Sunday, September 13, 2015

Book Review: Arab-Israeli Air Wars 1947-82

Shlomo Aloni
Arab-Israeli Air Wars 1947-82
Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2001
Category: Israel Air Force - History

Rating: 3-Stars

The period from 1947 to 1982 was a tumultuous one in the skies over the Middle East.  Israel's Air Force evolved from a ragtag band of foreign volunteers flying whatever piston-powered airplanes they could scrape together, to a jet-powered fighting force that would become world renowned.  Israel's neighbors similarly transformed from the piston-powered era, flying British-supplied Spitfires, to the jet age, flying the latest Soviet-sponsored weapons.  The story of this transformation could fill volumes - and indeed has.

This slim text should be therefore regarded as an introduction, a first glimpse into the many events which transpired during this era.  There is simply not enough space between these slim covers to do justice to the many stories and transformations which took place.  Reading this book, you can sense the many, far bigger, more detailed stories behind these events, struggling to unfold and grow beyond the narrow limitations of these pages.

For those who are new to the history of the Arab-Israeli wars, and the key figures who played a role in these events, this book could become a first introduction, with plenty of photographs and full color illustrations.  Well written, the text provides a glimpse into a much broader tale, with just enough first-hand accounts to whet the appetite for more.  It is still a good book - just limited by the spatial constraints imposed on the author.

For those who are hungry for more details however, I would recommend one of Aloni's many other excellent books on this subject, which focus on different aircraft, different eras, or specific episodes in this much broader history.

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