Sunday, November 29, 2015

Book Review: Wings Over Suez

Brian Cull, David Nicolle and Shlomo Aloni
Wings Over Suez
London: Grub Street, 1996
Category: Israel Air Force - History

Rating: 4-Stars

A number of books have been written over the years that touch on the 1956 Sinai Campaign - most written from the perspective of the Israeli units that captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in a matter of days.  That relatively few books have been written about this war from the standpoint of the British or French troops that also fought should not be surprising.  For Israel, the 1956 war was a resounding success, bringing a decade of relative calm to Israel's southern border.  For Britain and France, the military successes of the war were reversed in an embarrassing political debacle that found both the United States and Soviet Union campaigning for a unilateral withdrawal of British and French forces from from the Suez Canal.

This book is therefore unusual, in that it attempts to compile a more comprehensive account of the allied air campaign over the Sinai and Suez, drawing on the accounts and official records of both Israeli and British pilots and squadrons.  The result is a fairly complete retelling of the chain of events, including squadron assignments, first-hand pilot accounts, and a wide array of black-and-white photographs from the war.  The book also provides a fair account for the diplomatic prelude to the war, including French and British attempts to reverse the nationalization of the Suez Canal.

All told, a good historical reference for what has often been a forgotten military campaign.

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