07 November 2014

Chocks away, release brakes

Hi everyone, it's been a while!

For those of you who don't know, since my last post we've moved back to Melbourne and I am in my third week of Daddy day care! We're still unpacking and the modem took five days to find hence why things have taken some time to get back to something resembling normality.  The books are unpacked and on the shelves!

There's lots of books to talk about, and I'll get there, but, in the meantime, if you read Flightpath magazine there will be, at most, six of my short reviews in the next issue that is due out in time for Christmas.  With luck the reviews might help in the Christmas present decision-making process ... or just add more titles to wish lists.

Self-publishers have been a bit of a focus on ABR of late. I have a lot of respect for all authors but those who self-publish really strike a chord with me so I'll take this opportunity to give another tip of the hat to new friends Chris Keltie (Riding In The Shadow Of Death), Andrew Porrelli and Simon Hepworth (Striking Through Clouds, the No. 514 Sqn war diary available in the UK and Australia, ask me about Australian sales) and John Hooton (One Life Left). It is always exciting when a new book arrives but these guys have gone above and beyond to get these stories out there.  The books themselves are very attractive items too.

Speaking of new books, the kids and I visited the RAAF Museum at Point Cook a couple of weeks ago. The museum shop sells some good titles and I managed to pick up three (and then another four five days later...). I had been after two of the first three (Air-To-Air by Chris Rudge and Kittyhawk Pilots by Cyril Ayris) for close to a decade and, happily, they were priced affordably (and realistically). It's a good reminder that your local museum can have some gems for sale ... and your money certainly goes to a good cause (I had a similar experience when Paul Sortehaug's The Wild Winds jumped in to my hands at the RNZAF Museum in 2010!). That said, I still regret not buying Kittyhawk Pilots from Cyril Ayris (and not to mention his cohort's, Stan Watt, Wing Over And Dive) in 2006!

Some of our favourite publishers are already announcing new books for 2015. Fighting High is leading the way with the covers of Into The Dark and Thunder Bird In Bomber Command (the new Sean Feast title) already released (check out the new charity book too - Coming Home, One Hundred Years of Housing Heroes) and Pen & Sword will be releasing the UK edition of Kristen Alexander's latest, and very welcome, Australia's Few and the Battle of Britain. I'll be surprised if they produce as good a book as New South did for the Australian edition. It is a superb work from cover to cover.  Norwegian Tor Idar Larsen will also have his new solo effort, Mosquito Attack!, published by Fonthill early next year. Norwegian Mossie pilot anyone?

Still to come in 2014 is Steve Brew's second volume of his No. 41 Sqdn history (Blood, Sweat And Courage) that will also come out through Fonthill. Work on strength building now as it'll be a massive book as Steve covers the squadron's history from the start of the war through to July 1942.  Go to your local hardware store, or remove some cross-members from your bed, as you will need something to shore up your bookshelf when this one arrives!

I recently 'discovered' a new book in the latest Allen & Unwin military newsletter.  While the expected WW1 titles ruled the roost I was surprised to see several WW2 PoW-based books due for release shortly.  Already available in the UK, Peter Tunstall's The Last Escaper has only just been released in Australia.  I fear it may get lost in the Christmas rush, and the general focus on WW1, but this must surely be one of the last books to be penned by an aircrew veteran and that lifts it above the accolades it is already receiving for being a quality read.

Stepping forward in time again to 2015 and we have the re-release of a giant.  The third edition of Kenneth Wynn's legendary Men of the Battle of Britain will issue forth to a grateful world on June 30 and will be one of the aircrew book highlights of the year as the 75th anniversary of the Battle is commemorated.  What other books shall we see on this important anniversary? 

I've probably forgotten some other news but keep an eye on ABR and be sure to let me know of anything I have missed so we can get news of these stories and books out to as many people as possible.


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