. London and Portland: Frank Cass, 1999. An excellent study of a important figure in the early days of the RAF who has been overshadowed by his rival, predecessor and successor Trenchard: he was certainly a stauncher supporter of strategic bombing at this time. Sykes was also the friend and patron of P. R. C. Groves.

Anthony Christopher Cain. The Forgotten Air Force: French Air Doctrine in the 1930s. Washington, D.C., and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002. Cain argues that while French air doctrine was unsound, the reason was not that French airmen were decadent, traitorous or stupid (to paraphrase the title of his concluding chapter), but that they were let down by non-airmen who didn't understand airpower. (The Armée de l'Air didn't become independent until 1933.) Some glorious photographs of interwar French bombers.

John R. Davis with Susanne Everill. Grants for History 2012: A Guide to Funding. London: Institute of Historical Research, 2011. Don't laugh.

A. D. Harvey. Body Politic: Political Metaphor and Political Violence. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. Harvey has written a number of articles on airpower history, but this is something completely different. It's a history of the notion that the organisation of human societies resemble human bodies, and in some way therefore work in the same way. Hobbes's Leviathan is probably the most famous example, but it wasn't the first and it wasn't the last.

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3 thoughts on “Acquisitions

  1. Do you have any more comments on the Cain book? It looks interesting, at it's one of the few works about the French air forces I've seen in English; I've been meaning to pick up a copy for years, but haven't come across it in a shop and haven't seen any online at a price I'd be willing to pay...

  2. Post author

    Well, quite; there aren't many alternatives, unfortunately! I bought mine sight unseen for US$29 which is pretty reasonable. Now I have seen it, but not read it; it looks like it does pretty much as advertised, provides a history of French air doctrine in the 1930s (Cain calls it a 'reactive doctrine'). Despite all the illustrations, there doesn't seem to be much on aircraft (aside from a bit on the BCR debate). There are chapters each on training, exercises, mobilisation plans. It ends with an assessment of how French air doctrine performed in 1940; but potentially more interesting is the first chapter on 'sources of reactive air doctrine', which has a section on the Rif War. Most of the sources are Armée de l'Air, as you'd expect, but this is definitely an air force view of history. For that matter it may be relevant that the author is (or was) a serving USAF airman.

  3. Thanks! I think Cain did the essay on the French Air Force in Why Air Forces Fail, which I've read, but it sounds like there's enough in the book to make it worth a peek.

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