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Spitfire: A Very British Love Story

4.66  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  20 reviews
'The best book you will ever read about Britain's greatest warplane.' Patrick Bishop, bestselling author of Fighter Boys.

‘A rich and heartfelt tribute to this most iconic British machine.  By focussing on the men (and women) who flew the Spitfire, John Nichol has brought a fresh and powerful perspective to the story.  And by recording their bravery, humility, camaraderie,
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published May 17th 2018 by Simon & Schuster UK
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4.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  121 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Jonny Ruddock
"I am often asked which is my favourite is a very difficult question for me to answer. Who wouldn't be impressed with the gut-wrenching climb performance of the Lightning, almost touching the lower reaches of space, out of howling along in a Hawker Sea Fury? So I answer the question this way: if God said that I could have just one more flight, my last flight before I die, in any aircraft I have ever flown, I would choose to get airborne in a Spitfire."
That's Air Marshal Cliff Spink r
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
As a member of the post Second World War generation who grew up on Biggles and the accounts of the battle of Britain, the Supermarine Spitfire has always been a thing of beauty for me. As the aircraft that saved Britain from being overrun in 1940, as the most beautiful of aeroplanes in all its variants, it is quintessentially British.

This book then is a paen, a hymn of praise to the aircraft and those who flew it during the Second World War. It is an attempt in hindsight to set it in its place i
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous love letter to the Spitfire and the pilots who flew her. This book covers the technological developments, the dogfights in the skies and the personal lives of the pilots. It covers every theatre of the war and really gives you an appreciation for the value of this plane in the war.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A love story indeed. It pays homage to the men and women who designed the Spitfire, built her, maintained her and flew her — as well as to the Spitfire herself. The Spitfire was more than an aircraft. It was a symbol of hope, of courage and resilience, and became a legend. With its elliptic wings, it was easily recognisable in the wartime skies and became an icon, giving hope to those Allies civilians watching below. It inspired kids watching to become fighter pilots — on Spitfires.

The Spitfire
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so moving it is written respectfully as a tribute to this magnificent aircraft and the men and women that flew or worked with them. Fighter Aces, air crew, transport women, reconisance pilots many now in their 90s or older. So many who contributed did not see its publication but the author was able to capture the testaments of the last of the generation that flew them. I met the Spit fire ace Johnnie Johnson at the historic Battle of Britain flight in wood hall Spa and everyone was ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic, war
Although it’s over 70 years since its finest hour, the Spitfire retains a unique place in the British consciousness as a symbol of hope and, ultimately, of victory.

Nichol, an ex-RAF man himself, interviewed a number of veterans for this book and it is the tale not so much of the aeroplane but of the men and women who flew and worked on it. The pilots’ stories make up the bulk of the book, from ‘The Few’ of the Battle of Britain, to the photo reconnaissance pilots who flew unarmed Spitfires deep
Julian Walker
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of a legend, lovingly told with the style, panache and skill of the fighter plane itself.

The author cleverly weaves formal history with personal reminiscences, to create a fabulous tale of perhaps the most iconic plane ever invented (I am British so I may have a small bias here).

I was hooked from the very first pages as he describes the last flight of an aged former pilot and the look on his face as he lands - and the pace and engagement never gives up.

Filled with fascinating facts, t
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must for aviation lovers. Whereas most literature about aircraft tends to be very technical and factual, this book gives a voice to the pilots of this wonderful warplane. I liked that it not only talked about the aces and the male pilots, but also about the countless woman pilots who were ferrying them about and the impact this had on emancipation. Well written and based on many interviews with pilots still alive when Nichol started writing. If the Spitfire ever touched you when you were young ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A beautiful testament to a machine and the group of people who flew it but have now passed away. At the very end of the book there's a bit that made me quite angry. It involves a Dutch man called Hennie Noordhuis from Borne who gets in touch with pilot Jimmy Taylor in 1990 to tell him he's found his goggles, oh and by the way, after you parachuted down three men in our village were executed. This news "shattered" the old pilot. Was it really necessary to tell him that, Mr Noordhuis? Shame on you ...more
Bill McFadyen
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
John Nichol has written a fine book about this beautiful and amazing aircraft but more importantly he has captured the stories of some of those men and women who designed , built , maintained transported and flew the airplane.
His empathy towards those involved shines through on every page and he managed to capture their stories just in time as they pass away into the heavens where this warplane flew.
Mr Kevin
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superb accounts of the men and women involved in the Spitfire story from inception to last uses in battle. I learnt a lot from this and I have read a few books from other accounts. This was the best of them.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely Fantastic Story

This book captures perfectly the wonderful story of the spitfire and those who flew her.. This was a very special plane and flown by wonderful people. We owe them so much. I've bought hard copy and will treasure this story for ever.
Alan pritchard
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant read

This book contains a history lesson through personal account by the brave men and women who battled unrelentingly in what was arguably our country’s darkest hour. Presented by an author with passion and respect thank you John
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes you find yourself caught up in the action so much, it seems like fiction. Then you have to take a breath and remember that these are real tales of real people and it makes you wonder how people went through all this and came out the other side.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A superb approach to telling the Spitfire Story by combining technical elements with real human experiences. It is an excellent and compelling read.
Mark Bandey
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a tribute to the brave men and women who flew these iconic planes
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent research. Loved the social history. Great read.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and sentimental. Certainly appreciative of war heroes with lots of great stories. And quite right too.
Paul Bondsfield
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lost count of the lumps in throat and sudden urge to rub my eyes. Excellent poem to a plane - but it was the guys who flew this icon that shine through
Nigel Bradshaw
Both enjoyable and educational
roger grafton
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Aug 09, 2018
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

John Nichol was Scottish man of letters, and the first Regius Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow.
“Nerves got the better of the most experienced pilots during Rhubarbs. On one occasion, two of Robertson’s fellow 111 Squadron pilots flew over the Channel up into cloud then came down and slipped over the coast. They spotted a train and shot it up before heading back home. They were surprised on return to be called into the Station Commander’s office. What had they been shooting at? A train. Did they damage it? Yes, quite a bit. Did they realise the train they’d shot up was heading to Margate?16” 0 likes
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