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Air Power and the Arab World 1909-1955, Volume 1

Air Power and the Arab World 1909-1955, Volume 1 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review November 2019 Title Air Power and the Arab World 1909-1955, Volume 1
Author David C. Nicolle, Gabr Ali Gabr Publisher Helion
Published 2019 ISBN 9781912866434
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (GBP) £19.95


David C. Nicolle and the late Gabr Ali Gabr recount Air Power and the Arab World 1909-1955 in the 20th installment of Helion’s excellent “Middle East@War” series.

Subtitled “Military Flying Services in Arab Countries, 1909-1918”, Volume 1 traverses 96 pithy pages across seven chunky chapters:

  • Before the First Bombs
  • The Italian Invasion of Libya (1911-1914)
  • The Formation of Ottoman Air Arms (1911-1914)
  • The French Invent Aerial Policing (1909-1914)
  • Spaniards Over the Rif (1909-1914)
  • The First World War in Arab Lands (1914-1918)
  • The Ottoman Air Forces and the Arabs

Use of “Arab World” in the title lets authors cover Ottoman, French, Italian, Spanish, and British actions in historically Arab lands. And they thankfully stretch the point to recap aviation events in the First and Second Baltic Wars – and over the Dardanelles in World War I.

Sections chronologically course through their subjects. And text comes packed with fascinating facts.

Why did Ottoman warplanes wear black squares as national markings? Page 69 reveals the surprising answer.

The lavishly illustrated account sports nearly 150 rare, period photos, contemporary shots, and archival images. Fifteen color profiles offer aircraft modelers potent project potential. And maps help put commentary into geographic perspective.

However, Volume 1 almost completely lacks citations. But authors partially compensate for that omission with a robust selected bibliography of sources in several languages.

This still remains a great introduction to the subject. And I can’t wait for the sequel.

Robustly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Helion for this review sample!