What Book Are You Reading?

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Member for

15 years 5 months

Posts: 1,404

Stirling AP 1660..everynight for the last 15 years...it`s an Epic !!! Non aero ...`Withnails` by Richard E.Grant........

Member for

19 years 6 months

Posts: 8,505

Spitfire Women of WWII. Fascinating reading also have various other books on the go as usual such as Fire force by Matt Lynn and So That's Why They Call It Great Britain by Steve Pope. Just finished '1000 Years of Annoying The French', absolutely fascinating and very funny too.

Member for

17 years 11 months

Posts: 5,987

Chose that book as a school prize more years ago than I care to think about, haven't read it in ages, in fact thanks for reminding me that it is still in the dusty depths of my overflow book store ( attic ).

Yes I also read it and all his other books many years ago...it is very easy to overlook books subsequently made into films...

Charles Lindbergs autobio (Spirit of St Louis ? ) was an exceptionally well written book and a real pleasure to read :)

rgds baz

Member for

19 years 6 months

Posts: 8,505

Books with an aviation theme

Try
Joint Force Harrier---- Harrier ops in Afghanistan
Spitfire by Leo McKinstry----pretty obvious subject
Empire of The Clouds by James Hamilton-Paterson---Bit of a nostalgia fest for those of us not quite as young as we were, the only problem with the book it does arouse a certain urge to go out and look for politicians to shoot.

Having read all threee I have to agree they are excellent reading. Actually all three of the Leo McKinstry books on WWII aircraft make you want to shoot politicians. The powers that be were on the verge of ordering Avro to produde Stirlings and/or Halifaxes. Likewise they wereon the verge of ordering VS to produce Hurricanes.

Member for

19 years 6 months

Posts: 8,505

I downloaded "Churchills Wizards" as informed by CD onto a Kindle, (My very 1st download) and I fully intend to get started on it ASAP. I know it feels "Dead", inasmuch as it's not as tactile as a paper book, but as it was a Christmas pressie, I was being forced to use it.;)

Jim.

Lincoln .7

I got one as a Christmas present too except I got mine at the beginning of October and have been using it ever since to the detriment of my backlog of hard copy reading materialwhich is even more backed up from my usual 2 plus years.

Member for

15 years 5 months

Posts: 564

books

currently reading "life on a spitfire squadron"The war record of Plt officer Barney Barnfeather.
Also reading "Hidden Agenda"by John Pilger,this should be compulsory reading for all of voting age.

Member for

18 years 4 months

Posts: 1,943

Just finished Catch-22. Excellent, book well worth reading.
I`m off to put some horse chestnuts in my mouth now :)

Member for

23 years 1 month

Posts: 1,940

"New York" by Edward Rutherford. Very interesting, absorbing read!

Member for

11 years 6 months

Posts: 212

Comet - I read "New York" earlier this year,and really enjoyed it. I have read all of Rutherfurd's books,and thought that he had lost his way a bit with with his Irish books, but New York sees him back on form.

I have just finished another cracking read - "High Risk", the autobiography of Sir Adam Thomson, the chairman and founder of British Caledonian.

There are effectively two parts to the book. The first is a swashbuckling story of his short time in the Fleet Air Arm and then trying to find a job as an airline pilot. After a spell in West Africa (an area that was to play a key role in the development of BCal many years later) he found himself based at Manston where a group of pilots hitched plans for their own airline.

With the airline securing a lot of investment from Scotland, the name Caledonian was chosen, and the airline soon found itself operating charter flights around the world. The book continues with Thomson's flying adventures, but the flying stories slowly start to give way to tales from the boardroom as the airline gradually expands and tries to compete in the scheduled market.

The merger with British United (to form British Caledonian) marks the start of the second part of the book. By now Thomson has given up flying, and with the airline now having a significant scheduled operation, the book is full of stories of sales trips and increasingly problems encountered by the airline as it finds expansion plans stymied by politicians in the UK, abroad or, more often than not, both.

By the 1980s, the planned privatisation of British Airways sees Thomson feeling (probably with some justification) that government policy was favouring BA to BCal's detriment, and for anyone interested in Thatcher era politics his recounting of endless discussions with politicians and civil servants is fascinating. The book ends with the then newly privatised BA taking over BCal (some of his comments on BA's management and negotiating tactics can't have endeared him to BA when they read the book) and Thomson retiring.

As with any autobiography, it is some times self serving, and Thomson doesn't pull his punches when it comes to criticising competitors. However, that doesn't detract from a fascinating story of the emergence of Britain's "2nd Force" airline, and a reminder of what the pre deregulation airline industry was like,and how difficult it was for independent airlines to compete.

Thomson died over 10 years ago, and it would be fascinating to get his views on the industry today, and see if they have changed since the book was written. He was particularly strident in his belief that even in short haul markets deregulation would see the quality of service provided to passengers rising, and also commented that Virgin wouldn't last very long!

All in all a fascinating read of a now long gone age.

Member for

23 years 1 month

Posts: 1,940

Comet - I read "New York" earlier this year,and really enjoyed it. I have read all of Rutherfurd's books,and thought that he had lost his way a bit with with his Irish books, but New York sees him back on form.

This is the first of Rutherford's books that I've read, and I'm impressed. I like a book I can get into which has interesting characters. I like the fact that the fictional characters are mingled with real historical figures, it has inspired me to read more about New York's history to find out more about some of the characters. I think I will definitely read more by him, I like the look of "London" as well.

Member for

13 years

Posts: 1,259

Recently finished Quill's Spitfire and the logical follow up is Henshaw's Sigh for a Merlin, both very enjoyable.

Member for

11 years 6 months

Posts: 212

This is the first of Rutherford's books that I've read, and I'm impressed. I like a book I can get into which has interesting characters. I like the fact that the fictional characters are mingled with real historical figures, it has inspired me to read more about New York's history to find out more about some of the characters. I think I will definitely read more by him, I like the look of "London" as well.

London is an excellent choice for your next 'Rutherfurd' - the chapter on the Great Fire is brilliant, and you can't go wrong with his first book, Sarum, set in Salisbury, either.

Member for

15 years 9 months

Posts: 136

The Big Show by Pierre Clostermann , charity shop find , a cracking read up until the absolutely harrowing account of talking a fellow pilot in a damaged Tempest down, and the inevitable crash and fire, Then doing the same thing himself a few days later ,

spike

Member for

11 years 10 months

Posts: 6,535

Leo McKinstrey's brilliantly comprehensive and definitive history of the development and use of the Avro Lancaster.

Even taking into account the Russian T34 the Wehrmacht 88mm, the Anglo American Mustang and the Kreigsmarine U-boats the general opinion of the combatants was that the Lancaster and its illustrious crews, as a single weapon, did more, much more than any other weapon or weapon system to beat the Germans in WW2.

I could hardly put this book down. If anyone would like to borrow it, send an address and I'll post it - Britain only !

John Green

Member for

23 years 1 month

Posts: 6,968

Not books per se but currently reading Undermilk Wood and Houseman's A Shropshire Lad, poem XXVII being a wonderful read.

Regards,

kev35

Member for

18 years 4 months

Posts: 1,943

Just coming to the end of the Stephen Fry Chronicles.

Member for

16 years 11 months

Posts: 1,966

I didn't. I moved on to Captain Scott's Diary which was an incredible book, highly recommended! I'm now half way through Hostile Skies by David Morgen which is his account as a Harrier pilot during the Falklands War.

Hostile Skies was a great read, it was good to hear about a war pre Gulf '91! I'm now about half way through Hurricane - Victor Of The Battle Of Britain by Leo McKinstry and is proving to be very interesting.
http://www.google.co.uk/products/catalog?q=hurricane+book&hl=en&prmd=ivns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1024&bih=643&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=9610396887428805661&sa=X&ei=cXVNTsLrNoG48gP5jenaBw&ved=0CFwQ8gIwAQ

Member for

13 years 4 months

Posts: 4,956

Just finishing a re-read of Paul Richey's Fighter Pilot. That and First Light are my two favourite fighter pilot books. And Cricket, Wonderful Cricket by John Duncan - a series of interviews with passionate amateurs dedicated to the charity cricket game circuit.

Member for

11 years 6 months

Posts: 212

I have just finished "Outlaws Inc." by Matt Potter.

Subtitled "Flying with the World's Most Dangerous Smugglers", Potter tells the story of 'Mickey', an IL-76 pilot and his crew as they travel the world in search of cargo for their Ilyushin, and more than often than not find themselves hauling freight of somewhat interesting provenance, be it illicit drugs, diamonds or weapons.

The first half of the book is probably the best, as Potter outlines how the collapse of the Soviet Union saw the emergence of a large number of independent airlines using aircraft liberated from the military. Too many aircraft chasing too few cargoes saw the emergence of an ask no questions policy by crews anxious for work. The laissez faire attitude of the authorities in places like Sharjah (that probably won't come as a shock to readers of this website), saw standards slip further.

In second half Potter tries, less successfully, the role of investigative journalist. He suggests that the aircraft are in fact owned by the criminal organisations providing their cargoes. Following a powerful indictment of many aid agencies and the lack of auditing they do of both the aircraft they charter and what happens to the supplies they ship on these aircraft, he then criticises the corruption that exists in many African and Central American (amongst others) states, that allows these aircraft to operate without any supervision or regulation.

However, he never finds these "Mr. Bigs", and the book is rather let down by the final 50 pages, where the evidence base seems to get increasingly flimsy, and I found his conclusion that the world's IL-76 and AN-12 fleet is ultimately controlled by only 3 men hard to believe.

This shouldn't, though, detract from a book that, while maybe not being as good as I had hoped at the outset, was still a good read.

Member for

13 years 4 months

Posts: 4,956

Just finished Julian Barnes "The Sense of an Ending" and starting The Flannelled Fool by Michael Simkins.