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Today in History

Air Aces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1914-1918
by Martin O'Connor
Hardcover: 338 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 1.17 x 11.28 x 8.78
Publisher: Flying Machines Press; (January 1986)

"The late Dr. O'Connor has given air enthusiasts a wonderful gift in his excellent "Air Aces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire." This neglected subject is covered in wonderful detail, in a format that is very comfortable for the reader. The 49 individuals credited with ace status by the Empire are chronicled, each with his own biography and accompanying photographs. There is also a wonderful color profile section illustrated by Ray Rimell that covers 50 different aircraft and shows 16 aircraft in top view. The appendices alone are worth the price with detailed lists of all claims by each of the aces including, date, location, airplane flown, airplane claimed, enemy crew, confirmation source and notes for each victory.

The author's enthusiasm comes through and many of the smaller details and actual ace interviews he conducted give some real heart to the book. The photographs are spectacular, examples being a shot of Friedrich Hefty actually bailing out of his aircraft with a line fouled over the top of his parachute and a picture of Josef Friedrich celebrating with clenched fist his victory over an Italian SPAD which was attacking a two-seater he was defending. The color profiles are a wonderful addition to the book and the color notes which accompany them are an excellent source of information for modeler and/or air historian.

I have enjoyed this book enormously and recommend it to all. Modelers be forewarned that while this is an excellent reference work it is not an aircraft guide and contains no scale 3 or 5 view drawings. Readers looking for specific information of aircraft types should see Flying Machines Press' excellent book on Austro-Hungarian aircraft. Still, this book is a fantastic supplement for modelers and is a great source for air historians and enthusiasts. One thing that would have helped readers of this volume would have been a brief but thorough overview of Austro-Hungarian air operations in order to give greater context to the aces field of operations. Much of that information could be gleaned from the text but a simple 5 to 10 page section would have been welcome. All in all a great work. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!"

Reviewed by John Gypson

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