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New Book on RAAF in SW Pacific

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:27 pm
by Edward
Has anyone seen a copy of this book? Please chime in if you can provide some first and second impressions.


Whispering Death: Australian Airmen in the Pacific War
Mark Johnston
(Allen & Unwin - August 2011)
soft cover
513 pages + photos

Publisher's description of title
"In Whispering Death, Mark Johnston, one of Australia's leading experts on World War II, explains vividly how more than 130,000 Australian airmen fought Japan from the Pacific War's first hours in 1941 to its last in 1945. They clashed over a vast area, from India to Noumea, Bass Strait to the Philippines. Merely flying over that region's boundless oceans and wild weather was dangerous enough for Australia's fliers, but their formidable enemies made it much more perilous. In their Zero fighters and Betty bombers they were initially too numerous, experienced and well-armed for the few Australians who opposed them in Malaya, the Northern Territory and New Guinea. February 1942 brought the RAAF its darkest hour: the bombing of Darwin, which no Australian fighter planes contested. But in the months following, Australian aircrew won or contributed to great aerial victories in the air over Port Moresby, Milne Bay, the Papuan beachheads and the Bismarck Sea. The American air force grew to dominate both the Japanese and their Australian ally, but until war's end Australian aircrew continued to battle in Pacific skies, and to die in flaming aircraft or at the hands of vindictive captors. Some pilots, such as aces Clive 'Killer' Caldwell and Keith 'Bluey' Truscott became household names. Certain Australian aircraft caught the public imagination too: the Kittyhawk, the Spitfire and the plane dubbed 'Whispering Death' for its eviscerating firepower and deceptively quiet engines - the Beaufighter. Australia's flight to victory was never smooth, thanks to internal squabbling at the RAAF's highest levels and a difficult relationship with the allies on whom Australia depended for aircraft and leadership. So controversial were the RAAF's final operations that some of its most prominent pilots mutinied. Based on thousands of official and private documents, Whispering Death makes for compelling reading.

Mark Johnston is one of Australia's leading military historians. His eight books include two previous Allen + Unwin titles, That Magnificent 9th and The Silent 7th." ... 1741759013

Re: New Book on RAAF in SW Pacific

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:27 am
by Andy in West Oz
I haven't seen it in the shops yet, Edward. Might see it in some of the big chain stores in the next week or so when I get the chance. Certainly should be sold in those given the publisher.

Re: New Book on RAAF in SW Pacific

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:27 pm
by Daniel Leahy
I managed to pick this up from eBay. Not a bad book from what I've read so far - I really like the appendix of RAAF air-to-air claims.

Re: New Book on RAAF in SW Pacific

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:31 am
by Andy in West Oz
I've got a review copy on the pile and completely agree with Daniel. From a few flick-throughs it appears a comprehensive look at Australians in the Pacific (and India and Burma). Obviously lots of chaps are mentioned. A well put-together book, great photos and interesting appendices. I particularly liked the scale drawings of all the aircraft with a useful scale airman beside them. Useful for the reading public who aren't super-familiar for the aircraft and useful for those who have never seen an Empire flying boat for example.

Lots of detail but still a bit of a generalist feel which is understandable.

Re: New Book on RAAF in SW Pacific

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:33 am
by Andy in West Oz
Btw, saw it in Collins and Angus & Robertson so attention from the big chain stores in Australia.