The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft by Bill Gunston soon to be presented for sale on the astounding BookLovers of Bath web site!
Published: London: Osprey Aerospace, 1995, Hardback in dust wrapper.
First in this edition. [First: 1983 as Aircraft of the Soviet Union] Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Diagrams;
From the cover: This huge work constitutes Bill Gunstons 330th book. Commenting on its content, the author states It has taken more blood, sweat and tears than any 20 ordinary books. For one thing, at least half of what we thought we knew about Russian aircraft has turned out to be wrong.
At last, this exhaustive compilation can be put before the public with confidence that it documents the true histories of some 1000 types of aircraft. At last, the red herrings and spurious details invented (mostly in the two decades between 1950 and 1970 by people in the West) have been swept away and replaced by the facts. It can confidently be claimed that no book in the history of aviation has ever contained anything like as much new information.
The author thought his task would be greatly eased by the fact that in 1983 he had written the then definitive work on the subject, entitled Aircraft of the Soviet Union. This was the bible on the subject for many years, but when it came to compiling this new work, Gunston had to check over every word because so much of what was thought to be fact has turned out to be wrong in varying degrees. Moreover, as there is no longer a Soviet Union the title of the completed work had to change.
This in turn meant that the starting point had to go back from 1918 to 1875!
The main text is prefaced by sections on aircraft designations, engines, air-launched weapons, avionics and many other topics including Western reporting names. At the end of the book is a section on Ekranoplans, which the West often call by the clumsy title wing-in-ground-effect vehicles . Some of these are veritable flying ships, with awesome size and performance, and many are products of aircraft design teams. This section itself could have formed a complete book, and much of the information included here has not previously been published.
It needed the proverbial shoehorn to get it all in between one pair of covers, as the amount of information provided is astronomic. Pick any type and compare its treatment with what you get in any other source even one dealing with just a specific design team. This volume really is the ultimate work on Russian aircraft.
Very Good+ in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper near perfect but has been misfolded by the publisher at the head of the lower panel and is very slightly creased at the foot of the spine. A genuinely nice copy overall.
[XXXIII] 526 pages. 11¼” x 8¾”.
Of course, if you don’t like this one, may I tempt you with something from hither or maybe further, hand picked, books in my Transport Air catalogue?