Reviews

UNITED KINGDOM

Amazon Reviews

‘It’s a ‘Must’ read. found this book enthralling and difficult to put down. The author writes in an articulate manner keeping the reader engaged and excited about the next chapter. Not only is this book a personal history of the author, it gives the reader a tempting insight into his latest book, A Spitfire Named Connie. Black gives the reader a lesson in the fine use of the English language, I found it not only a fantastic book to read, but an education also.’

‘A cracking read . . . Beautifully written . . . and photographically illustrated . . . Some detailed accounts from the author’s father of . . . aerial combat, along with accounts of routine day-to-day life of a Spitfire pilot during the war. This is backed up admirably by the author’s account of his own flying experiences . . . A great story.’

‘A fantastic insight to the RAF and great leadership. I worked under Black and he was a great and personable man. Buy it and enjoy.’

‘A thoroughly great read for both those wishing to know more about ‘real’ wartime fighter pilots, those wondering how Cold War squadrons operated and those who are curious about how officers percolate to the top of their military service.’

‘As befitting the cool hand of a fighter pilot, this exquisitely produced book is written in a precise, accurate and accomplished style that is both beautiful and compelling.’

‘ . . . a very engaging read, one that I found hard to put down . . . searingly honest and searching.’

‘This is a brilliantly written and engaging book, the story of a working life dedicated to service in the Royal Air Force. A self-effacing, old school true gentleman, the likes of whom are in short supply these days . . . There is so much more that can be said about how good a read this is and there is more to come from this author . . . of all the similar publications I own, this comes out on top.’

‘This is an expertly crafted and highly readable account of the career of a dedicated modern-day officer and aviator, related against the background of a WWII hero fighter pilot father who the writer lived up to and equalled, in his own way.’

‘An exceptionally well written book that is easy to read and provides so much more than just tales of flying experiences. The insights into the challenges faced by a senior military officer away from the cockpit are both interesting and frank.’

‘What struck me most about this story – or rather, these stories – was the sense of equality felt as the reader. Despite the author’s vast knowledge and experience of all matters military, aeronautical, and governmental, you needn’t be well versed in the topics to find this a highly enjoyable and enlightening read. The episodes and anecdotes are all recounted in such a way that it’s easy to resonate with the learnings and life lessons – some very humbly observed – without feeling lost in service jargon.’

‘A thoroughly inspiring and enjoyable read – this is a great advertisement for the Royal Air Force – the sum being greater than the parts . . . A must read for anyone with an interest in 20th Century military history.’

‘This is a fascinating and eclectic book . . . I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it – and then I went back and dipped in and out of it reading it over and over again. It really is an enthralling story . . . beautifully put together and very readable.’

‘I loved this book. Inspiring, evocative, and sensitive. It arrived at the weekend and despite other commitments, I had finished it by Tuesday evening. And, I was sad. Sad because it was a joy to read . . . Brilliantly executed, fun to read, honest in the extreme. Anyone who loves aviation, sport, military history, and/or pure human emotion must give this a go.’

‘. . . enjoyed it immensely. The dual storyline linking his exploits to his father’s WWII experiences holds one’s attention throughout and the natural (& necessary) fighter pilot’s arrogance is tempered beautifully by an attractive degree of self-deprecation. Also, the book has a liberal sprinkling of unique Service humour.’

‘ . . . this book is no simple catalogue of two lives. ‘Black’ skilfully interweaves their stories, paying homage to his father whilst revealing personal insights into his own life and feelings . . . a cracking good read, with many interesting photographs, which will appeal to the general reader as much as to those interested in service life. I loved it.’

“An eclectic mix of personal and career experiences written in an honest, forthright and transparent fashion that had me hooked from the first couple of pages . . . an amazing insight into the career of a fighter pilot juxtaposed with access to his father’s detailed wartime letters and journals . . . Names, places, people, experiences and events that strike a chord . . .a riveting read.’

‘This was a really enjoyable book . . . I loved how it was written in two distinct ways . . . two well-presented stories and viewpoints. The book is very easy to read and has a nice, relaxed style . . . The photographs used in this book are beautiful and . . . really do help the story. I can see this book appealing to many people certainly those with an interest in the RAF, but also those who like to read about a father and son relationship.’

‘This book is a fascinating read, especially for those who are keen to know how the RAF operates in modern times and how the relationship with politicians can, at times, be somewhat fraught.’

‘I couldn’t stop reading it till I got to the end – it’s that engaging.’

‘Beautifully written, a joy to read . . . Black Robertson’s writing style is approachable and engaging, and he’ll draw you into the world of the RAF, both his own life and his father’s. His wistful, honest accounts and views on the various eras of the squadrons, told through his anecdotes, are fascinating, entertaining and feel very personal. There are also some photos you will find nowhere else, in each case backed with the story and context that makes the book feel full of life. It’s a fantastic read which leaves you feeling you really know the author.’

‘A very worthwhile read for many reasons and from many angles. Black evokes the inimitable atmosphere of the RAF College in the sixties and continues with a most illuminating account of the rest of a high-flying career . . . I found this book hard to put down . . . A must for any fan of aviation and the Royal Air Force.

‘ . . . an excellent insight into the ups and downs (no pun intended) of life as an RAF pilot. Insiders will find wry amusement in anecdotes about folk they know. Outsiders (like myself) will garner a rounded picture of the challenges, fun, rewards (and occasional drawbacks) of a military flyer’s life. Black Robertson manages to weave some excellent wisdom about the essentials of sound leadership into his book (without being didactic) – wisdom as relevant to the boardroom as to the flight briefing room . . . Doubtless constrained by the Official Secrets Act, some of the later chapters yield fascinating insights into defence procurement with tantalising hints to be gleaned ‘between the lines’ Overall a well written and superbly illustrated book that will be of interest to a broad readership.”

USA

Black Robertson’s book is far more than simply an outstanding pilot memoir, or even a family memoir. Rather, it offers an insightful look into the professional development of an RAF airman from Cranwell cadet to Air Marshal, the evolution of the Royal Air Force itself from the early jet era of Hunters through the demanding days of NATO versus the Warsaw Pack and the defence of British interests (e.g. the Falklands) with the Phantom, and then on into the post-Cold War world where the need to strengthen RAF airpower is challenged by drawdowns, budgetary stringencies, and often misguided Mandarins driving questionable defence policy. I was struck by how beautifully the author integrated his father into the story . . . it is at once very moving and very effective, and, once again, works to integrate the RAF “then” with the RAF of the 1960’s-1990s. The photographs are wonderful. This book is a real winner.’

Dr Richard P Hallion FAIAA FRAeS FRHistS

‘A must for military aviation and military history enthusiasts . . . it opened my eyes to the culture and fabric of the RAF . . . a captivating window into a cherished age of aviation and Royal Air Force history.’

Amazon customer