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P-51 Mustang: Seventy-Five Years of America's Most Famous Warbird (edition 2015)

by Cory Graff (Author), Steve Hinton (Foreword)

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Member:MilitaryAviationML
Title:P-51 Mustang: Seventy-Five Years of America's Most Famous Warbird
Authors:Cory Graff (Author)
Other authors:Steve Hinton (Foreword)
Info:Zenith Press (2015), 224 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:military history, military aviation, P-51 Mustang, WW II

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P-51 Mustang: Seventy-Five Years of America's Most Famous Warbird by Cory Graff

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When readers think of World War II fighter aircraft, the P-51 Mustang is often the first one that comes to mind. In 2015 the P-51 celebrated the 75th anniversary of its first flight. Cory Graff’s P-51 Mustang: Seventy-Five Years of America’s Most Famous Warbird is a wonderful celebration of this aircraft’s illustrious history.

The iconic P-51 was born from Britain’s desperate need for more platforms to fight the German Luftwaffe. When the British Purchasing Commission approached North American Aviation about manufacturing the P-40 under license, that company’s leader, “Dutch” Kindelberger, responded that North American could make a better aircraft faster than it could begin production of the P-40. Equipped with an Allison engine, the initial P-51 proved a bit anemic in performance, but when mated with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, it became one of the Allies’ most capable—if not the most capable—and versatile aircraft: the lead horse in the American fighter stable. As the long-range escort for American bombers on missions across the European continent, the P-51 played an essential part in winning the air war there. The Mustang proved its versatility by serving not only as an escort but also as a reconnaissance and ground-attack aircraft. Further, it performed admirably in the Pacific theater, continued to serve as a dedicated ground-attack platform in the Korean War, and, after retiring from military service, became a prized icon among civilian warbird owners as well as air racers.

To tell the story of the P-51, Cory Graff has pulled out all the stops, combining detailed yet easy-to-read text with a multitude of photographs and period advertisements to bring the tale to life. The book is a 60-40 split between images (photographs, drawings, and period advertisements) and text, respectively. Throughout, the author includes two-page vignettes of the Mustang and the men who flew her, such as the Tuskegee Airmen.

Although most readers interested in the P-51 have probably seen countless numbers of photos of the plane, Graff seems to have uncovered a heretofore unknown treasure trove of seldom-seen, well-captioned images. Particularly interesting are all of the many period P-51 advertisements. Rather than confine himself to historical photographs, Graff also includes images (mostly air-to-air) of today’s surviving P-51s.

Although researchers would find a list of his sources useful, Graff’s purpose is to tell the story of the P-51 in an enjoyable fashion, utilizing broad history, focused vignettes, and a wonderfully robust collection of photographs and images. Printed on thick, high-quality paper, P-51 Mustang: Seventy-Five Years of America’s Most Famous Warbird is best described as “meaty” coffee-table book for fans of both this aircraft and other World War II warbirds. This book will easily earn a prime spot on readers’ shelves or coffee tables.

This review was originally published in the Air and Space Power Journal ( )
  LouisianaReader | Jun 7, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0760348596, Hardcover)

Celebrate 75 years of the iconic World War II warbird that helped win the war and flew into the heart of American life.

From D-Day to the Battle of the Bulge, through reconnaissance missions and combat, fighting flying bombs and Me 262 Stormbird jets, P-51 Mustang pilots saw it all during World War II. P-51 Mustang celebrates the 75th anniversary of the most iconic American warbird written by Cory Graff, lead curator at the Flying Heritage Collection--one of the world's most important collections and sites for warbird restoration.

The entire story of this plane is here, starting with the astonishing fact that the P-51 Mustang was built in less than 120 days. This first version was hardly a world-beater, and it took the addition of a Rolls-Royce-designed Merlin to make the Mustang a legend. These nimble and versatile fighters were able to escort Allied heavy bombers all the way to Berlin and back. In the Pacific, their long-range ability was pushed to its limit, with pilots flying 1,500-mile, eight-or-more-hour missions over water to attack Tokyo.

On the home front, Graff profiles the impact manufacturing Mustangs had on workers in Los Angeles and Dallas.

The United States wasn't finished with the P-51 Mustang after World War II. It was used in the Korean War and, afterwards, as a symbol and icon of American ingenuity. Graff explores the post-World War II history of this iconic plane, making this a book that every single World War II, history, and aviation enthusiast will want to buy.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 07 Jun 2016 09:45:17 -0400)

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