Review: Vulcan 607, Rowland White

Rating: 5 out of 5

Mr White’s account of the RAF in the Falklands War is both spectacularly well written and contains amazing detail. The number of anecdotes brought in to spruce up the already good narrative only adds detail on the Falklanders and the RAF. Therefore, I can rather easily recommend this to anyone and everyone, even perhaps if flight machines and wars do not interest you.

Mr White’s interest in the Vulcan stems from his childhood; the boyish enthusiasm also shines through on these pages where the ragtag systems of the 1950’s Vulcan are described in great detail. The bomber plane is described as such a distinctive mechanical achievement, especially when compared to the planes of the 1970’s, not to mention more modern ones. The reader’s ability to imagine what the inside of the Vulcan looked like adds to the importance of every scene that takes place there. How many today could reasonably consider that they couldn’t fly because a window wasn’t properly sealed? Yet, in 1982 these factors featured in the success and failure of the Vulcan missions.

I was generally unaware of the specifics of the Falklands War before this book, and it was a satisfying enough read for those who only know the broad strokes (Argentina invades and is defeated as the broadest starting point #1, or Thatcher wins a khaki election for #2). The RAF commanding staff are introduced in good detail though they feature on only a few pages, and even the RN sails through the pages a few times.

In case you’re still not convinced you should read this, the bombing of the Stanley airfield is best described by the impact on a Falklander, in his own words: “Look at that, they’ve blown my pyjamas off!’

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