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Hile his focus is on the famous aces most of whom receive brief biographies and select descriptions of their air battles he also discusses the ground crews and manufacturers as well Anthony Fokker receives particular attention with his story encapsulating ust how fluid the aircraft industry was at the time and how uickly could change for the people in it It all was at the time and how uickly fortunes could change for people in it It all for very entertaining readingYet for all of its strengths this is also a deeply flawed book In focusing on the aces Longstreet leaves out vital aspects of the air war As is so often the case Longstreet s book is mainly about warfare over the Western Front with aerial battles elsewhere covered in ust two short chapters Moreover it is almost exclusively a book about fighters and fighter pilots coverage of the bombing campaigns is confined to a single chapter about the Zeppelin raids on England while scouting is effectively ignored altogether Nor is there is any context provided for the aerial dueling he describes making it seem as though it was all a struggle apart from the larger conflict Worst of all though is the clich d nature of Longstreet s writing which too often devolves to national stereotyping to fill in the gaps in his analysisBecause of this anyone new to the subject can finish this book with a deeply distorted understanding of air warfare during the First World War For all of the thrilling episodes recounted in purplish prose Longstreet s reduction of an important aspect of the conflict to a series of dramatic personalities and biplane battles does a real disservice to his subject The best that one can hope for in this respect is that enough of Longstreet s zeal will rub off on his readers that they will seek out other books for a comprehensive picture of the air war lest they believe that the popular image of the air war is the only one that matter. Little than a year of actual combat Examining the technological aspects of combat aviation the development use of weapons such as the zeppelin the machine gun and the incredible teamwork of famous fighter suadrons Longstreet captures both the romance the horror of combat above the Western Fro. R says the book is About The Planes Of World The Planes of World I The Men Who the Who Them and it is There is little about their strategic employment and the practices of Trenchard or Mitchell We re seeing the war from the viewpoint of the aviators themselves and it can get gritty in places There are some lengthy uotations to convey this feeling The book a narrative not a study is an easy enough read There are a number of factual errors however and the author s distaste for Richtofen the Red Baron comes through is his portrayal of the Baron as a Junker aristocrat and cold blooded killer who did not shoot at men in parachutes they weren t used until after he was killed Enjoy and learn from the stories but beware of the facts This is an entertaining and informative look at a seldom reflected upon chapter of our world s history One of the most succinct well written and engaging accounts of aerial combat during the Great War that I have ever read This book was my absolute favorite as a young kid It may seem a bit dry to the casual observer but the stories of this romantic era of aerial combat really thrilled me when I was young and still entertain me now Excellent account of life for a WW1 aviator I liked the details about life away from the airfield when they weren t flying This is a work born of a long burning passion for the subject In his introduction Stephen Longstreet describes how as a youth he collected newspaper articles and spoke with pilots of the First World War about their experiences As an adult he spent a uarter of a century accumulating materials about the air war in order to write this book in which he sets out to tell the stories of the men and machines who fought the pioneer air combat And this passion shows on nearly every page Longstreet s focus is on the human element or the lives of the men who participated in the air war Fred von Richthofen The Red Baron who shot down 80 enemy planes; Max Immelmann who extended the combat capabilities of the aircraft with his innovative aerial maneuvers; one eyed British ace Mick Mannock who brought down 73 German planes; America's own Eddie Rickenbacker whose 26 kills came in. An enjoyable and easy read reviews suggest it may not be as accurate as one might hope but it s certainly a good introduction for those curious about the topic Canvas Falcons explores the development of military into and through the first World War It also looks at the inventors designers and pilots of the period Good insight This book is widely and correctly panned for its inaccuracies and speculative passages That said it is an enjoyable read if one is aware of its faults and accepts it as an entertaining lightweight history of air warfare in WWI Excellent one is aware of its faults and accepts it as an entertaining lightweight history of air warfare in WWI Excellent about the very young men who flew in combat during World War One I am very glad to have discovered Longstreet s effort to bring us into the cockpit Most books I have read regarding aviation in the first world war tend to gloss over the personalities and personal stories of the aviators Most tend to give much detail in regards the aircraft in use and inevitably fall into repeating the oft told stories of bravery in the air regards the aircraft in use and inevitably fall into repeating the oft told stories of bravery in the air knighthood good sporting and the mythology that surrounds these young menLongstreet brings us the foibles fears and idiosyncrasies of the flyers He also gives us glimpses of what the men endured in their short life spans as they they climbed into their temperamental machines from day to dayThe book could have used photos of the men who s stories he presents and several photos of the euipment they flew but all of that is readily available on the internet At the end the stories we are familiar with in regards the exploits and lives of Fonck Richtofen Voss Mannock and the very young Albert Ball are most assuredly only the tip of of the iceberg and over polished at that While this book was published in 1970 hopefully with the anniversary of the Great War and the information now available through the internet we can learn even The Canvas Falcons cove. Based on documents written by the great aces and interviews with survivors this story of the air war in Europe re creates a world where men too young to have known much of life discovered new ways of killing dying Here are the true stories of the famous flyers on both sides of the conflict Man. The Canvas Falcons The Men and Planes of WW1