1st ed., 2007. X + 435 pp., photo & other plates. D.j., 24 x 16cm. Upper and lower edges of inside flaps (only) of d.j., very narrowly trimmed, not affecting any text, small owner’s label to top corner of f.f.e.p., o/w Nr.FINE. This comprehensive, wide-ranging study by an acclaimed author creates a richly evocative portrait of the Spitfire from its beginnings as the brainchild of brilliant designer R. J. Mitchell, through its epic battles in the Second World War, to its final days in the RAF of the 1950's. Based on a wealth of unpublished material, including memoirs, correspondence, interviews and confidential government papers, this ground-breaking narrative shows how the Spitfire was beset by production crisis and bitter arguments over fighter strategy before its superb qualities were recognised by its performance in combat. Through the strength of his research the author provides fresh – sometimes controversial – insights into the political and strategic context of the Spitfire's development, as well as vivid descriptions of its fighting power throughout the war.