Pierre Clostermann: The Big Show

Continuing our look at WW2 biographies, Le Grande Circue, or The Big Show as we Limeys would say, is an all-time classic and yet another must-read memoir for anyone with a passion for WW2 aviation.

The Big Show is the wartime memoir of Pierre Henri Clostermann, D.S.O and D.F.C and Bar, himself an aeronautical engineer and son of a French diplomat who joined the Free French Forces in 1941 as a fighter pilot before being seconded to the RAF, where he flew Spitfires, Typhoons and finally Tempests.

Penguin edition of The Big Show
Penguin edition of The Big Show, published in 1958 Key Collection

Clostermann was credited with 33 aerial victories and The Big Show is a genuine page turner. There’s no let-up in the action as France’s highest-scoring pilot of WW2 flicks from one enthralling aerial encounter to the next.

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