Above and Beyond: The Canadians' War in the Air, 1939-45

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9780771029288: Above and Beyond: The Canadians' War in the Air, 1939-45

From the first skirmishes over Europe in September 1939, Canadian airmen served in almost every theatre of the Second World War, from bases in Britain and Europe, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. And in the months and years that followed, with the slaughter mounting in hostile skies around the globe, the contribution of Canadian pilots, navigators, gunners, air bombers, and flight engineers grew out of all proportion to their country’s population.

In the early days of the conflict, great numbers of Canadians served in units of Britain’s RAF and Fleet Air Arm. As the war progressed, however, the Royal Canadian Air Force came into its own, and by Germany's surrender, forty-eight RCAF squadrons were overseas, almost completely manned by Canadian officers and men.

Among the Canadians were Johnny Fauquier and Reg Lane, Canada’s leading bomber pilots; Stan Turner, perhaps the country’s greatest fighter leader; Len Birchall, the gallant “Saviour of Ceylon”; the redoubtable ace Buzz Beurling; the great naval hero Hammy Gray; Roly Dibnah, Bert Houle, and many others.

These brash young men from the Empire’s senior dominion had little time for ceremony and tradition. Countless British officers considered them dangerously independent and lacking in respect for rank. But in the air, where it counted, the Canadians more than proved their worth.

Combining first person accounts of the action and his own vivid prose, Dunmore captures the high drama and gut-churning tension of dogfights and bomber raids, charts the victories and defeats of the armies and navies below, and recreates the mood abroad in wartime as the world watched the drama unfold.

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About the Author:

Spencer Dunmore’s first foray into non-fiction writing, in 1991, resulted in the critically acclaimed bestseller Reap the Whirlwind: The Untold Story of 6 Group, Canadas Bomber Force of World War II, which he co-wrote with William Carter, Ph.D. This was followed in 1994 by the equally successful Wings for Victory: The Remarkable Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada. Dunmore’s passionate love of flying and of a good story were evident long before, however, in his very popular fiction. His first novel, Bomb Run, was an instant hit, and a string of novels followed, including Tower of Strength, Collision, Final Approach, and No Holds Barred. Squadron, a story collection, is his most recent work of fiction. His works have been translated into many languages and published in more than fifteen countries.

Spencer Dunmore lives in Burlington, Ontario.

Review:

“Quite possible the best treatment yet of the Canadian efforts in the air during the war...[Above and Beyond] is good literature, superbly written, and deserves a place in the library of anyone who treasures attributes.”
St. Johns Evening Telegram

“[Dunmore] has a unique ability to change smoothly from romantic episodes to fast-moving, blood-and-guts aviation stories...This might be his best.”
Globe and Mail

“The author's meticulous and thorough research is readily obvious form the opening paragraphs...This book will be of great interest to readers of our military history.”
Kitchener-Waterloo Record

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