Hikoki, Ottringham, 1st ed., 2001. 304 pp., numerous b&w photo-ills., + cold., ills., + maps. D.j., 30 x 22cm. FINE. Strictly speaking, there was no Polish Air Force in the period covered by this book - the Polish airmen formed the aviation component of the Polish army and navy. In this context, the Polish fliers had to successively fight for their existence from the chaotic beginnings in the aftermath of World War I, against political parsimony and flawed planning during the 1930s, and then literally for their lives against the Nazi and Soviet juggernauts in September of 1939. The authors describe, squadron by squadron, in enormous detail, exactly how the well-trained but isolated Poles fought bitterly against the invaders. They were overwhelmed, not through want of courage or determination, but by out-dated tactics and equipment and enemies greatly superior in number both in the air and on the ground. Poland's loss was, ultimately, the RAF's gain when Polish pilots proved to be some of the most successful of all in summer 1940. This work includes 464 photographs, many previously unpublished and 16 pages of specially commissioned colour illustrated markings and camouflage schemes of different types of aircraft. UNCOMMON.