13 April 2011

Aircrew Book Review's second anniversary

It occurred to me a couple of months ago that ABR's second anniversary was rapidly approaching and, given the first one just whizzed past without me realising, I thought I might try to mark it with some sort of salubrious event. More of that later.

Two years ago, April 17, 2009 to be exact, I had been out of work for two months and, naturally, had no idea it would be another 10 months and a move interstate before I found employment again. This idea for a website dedicated to spreading the word about Commonwealth aircrew books - old and new - had been bouncing around in my head for a couple of weeks and I needed a bit of a creative outlet beyond re-writing my resume for each new job application. With the basics of Blogger somewhat mastered (still debatable) due to an existing website, I dove into ABR and started posting the longer versions of reviews I had done for Steve Darlow's Fighting High website. I also dug out the reviews posted on Amazon. In no time ABR was populated with the likes of Owen Zupp's Down To Earth, Martin Bowman's Mosquito: Menacing The Reich and Mark Lax's Alamein To The Alps to name a few. For those of you who have read the reviews from this time, you'll notice they're a lot shorter (thankfully) than what I write today (although looking at them now, I didn't realise they were that short!. This is something I am addressing with the reviews I write this year. Tightening up my writing is the goal besides wading through a decent pile of books and getting their reviews online faster.

One thing that won't change, and I hope is an obvious theme in those first reviews through to the very latest one, is the honesty and passion. If a book has its shortcomings, I will tell you. However, as I have said before, there are no terrible books in this genre ... just a few 'average' ones that wouldn't take much to be better! After all, I applaud the effort and time put into producing a book. It is something I have not done so I respect those with the dedication to see the project through.

What for the future? Well, more reviews of course and, hopefully, bringing you details of new books as they approach publication. I'm also going to go back to basics somewhat by producing an ABR glossary (not everyone who comes here knows the aircrew 'story' backwards) and a how-to-navigate-ABR post. This latter idea is again more directed at the visitor who stumbles into ABR as I realise it's not obvious just what is accessible on the website.

So, here's to the years ahead. Keep the comments and recommendations coming and if you hear of a new book that ABR can help promote, you know where to get me.

Now, the second anniversary challenge. Send me an email with a cover photo of your favourite Commonwealth aircrew book and a mini-review of 150 words or less. I'll pick the winner (no deadline as yet so bang away) and then send you something from the Temora Aviation Museum giftshop!

Many thanks for your support in helping Aircrew Book Review spread the word.