Evolution of an Air Force … The Reviewers Speak Up

Aviation history books keep rolling off the binderies, so don’t be listening to those dopes going around ceaselessly chanting all about the book being “dead”. What a crock that is, and rue the day that it actually ever happened — it would be a dark one. As usual, it’s the Brits who still lead the way in aviation publishing. A fair list of solid new titles continues to come off their presses, even though print runs are far smaller than in bygone years.

On this side of the pond, the many US aviation publishers of the 1950s-80s have nearly all faded. Where once it was barely noticeable in a long list of such North American publishers, CANAV Books now stands almost alone. General publishers in Canada also are hurting. Recently one of the “darlings” of the CBC went belly up — Key Porter Books. How the mighty have fallen, eh, but CANAV’s still here.

It sure doesn’t get any easier in this biz, especially with the market shrinking by the day, as our great generation of readers, who came up through the 1920s and ’30s, rapidly fades. Since CANAV began in 1981, those were my chief fans. If you looked up “book people” in the pictionary, you ought to see a photo of a bunch of them. They were the lucky kids who had parents who read to them, teaching them the joys and wonders of the printed page.

But all is far from lost. At CANAV I continue to add new and younger readers. Once someone buys his first aviation book, he usually gets the look and feel of it right away, then reacts: “Wow, I think I like this.” It’s fun making a new convert!

CANAV’s newest title is Aviation in Canada: Evolution of an Air Force, Vol.3 of a new series. Take a look at the recent reviews in Combat Aircraft (4 out of 5 stars — no too bad) and Air Force Magazine. If you’re in any sense a fan of aviation history, especially the Canadian side of things, you’ll want this one and its two shelf mates on your bookshelf — you do have a bookshelf, right?

Vol.4 is coming down the line, as promised last season. However, it’s grown so large that I’ve had to take my publisher’s sword and split it asunder. Now, Vol.4 mainly will cover the RCAF overseas 1939-45 Bomber Command. Day and night fighters will fill the pages of Vol.5. Coastal Command, the Far East, air transport and other topics will be included as well in these two books. Vol.4 has a chance of getting out later this year.

Aviation in Canada Vol.4 will mainly cover Canadians in Bomber Command 1939-45, whether on RAF or RCAF squadrons. You’ll revel the massive text — a largely new repertoire of personalities and events. There also will be 100s of photos —  great old favourites as well as many that you’ve never seen before.

Keep an eye for updates at canavbooks.wordpress and canavbooks.com. Here are the reviews. Take a look and also check out the websites for these two great mags. For further info about Aviation in Canada see CANAV’s website and blog.

Happy reading as usual …

Larry Milberry, publisher


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