Aces of the Reich: The Making of a Luftwaffe Pilot, by Mike Spick (ISBN 1-85367-675-6, MBI Publishing Co., 380 Jackson Street, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55101-3885, phone: 651.287.5000, fax: 651.287.5001, Web site: www.mbipublishing.com. Hardcover, 6" x 9 1/4", 240 pages, 21 black and white photos, 20 charts and diagrams, 2006, $34.95).
The title of this book is somewhat a misnomer. Actually, this work is much broader in scope, comprising an analytical study of the meteoric rise of the Luftwaffe in WWII and its equally abrupt fall. Mike Spick, the author of over thirty books on military aviation, discusses the leaders and strategies of the service, the training and tactics of Luftwaffe pilots, and the air campaigns. He highlights comparisons between German and Allied air forces, personnel, and aircraft performance. Finally, he explains how the Richthofen heritage of aces competing for ever higher kill scores contributed to the defeat of a Luftwaffe unable to absorb the attrition of skilled pilots.—Doug Bister