one takes all the published books on flying boats
and places them alongside each other you will need a
shelf only approximately five or six feet long; I know as I have
most of them and that's what it takes!
Whilst there has been a dearth of good material written in the past, the
balance has been slowly changing with some superb books and monographs now becoming available.
However, one subject - that of British flying boats - has been notable by its
absence; and with model manufacturers slowly realising that there is life after Spitfires and Me109's, there are today some
excellent flying boat state-of-the-art models now being released to a waiting crowd
and, with more to follow, learning about
their history and operations is vital to appreciate the full impact flying boats had, both civil and military.
Published in July '03, and currently available from most specialist book
shops comes a book that I have waited most of my 'flying boat enthusiast' life to see on my book shelf - simply, it is the most
comprehensive study on British flying boat history ever written. The quality of writing and the picture content
- most of which
have never been seen in print before - set it apart from the rest and make it probably
the definitive work on the subject.
Peter London is no stranger to writing serious books on flying boats, being
responsible for the Saunders and Saro volumes within the prestigious Putnam range, a host of articles in respected
magazines including Aeroplane Monthly, Flypast and Air
Enthusiast and this book from him - one of the leading authorities on
British flying boats - continues that fine tradition.
Packed full of highly readable prose and blessed with fine, clear images on
each page, this book tells the story of the design, development and operations of every type of flying boat to be built within the British
Isles. The pictures, so often the poor relation in other books, get the full treatment here - printed large and two to a page
where possible. Every turn of the page reveals a picture; no small feat in a volume that has to be limited to cover all the
various types. They are crystal clear and a tribute to the painstaking work of the author (
and his band of helpers - I know, I was one!) and the
publisher. Many of them are published for the first time and add a great deal to the overall 'usability' of the book; many
model-makers will enjoy looking at these pictures and extracting the details from them.
nine Chapters over 298 pages, they cover the early beginnings, World
War I, the 1920's and 30's, World War II, Post-War and the final run down and phasing out of the breed. In addition there are 13
very useful and detailed Appendices covering serial numbers, type specifications and production runs, together with details of
the bases they flew from.
Enthusiasts of both British civil and military flying boats will find something
of interest within these pages and I highly recommend this book as a darn good read; it is a classic work of reference and I
predict will become the first point of call for many historians and enthusiasts.
Well done, Pete, now what about a second volume! I'm up for it if you