Full title: Royal Air Force and Australian Flying Corps Squadron Losses, 1st April - 30th June 1918. Author: W R Chorley. Publisher: Mention the War Publications. Available from Amazon, £15.
W R (Bill) Chorley is best known for his Bomber Command Losses books, which have been of immense usefulness to historians. This is his first book exclusively about the First World War.
Given Bill Chorley’s track record I had high hopes. However, while this book is not disastrous, it is disappointing. There is little material that has not been published before or which is not available on the web. Mr Chorley does not mention Cross & Cockade and its magazine and books in either the acknowledgments or the list of sources – an important indication that this is not a thorough piece of work.
Most of this 334-page softback is devoted to a chronological listing of the aircraft lost by squadrons – a sample scan is attached. Appendices provide tables of losses by squadron, aircraft type and location. There is a Roll of Honour. Finally, there are about 20 indifferent images of aircraft, many credited to Wiki.
Although some abbreviations are used, there was much scope for using more without baffling the likely audience. Virtually all numbers are spelled out in full. The presentation of dates is inconsistent and sometimes simply long-winded. Some aircraft serials are given in quote marks and some are not. A two-column page layout would have been more readable.
Last Edit: Mar 23, 2019 11:34:12 GMT by geoffnegus
Post by Stig Jarlevik on Mar 23, 2019 13:25:35 GMT
To me your review feels a bit harsh, but since I have not seen Bill's book, it is of course difficult to say. Also being a bit daft when it comes to squeezing the maximum amount out of the internet, I would like to know where in C & C and the 'net I can find the details you provide with your sample page?
I know of course about the ADF site where no doubt the Australian losses can be located, but the others?
Checking Henshaw (The Sky their Battlefield) he has 24 pages devoted to losses on the Western Front (April-June 1918), plus of course more if one combines all fronts. Since he lists only combat losses, while Chorley seems to list ALL losses at least with such a comparison you get quite a bit more details from Chorley. Mind you I don't have Hobson's book about Airmen losses, so don't know how many pages he devotes to the months in question.
Finally reading C & C own review of the book, their reviewer is quite happy about concluding his opinion with "one worth having".
Maybe it would have been an idea to see Mr Chorley's book before saying that my review felt "a bit harsh"?!
Of course the C&C reviewer is entitled to his view, but personally I felt he was extremely generous.
The websites acknowledged by Mr Chorley include those of the AWM, CWGC and the London Gazette. He quoted extensively from the last-mentioned.
The print in The Sky their Battlefield is far smaller than in Mr Chorley's book, and the layout is more compact. (For example, the page margins in Henshaw's book total about 40mm; those in the Chorley book total about 80mm.) Comparing the two books by counting the number of pages is hardly valid. It's not possible to make a quick page-count comparison with Airmen Died in the Great War, because of the way that book was structured. There was great scope to shorten Mr Chorley's text without loss of factual content.
Post by Stig Jarlevik on Mar 23, 2019 16:17:37 GMT
Perhaps it should have Geoff.
The problem is that it is far more difficult to do so in Sweden than it is for you in England. Not even sure why you bought the book in the first place, or is it a review copy you have received?
Perhaps you also could answer my question where I can find the details on the page you provided instead of going into a debate regarding margin size etc. I am of course fully aware that no two books published by different companies can be compared by number of pages only, but I just tried to put Chorley's 335 page book into context with what has been published before such as Henshaw's book with ca 30 pages devoted to the same time frame. In my opinion, no matter how hard you try Henshaw cannot possibly equal Chorley when it comes to loss details.
Finally I notice you are quite fond of short forms, abbreviations etc. I have to confess I am not. The latest abbreviation craze in books make many of them totally unreadable, jumping back and forth between the text and the explanation. Perhaps you are using such abbreviations daily in your hobby but I am not. Books like this are not something I use as a novel, reading it page after page but something you look up when needed. So for me a book using fewer abbreviations is a + rather than -
So let's conclude we differ in opinion and the book looks interesting enough for me to buy.
You asked where you could find the details reproduced in the extract I attached to my review.
I have quickly gone through it, shading the text in different colours to show whether it can be found on the CWGC or London Gazette website, or Hobson's Airmen Died in the Great War, or Air-Britain's SE5A monograph, or the 2nd edition of The Sky Their Battlefield.
I'm not able to post it here - the list doesn't support colour shading in a Quick Reply - so am about to email it to you.
I hope you will agree that the sources listed above provide a very high percentage of the detail in this extract from the book.