Cover image for The first air war, 1914-1918
The first air war, 1914-1918
Kennett, Lee B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [1991]

Physical Description:
xii, 275 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D600 .K46 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
D600 .K46 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Because of its recent invention, the aeroplane captured the imagination of both soldiers and civilians during World War I, and the psychological effect of the new weapon often outweighed its actual capabilities.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

The much-covered field of World War I in the air gains an extensively researched re-evaluation in this work by Kennett, research professor at the University of Georgia and author of seven books, including G.I.: The American Soldier in World War II (Warner, 1989). Choosing not to dwell on the desperate air-to-air combats of a few American, British, and German aces--exciting though they were, their importance was overemphasized by the media of the day and subsequent historians--he views the war in the air as a whole, reminding us that the primary purpose of air power in World War I was reconnaissance and intelligence. He provides fresh information and thoughts in many areas, including valuable chapters on the recruitment, training, and daily lives of the participants. Students of this period's air warfare should read Kennett's book first, then go on to more detailed works. Essential for all World War I collections.-- Stanley Itkin, Hillside P.L., New Hyde Park, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A careful and comprehensive study of air power in WW I. It covers all types of aircraft and ranges over all fronts and all combatants. Much of the serious literature has been either more limited or contained within broader treatments of military aviation, such as Basil Collier's A History of Air Power (CH, Jan'76). Although Kennett dispels many legends, true accounts of the heroism of the pioneers in aerial warfare remain. The achievements and deficiencies of the machines, strategy, and tactics are placed in their proper perspective in relation to the total war. Air power was not decisive in WW I, but it was actively engaged in observation and in artillery spotting. Army personnel learned much about air support and offensive action even though their conclusions often varied. It was a beginning that ushered in a new age in the postwar years. The book is clearly written in a level-headed manner and is based on extensive research among original sources in the US and overseas. Illustrations; ten-page essay on sources; endnotes. Recommended for general readers as well as students of aviation history. -E. A. McKay, University of South Carolina at Aiken