Jane's Historic Military Aircraft: Recognition Guide

Book cover: 'Jane's Historic Military Aircraft: Recognition Guide'
Tony Holmes
Harper Collins
Sewn Softcover
Number of pages: 
448 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 

There are a wealth of good and interesting books about the two World Wars: The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum, Enemy Brothers by Constance Savery, Flying Aces of World War I by Gene Gurney and many others. After reading a number of these, I began to wish for a book with pictures of the various types of airplanes in order to understand and appreciate the stories better.

I searched for such a guide unsuccessfully for a year or more before I happened to visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. where I came upon this little gem in the gift shop.

This 5" x 7 1/2" guidebook has a friendly size and tough binding for little hands. (We've had ours for over two years and it has held up very nicely.) It organizes the aircraft into five categories: World War I, Inter-War, World War II, Postwar and Helicopters. The categories are easy to find with color bars alongside each left-hand page. The book was written in the U.K. and thus does not focus on various smaller wars since World War II, but the "Postwar" and "Helicopter" segments do include some information about the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Also keep in mind that this is a guidebook for "Historic" Aircraft and thus does not include aircraft that is in use by military today.

Each two page spread includes a fact page on the lefthand side and a full-color photo of a restored or replica airplane that is in flying condition. The fact page includes a paragraph explaining the aircraft's history and features along with detailed specifications: name, type, accomodation, dimensions, weight, speed, range, first flight date, etc.

The book is a little expensive (around $25) and not an absolutely essential ingredient in the study of history, but we've found it to be a really nice supplement. It might make a great Christmas or Birthday present for your young World War II buff.

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