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The Chaco Air War 1932-35

The Chaco Air War 1932-35 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2018 Title The Chaco Air War 1932-35
Author Antonio Sapienza Publisher Helion
Published 2018 ISBN 9781911512967
Format 64 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $29.95


Antonio Sapienza surveys "The First Modern Air War in Latin America" in The Chaco Air War 1932-35 – fifth in Helion's superb "Latin America@War" series.

Landlocked Paraguay and Bolivia clashed over the Chaco Boreal, a million menacing square kilometers of "Green Hell" – terrain and temperatures, flora and fauna – fraught with disease and death.

Contents commence with introductory notes on the conflict's geographic and historical background. Sapienza then swiftly segues to a section each on combatant capabilities and equipment. Fighters. Bombers. Transports. And trainers.

Coverage hits crescendo with a chunky chapter – largely from Paraguay's perspective – on the war itself . Personnel. Dates. Aircraft. Serials. Results. Day-by-day. Month-by-month. Year-by-year.

A handy conclusion and two fact-packed appendices neatly tie things up.

The lavishly illustrated, 64-page chronicle also features over 200 B&W photos. Tom Cooper's 21 color profiles superbly sample the swath of participating warplane warpaint. And six maps help chart actions. Images even include Paraguayan warships.


Cooper's Bolivian Hawk II art should sport shallow, streamlined spats for low-pressure tires – not the deeper design with larger-diameter wheels. Too, some photos are so small that they're very difficult to see – even with a magnifying glass.

Nitpicks both.

Paraguay ultimately ejected better-equipped Bolivia from the disputed territory. And air power proved pivotal to its victory. Helion's excellent account recaps why. I loved it.

Roundly recommended!

With thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy!