REVIEW BY NICK MILLMAN, Website Owner 'AVIATION OF JAPAN'

" . . . a cornucopia of pure history"

 

Nick Millman is regarded by many, including ourselves as a specialist in the colours and markings of WW2 Japanese aircraft. He describes his website as "dedicated to information and discussion about the history of aviation and aeroplanes in Japan and the Far East. For Nick's full review please go to http://www.aviationofjapan.com/2013/02/eagles-of-southern-sky-new-book-on.html website contains a plethora of invaluable and esoteric historical detail including aircraft markings. Nick also reviews books on the subject in considerable detail.

. . . Back in 1970 I could never have dreamt of a book on this subject with so much meat, so much colour, so many historical details or images and so meticulous a resolution in examining claim and counter-claim. This soft cover, large-format (11" x 8.5") book has 352 pages packed solid with more than 300 photos, colour art, profiles (of which no less than 33 depict Zero fighters) and historical data, covering not just the Tainan Ku but the units they served alongside and in action against in simply stupefying detail. Here I must declare an interest, for I provided Michael with a little information which he has been kind enough to acknowledge in the book. But at that stage of very minor involvement I had no idea what to expect from the final result that has been achieved, which is extraordinarily outstanding. This book wowed from the moment it arrived.

A unique and visually impressive feature of the book is the series of no less than 28 colour illustrations depicting some of the air battles described, using computerised art that includes the actual locations where the events took place in photographic realism. For the first time it is possible to directly see the aircraft over the actual rugged but beautiful terrain of New Guinea. These encounters are carefully plotted in the text, friend and foe, with the correction of much previously confused, inaccurate or unknown detail. Whilst this debunks many of the claims the result pays homage through truth to the magnitude of the service expected and given by the young men on both sides of the conflict.

The colour profiles cover not just the Zero fighters of the Tainan Ku, each with an in depth explanatory caption, but also other IJN types and the Allied aircraft ranged against them, P-40s, Airacobras, Marauders, Bostons, etc., with comprehensive captions for each one. As modelling inspiration for an early New Guinea campaign theme it is a one stop shop. The photographic content is comprehensive and impressive, from Japanese and Allied sources, including private collections, with many new and revealing images printed clearly and to a good size.

Others have expressed disappointment that this book is not in hard cover. At over 300 pages it has the weighty heft of the best telephone directory a historian or modeller is ever likely to receive but personally I found it easy and comfortable to sit with and read in this format. This mighty tome presents a cornucopia of pure history and is a testimony to the research and dedication of the authors and contributors who are to be congratulated on a magnificent achievement. It is very highly recommended to everyone with a historical or modelling interest in the subject.

The book is available via www.tainanbooks.com for US
D$78.60 (approx £50) and is worth every cent or penny.