Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum  

Go Back   Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum > Reviews > Books and Magazines

Books and Magazines Please use this forum to review or discuss books and magazines.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 4th August 2010, 00:10
Dave Homewood Dave Homewood is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 29
Dave Homewood is on a distinguished road
Spitfire - Return to Flight by Brendon Deere - A Review

Spitfire -Return to Flight
By Brendon Deere
Review by Dave Homewood

One of the recent highlights on New Zealand's aviation scene has been the return to flight of the Deere family's marvellous Spitfire. Brendon Deere was already familiar to New Zealand aviation enthusiasts for his two volumes of Military Wings, which feature potted histories and photo spreads of various RNZAF aircraft types, and the Spitfire project had been a much followed and anticipated restoration. Now, following the incredible experience of returning a Spitfire to the air, and allowing it to be flown at public events as a tribute to his uncle Alan Deere, Brendon has recorded the story behind this epic task in Spitfire: Return To Flight.

Essentially this book tells four interconnected stories. It begins with a brief overview of the Supermarine Spitfire as a type, covering the development, variants and roles. This sets the scene for the next chapter which is about Alan Deere and his incredible RAF career. Although two highly regarded books have been published about Al Deere already in the past, his own superb autobiography Nine Lives and Richard Smith's Alan Deere: Wartime Commander; Peacetime Leader, Brendon is able to add another personal perspective on his uncle's life. The great respect and admiration for his uncle comes across strongly in Brendon's words, and it is easy to see why he was inspired to embark on the immense project of acquiring and rebuilding a WWII fighter to fly in Al Deere's honour.

The third section of the book is about that fighter itself, the history of Spitfire PV270. The fascinating story of this machine is being told in full for perhaps the first time, and what an adventurous life this particular Mk IX Spit has lead so far. It served with the RAF, the Italians, the Israelis and then with the Burmese. The derelict aircraft was eventually brought out of its resting place in Burma and came to New Zealand to begin its rejuvenation. Therein is the last story in this quartet. The painstaking restoration of the aircraft is seen and described stage by stage, through to the first flight and airshow debut, where it has since stamped its presence on the New Zealand aviation scene.

There are of course a multitude of other sub-stories woven throughout the brilliantly written narrative, including several stories of other New Zealand Spitfire pilots.

The design and layout of this book is extremely attracting and one of the outstanding qualities is the hundreds of photographs that chronicle every period of the Spitfire's history. Brendon has gathered together amazing historical shots from the Deere family's albums and wartime days, and from the various points in PV270's own service career. He has also taken step by step photos of the restoration process, and the book also offers an array of stunning post-restoration shots of the Spitfire back in the air where she belongs. The airshow photographs and the Gavin Conroy air to airs are breathtaking. Moreover, Brendon has gone the extra mile to ensure that almost every photograph in the book has a detailed and lengthy caption attached, often running of paragraph length. Brilliant.

Whilst the well researched captions are informative, the main body text is very easy to read, written in Brendon's relaxed, very accessible style and brimming with enthusiasm for the project and interest for the reader.
Additionally, numerous quotes are dotted throughout the book, many quoting Alan Deere himself from interviews, his own book or extracts from his combat reports. There are passages also from other Spitfire pilots, various authors and a variety of other sources. Each in its own way adds a little to the amazing experience that this book is.

As well as the many photos illustrating this story, there are also numerous fine art paintings depicting Spitfires, some great technical drawings of the Spitfire and some very nice side view profiles of the various colour schemes PV270 has worn in the past. There are also chapters contributed by other pilots such as Paul Stockly and Pete Cochran. There is a walkaround photo section for modellers to see close up details of the aircraft, and some stunning recent photos from Warbirds Over Wanaka 2010.

The book has forewords from both Chief of Air Force Air Vice Marshal Graham Lintott, and wartime No. 485 Squadron pilot Doug Brown.
In conclusion I think this is a gorgeous book about a beautiful aeroplane. It pays tribute to the Spitfire itself and to the project's inspiration, Alan Deere. And a very moving touch is it has also been dedicated to the memory of Nick Cree, Hayden Madsen, Daniel Gregory, Andrew Forster and Benjamin Carson, five kiwis who have recently given their lives in the service of their country in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

The book will be released within the coming weeks. The recommended retail price is $69.95 and I would say to any Spitfire enthusiast and fan of the New Zealand warbirds movement it is worth every cent, especially since Brendon says, "All proceeds from the book will support the public commemoration flights of Spitfire PV270 and obviously web site sales assist that objective the most." You can order your copy now from Brendon's website at http://www.spitfirepv270.co.nz

Or you can attend one of Brendon's events and meet the author and his guests. The official launch will be at:
Capital Books in Wellington on Tuesday 17th of August 2010
Joining the author Brendon Deere will be Austin Hayward (a Spitfire pilot who flew with No. 242 Squadron in WW2 who features in the book) along with one of PV270's display pilots John Lanham.
Another book signing session will take place at Hotshots store at Ohakea on Wednesday 18th of August at 5.00pm with Austin Hayward joining Brendon again.

Inspection copies are currently situated at Capital Books (Wellington), PaperPlus (Palmerston North) and Hotshots Ohakea



Spitfire - Return to Flight by Brendon Deere
Published August 2010 by ITL Aviation
ISBN 978-0-473-16711-0
Hardback with dustcover
304 pages
Coloured and Black & White photos throughout on almost every page.
http://www.spitfirepv270.co.nz
RRP: NZ$69.95
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 4th August 2010, 05:36
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 605
Jukka Juutinen
Re: Spitfire - Return to Flight by Brendon Deere - A Review

The book looked very interesting until I took a look at the sample pages. The book´s designer shout be shot for using that ugly and unreadable ragged right layout that looks like a page from a some teenage girls´ pop music fanzine.
__________________
"No man, no problem." Josef Stalin possibly said...:-)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 19th August 2010, 07:00
RichardMayston RichardMayston is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 1
RichardMayston is on a distinguished road
Re: Spitfire - Return to Flight by Brendon Deere - A Review

Well according to this poll, most people prefer ragged right.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 19th August 2010, 12:17
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 605
Jukka Juutinen
Re: Spitfire - Return to Flight by Brendon Deere - A Review

And what age and social groups are such "polls" likely to appeal? Those that aren´t far from the braindead teenage girls group I mentioned or those who are actually prepared to spend some cash to READ a specialist book? It is very interesting to note that e.g. the once excellent Aeroplane Monthly magazine (excellent as long as Richard Riding was at the helm) has plummeted in quality to an alltime low while the magazine´s design has been taken over by someone whose talents appeal to the previously mentioned teenage crowd.

I have heard various excuses why ragged right has been used. One most hilarious was that this way they could avoid hyphenation. British literacy must be something not to be proud of if hyphenation needs to be avoided.
__________________
"No man, no problem." Josef Stalin possibly said...:-)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 1st September 2010, 18:09
Amrit1 Amrit1 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 326
Amrit1 is on a distinguished road
Re: Spitfire - Return to Flight by Brendon Deere - A Review

Jukka

I’m afraid you are in error here when you criticise the reasons for the left justification of the text. Though you may prefer the aesthetics of full justification, i.e. even paragraphs, educational psychologists, disability researchers and typographic stylists have all shown, through research, that left justification is easier to read. The lack of artificial spaces between the words, and the artificial stretching of individual letters (depending on font) allows the eye to follow the flow of text much easier. In the short-term, for example in forum posts, this may not seem so important. But for many people it does make a big difference when reading large amounts of text.

In fact, there is a growing backlash against the very people that you criticised, but not for the reason you give. The designers were the ones who started the trend for full justification.

You also mention hyphenation. Hyphenation is not a bad thing but if you have ever compared a fully justified text with a left justified one, you may see that there are one of two issues:

1) either any given paragraph will have an large number of lines that end with hyphenated words, which doesn’t help with the flow of reading

2) or printers try to compensate, and limit hyphenation by putting in even more ‘white space’ between words and letters.


At the end of the day it is a personal preference but please do not overly criticise a publisher for doing what is recommended to assist many readers. Aesthetics is what caused the problem for many readers in the first place. What is happening now is a return to focussing on the reading experience rather than the “look”.

I am sure you are wondering why I intervened. It is because I work in the disability field, and so have a considerable knowledge of issues relating to visual and learning disabilities. And it is not just “disabled” people who have problems. These issues affect many people in the wider population. Apart from wearing glasses, I have no reading problems, but I do read many books a month, and even I find unjustified text easier to read, and a faster process.

If you wish I could provide you with a plethora of research references to back up what I have said above, which I have refrained from doing for now because this is, after all, an aviation forum.

Regards

Amrit
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 2nd September 2010, 05:49
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 605
Jukka Juutinen
Re: Spitfire - Return to Flight by Brendon Deere - A Review

I have glasses as well, and I read several hours per day. And everytime I encounter ragged-right text, reading speed drops by at least 80%. Often by 100% and I skip the book totally. Hyphenation present no problem to me at all. And if you care to check, ragged right is a very present phenomenon. Right before my eyes I have a Finnish aviation periodical from 1933: all text except short caption is fully justified. I also have a book on aero engines from 1918, again fully justified throughout. I haven´t seen a single pre-1990s book with ragged right text. Considering that "pre-ragged" time lasted several hundred years, I am inclined to take that as a proof that fully justidied is the best way to go. Ragged-right simply indicates a designer lacking in proper skills. Or he is severely stoned.

I have compared the two extensively, and everytime the ragged-right loses miserably.

I haven´t met a single person who reads a lot of texts and is at least 30 yrs old to prefer ragged-right.

And are these "educational psychologists" of the same league as those doctors who consider alcoholism an illness when it is actually a weakness of character? BTW, I am a teetotaller.

One more thing: shouldn´t books be designed with literate people in mind, not semiliterate?
__________________
"No man, no problem." Josef Stalin possibly said...:-)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 2nd September 2010, 08:07
Amrit1 Amrit1 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 326
Amrit1 is on a distinguished road
Re: Spitfire - Return to Flight by Brendon Deere - A Review

I'm sorry Jukka but rather than an intelligent discussion you straightaway dismiss and denograte what you don't understand.

So I shall just leave my reply to a couple of points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukka Juutinen View Post
And are these "educational psychologists" of the same league as those doctors who consider alcoholism an illness when it is actually a weakness of character? BTW, I am a teetotaller.
To dismiss research in a clear medical field is just arrogance, and using oneself as an example so as to look down on others is further proof that.

Quote:
One more thing: shouldn´t books be designed with literate people in mind, not semiliterate?
I always thought books were a tool for education, not merely there for the edification of the elitest few.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 2nd September 2010, 17:57
Ruy Horta's Avatar
Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
He who rules the forum...
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Posts: 1,468
Ruy Horta has disabled reputation
Re: Spitfire - Return to Flight by Brendon Deere - A Review

Interesting discussion on layout, point to accept different views on the subject and shake hands.

Back to the original topic.

The sample pages included the term "Messerschmidt" which is something that really tickles my irritation bone!
__________________
Ruy Horta
12 O'Clock High!

And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveller between life and death;
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Spitfire Histories Alex Smart Allied and Soviet Air Forces 16 13th April 2010 13:19
Heinz Baer's vic total NickM Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 12 21st February 2010 15:59
Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic) Ruy Horta Allied and Soviet Air Forces 98 9th August 2007 16:22
56th FG - friendly fire case on 4 May 1943 - info needed Lagarto Allied and Soviet Air Forces 28 12th March 2005 23:33
The remarkable William Tex Ash, 24 March '42 Brendan Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 3 4th February 2005 18:55


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 17:21.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004 - 2007, 12oclockhigh.net