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Gold Star Aces Volumes I and II
Tuesday, 25 June 2013 00:00

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(by Troy L. White; ISBN 978-0-578-11492-7; Stardust Studios, “ILALA” Parada 17, La Barra del Chuy, Rocha 27-100, Republica Oriental de Uruguay; 6¼in x 9¼in softback or hardback; 237 and 272 pages respectively, illustrated; available online at www.blurb.co.uk/b/ 4206643-gold-star-aces-volume-i or www.blurbco.uk/b/4206393 -gold-star-aces-volume-ii; softback £23.90 each or hardback £34.12 each plus postage)

I think it is important to start this review by explaining the title. The term “Gold Star” refers to a tradition that dates back to the First World War, when families, schools, churches and businesses displayed in their windows a red-bordered white banner with a gold star at its centre for every family member or associate who died while in wartime service for the USA.

Gold Star Aces is published in two volumes, with Volume I profiling 54 USAAF aces who were killed or missing overseas between America’s entry into the Second World War and the end of June 1944. Volume II includes the remaining 60 aces who lost their lives between July 1944 and VJ Day. The criteria for those qualifying as an “ace” has been extended slightly from the five aerial victories tally. These books also include the pilots who scored more than four aerial victories, such as those who had an additional shared victory, and those who also achieved ground “kills”.

The books give details of each pilot included, plus the information contained in the relevant missing aircrew or accident reports and in some cases German records. They are profusely illustrated with many photographs of the relevant pilots and aircraft, and it is obvious the author has gone to great lengths to make these books a thorough record.

The author is an artist by trade, and his work has been used to illustrate the covers. Not only is it great that the author’s own work illustrates the covers, but he has deliberately crafted them in a retro style that is reminiscent of book covers of the 1960s which I think gives the books a charming appeal.

Of note is that these books are printed to order, although that hasn’t made them much more expensive to mass-produced publications. This pair of volumes would be a great addition to any historian’s collection. They offer an insight into the loss of many lesser-known USAAF aces and I am pleased to bring them to the attention of an audience which would certainly appreciate the information contained within.

 

JARROD COTTER

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