The author of Fighter Boys, Patrick Bishop returns to the Battle of Britain with this engaging chronicle of the conflict, providing a daily snapshot of the fighting that ranged from 10 July to 31 October 1940. This is much more than a simple listing of events, however, as the entries are supplemented by a host of short box features that highlight different aspects of the Battle. As well as mini-biographies of the main characters in the drama, there are sections on the background to the conflict, technology, tactics and the aircraft themselves. There are also large numbers of apposite quotations from the individuals on the ground and, of course, in the air.
What makes this book stand out is its first-rate design and production: alongside Bishop’s authoritative text are a compelling selection of colour and black and white photographs, all printed on high-quality paper. The imaginative yet focused design makes the most of these photographs, which also include illustrations of log-books, posters and paintings, official announcements, cigarette cards, newspaper reports and other ephemera that supply a distinct flavour of the period. Such an exercise is rare in today’s publishing and both author and publisher are to be congratulated for producing such a fine book.
Quercus, 392 pages, £8.99 (p/b); Quercus, 392 pages, £25 (h/b)