SPAD VII Aces of World War I, by Jon Guttman, Osprey Publishing (U.K.), 2001; 96 pp., 9-3/4" x 7-1/4", softcover, profusely illustrated with photos, line drawings and color profiles, appendices and index; ISBN 1-84176-222-9; $18.95; available from Motorbooks International, P.O. Box 1, Osceola, WI 54020 (publisher's Fax: 1-800-826-6600).
Often neglected French airmen of World War I have found a champion in author Jon Guttman, who has devoted years to researching the men and aircraft of the Armée de l'Air. His latest work is so specific that it is dedicated to the first half of the 'SPAD aces of World War I': American, Belgian, British, French, Italian and Russian pilots who flew SPAD VII fighters. The book's notes promise that Guttman is working on a companion volume, covering men who flew the SPAD XII and XIII.
This book begins with a fine text and collection of photos that recounts the history of the "Storks" units. A chapter on "other" French SPAD units follows, as does one on RFC SPAD pilots and, of course, other Allied pilots who flew the S.VII.
A visual treat is at the book's center, where Harry Dempsey's full-color portfolio of 48 SPAD profiles appears. The author, a noted French markings specialist, provides a full text commentary on each of the profiled aircraft.
Guttman has produced a superb, well-researched mixture of text and photos as befits his reputation. The current volume is highly recommended--and the next volume is eagerly awaited.
submitted by Peter Kilduff