Thursday, 17 February 2011

British Flying Boats

This summer will see the History Press reprint my bumper book of waterborne aeroplanes, 'British Flying Boats'. 250 pages and over 200 nostalgic photographs of this unique type of aeroplane. From infant steps before the First World War, through conflict and peace, the mighty submarine-hunters of the nineteen-forties, to the final curtain during the fifties. It's the only comprehensive history of the British flying-boat, from start to finish, covering every single example built.

Reviewing the first edition published in 2003, the Royal Air Force Air Historical Society babbled with incoherent excitement: "Comprehensive and authoritative ... an excellent account ... informatively captioned images." Aero Militaria magazine's reviewer gushed: "... it provides an unmatched record ... deeply researched ... detailed appendices." T
a very much Uncle Tony, and Mr Jones from the plane-spotters' club. To brighten the forthcoming edition it's been updated and given a new jacket.

'British Flying Boats' was exhausting to research and write; by the time it finally emerged as a book I resented it. I'd fought a ten-year toe-to-toe slugging match with a dogged, obdurate monster that hadn't known when to submit. Now though, from time to time I enjoy dipping into it.

But 'Flying Boats' was my final excursion into practical non-fiction, that genre where world-wide, five thousand fanatics kiss and lick your book while the rest o
f humanity ignores it. A labour or love, or obsessive, compulsive insanity?

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