STEVE BIRDSALL

An Australian born in 1944, and now living in Sydney, Steve grew up in Australia when WW2 still seemed very close. Steve’s passion for aviation history was enhanced when he travelled to Vietnam as a correspondent, where he flew missions in an A-1 Skyraider and the AC-47. Steve’s initial research focus became the four-engined bombers: the B-17, B-24 and later the B-29. His career as an author really commenced when he read Len Morgan’s books about the P-51 Mustang and the P-47 Thunderbolt. He wrote to Len offering to provide photos if he would co-author a book on the B-17 as part of the ‘Famous Aircraft’ series. Morgan suggested Steve write the book instead, resulting in Steve's first two books being on B-17, followed by the B-24. More books followed; A history of the A-1 Skyraider for Arco Publishing, and three substantive books for Doubleday: Log of the Liberators, Flying Buccaneers and Saga of the Superfortress. Along the way Steve also wrote several books for the ‘In Action’ series; the B-17, B-24, B-26 and B-29, plus a ‘Superfortress Special’, a ‘Fighting Colors’ on the B-17 and finally ‘Pride of Seattle’. This was was followed by ‘Claims To Fame: The B-17 Flying Fortress’ co-authored with 8th Air Force guru Roger Freeman.

Veterans have always been Steve’s primary source, using their recollections set against official records. Whilst admitting this methodology is not an exact science, Steve thinks it's valid. During the halcyon days of the Air Force Book Program, almost annually Steve would visit the photo archives in Washington D.C, a short walk from the Pentagon. He also visited the records center at Maxwell AFB, the National Archives, the Air Force Museum in Ohio, and numerous veterans around the country. Steve was advising on a film about the B-29, which led to making a television documentary about ‘Black Jack’; the underwater wreckage of a B-17F in New Guinea. Over the years Steve has also written for Flightpath magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Daily Telegraph, Flying Review International, Air Combat, AAHS Journal, Air Classics, Air Force magazine and other numerous publications. Steve's current interest is the missions flown by the 19th Bombardment Group in New Guinea.