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Above the War Fronts
The British Two-Seater Bomber Pilot and Observer Aces, the British Two-Seater Fighter Observer Aces, and the Belgian, Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Russia Aces
by Norman L. R. Franks, Russell Guest, Gregory Alegi
Hardcover: 288 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 0.97 x 10.11 x 7.17
Publisher: Grub Street the Basement; (September 1997)

"Apart from copping the award for Longest Great War Title of Any Book in Modern Memory (no pun intended), this is a terrific anthology. Completing Grub Street's ambitious series on the aces of all WWI combatants begun in 1990, ATWF neatly wraps up "the rest of the story" for British air arms in the slipstream of Above the Lines. With entries for 192 fighter gunners, 49 corps and bomber pilots and their 47 gunners, nothing more seems forthcoming (or necessary) on the subject!

The balance of the book deals with the five Belgian, 43 (or so) Italian, 49 Austro-Hungarian, and 18 (or more) Russian aces, including two-seat pilots and observers. The authors pay tribute to the late Dr. Marty O'Connor's seminal work in the Austro-Hungarian field, and also acknowledge the efforts of other researchers specializing in Russian and Belgian topics. But ATWF is unique in bringing together all the small air forces' aces in a single volume.Some problems naturally were encountered, and at 80 years downrange, some probably will never be resolved. The official Italian records, for instance, are often contradictory, and the situation was not simplified by unit redesignations. However, data from Czarist Russia, while not complete, is surprisingly detailed in most cases. Some extremely rare photos are included as a bonus, leading to a maximum possible "ace" rating: five stars!"

Reviewed by Barrett Tillman

Buy it now!

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