Monday, 18 October 2010
Phoenix Squadron by Rowland White
I have just completed this great hardback book Phoenix Squadron by Rowland White, the author of Vulcan 607. I have in the past commented on how much I enjoyed Vulcan 607 and so when I saw this hardback for sale in a charity shop, I picked it up with no hesitation.
The book details a threat against British Honduras by Guatamala in January 1972 and how the Ark Royal and its fleet of ageing Phantoms and Buccaneers were sent to 'wave the flag'. I would say that it is written with all the flair and 'Boys own Adventure' of the previous book and certainly gives a feeling of the sense of urgency that must have been felt at the time, however I would still rate Vulcan 607 as a better book. That said I am still happy to fully recommend Phoenix Squadron as a book worth searching out.
The author calls upon eye witness reports, personal interviews and official records to build a complete picture of the growing threat from Guatemala to the small British protectorate of British Honduras, later called Belize. I found the informative writing style and first-hand accounts brought to life this rather neglected episode in British Diplomacy and I was particularly impressed with the way that this 'factual' representation galloped along in the same way as a Tom Clancy thriller. "If only all history was written in such a fascinating manner."
I was also pleased to see detailed cutaway drawings of both The McDonald Douglas F-4K/F-4M Phantom II and the Blackburn Buccaneer S.2B included as appendix, it must be something about being brought up at the time that the Eagle Comic which would regularly include such illustrations and I would trawl over the drawings trying to identify each of the numbered details.
I would be interested to hear what others think.