Marked for Death: The First War in the Air

Marked for Death: The First War in the Air

by James Hamilton-Paterson


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Little more than ten years after the first powered flight, aircraft were pressed into service in World War I. Nearly forgotten in the war's massive overall death toll, some 50,000 aircrew would die in the combatant nations' fledgling air forces.The romance of aviation had a remarkable grip on the public imagination, propaganda focusing on gallant air 'aces' who become national heroes. The reality was horribly different. Marked for Death debunks popular myth to explore the brutal truths of wartime aviation: of flimsy planes and unprotected pilots; of burning nineteen-year-olds falling screaming to their deaths; of pilots blinded by the entrails of their observers.James Hamilton-Paterson also reveals how four years of war produced profound changes both in the aircraft themselves and in military attitudes and strategy. By 1918 it was widely accepted that domination of the air above the battlefield was crucial to military success, a realization that would change the nature of warfare forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681775067
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 09/12/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 730,885
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

James Hamilton-Paterson is the author of Empires of the Clouds (Faber), a classic account of the golden age of British aviation. He won a Whitbread Prize for his first novel, Gerontius. He lives in Austria.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Air War and the State 13

2 Why Biplanes? 39

3 Armed to the Teeth 69

4 Combat and Other Missions 95

5 The Making of a Flying Man 123

6 How they lived 151

7 Aces 177

8 Airmen and Medics 205

9 Parachutes and Fatalism 233

10 Home Defence 253

11 Balkans and Mesopotamia 281

12 Postscript 305

Chronology of the First Air War 311

Note on the Classification of Aircraft Types 319

Glossary 321

Acknowledgments 327

Bibliography 331

Endnotes 335

List of Illustrations 344

Index 346

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