Saturday, April 4, 2009

Air war in East Africa 1940-1941: The RAF versus the Italian Air Force

I bought this book written by Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell with high expectations since the subject is one of my big interests. Unfortunately I was very disappointed when I started to read it since the authors has not used any Italian sources in the book (and it seems also like they have not used any official RAF or SAAF records either). This means that the book by all means could have been written in the 50’s or 60’s when all books took the Allied claims for fact without verifying with the other side (i.e. prior “Fighter over the Desert”). C. Shores’ 13-year-old “Dust Clouds In the Middle East” is much better and if you have this book there is no need to buy “Air War East Africa 1940-1941”. The only ones I can recommend this book to is the ones who have never read anything about this conflict and still I would recommend to go for “Dust Clouds…” first.

Rating 2/5


  1. Ludovico Slongo04 April, 2009 09:33

    Thank You for the comment Håkan,
    I tried to go for this book in the Pen-and-Sword site just after it was given as available around one month ago. The book seemed not that expensive, there is still a lot to be discovered on the subject (at least on the Italian side),books in English language on campaigns where Regia Aeronautica was involved are still a rarity, and at the end the front cover was attractive :-)... But I didn't succeed to "check out" from the site, didn't receive any answer from the guys of Pen-and Sword aftersales (that I contacted by mail) so all remained "frozen". Now I definitely will not go for this book, I'm so tired to read this kind of stuff, and I really wonder how it is possible that -forty years after "Fighters over the Desert" and twenty years after the books of the "duo" Shores/Cull there is still someone writing history books in this way.


  2. That's a shame. I think there is no excuse to publish this kind of stuff anymore, but sadly, there's a market for it.



  3. Yes, I agree.

    rating 1.5 out of 5 at best!

    These authors just copy others' work, and do no proper research of their own. I imagine their real knowledge of the East African air war, and of the Regia Aeronuatica, is very scanty.
    I DISrecommend this book.

    Andrew Kelly

  4. A rather feeble but characteristic effort by two writers who write about dozens of subjects (from football to cooking) and do not have the knowledge or research skills for military history. At first I thought the book was OK, then found the mistakes and the cliches. They write a book every few weeks, which is suspicious. How can anyone research and write at that rate? Dodgy, I suspect.