This is a somewhat unusual entry in Osprey's Combat Aircraft series, in that it includes a sizable section looking at the design and development of the B-29 Superfortress - in comparison Dorr's own books on the B-24 Liberator focus almost entirely on the aircraft's combat record. In the case of the B-29 that approach would have been a serious error, for the process that led to the development of this massive aircraft is one of the most interesting parts of the story. One really nice feature of the first chapter is a section dedicated to the eleven crew members of the B-29, explaining where they sat and what they did.
After this introduction Dorr brings us to the service career of the B-29, which began on 5 June 1944, with an attack on Makasan, close to Singapore, and ended not with the two atom bomb missions, but with a conventional bombing raid on the day the Japanese agreed to surrender. Dorr traces the path between these two points - a path that saw the USAAF abandon the high level precision bombing that the B-29 had been designed to carry out in favour of lower level fire bombing.
As always with Ospreys this is a well illustrated book, with a mix of contemporary pictures and illustrations. I particularly liked the three pages dedicated just to the nose art, reflecting the fact that most B-29s shared the same natural silver finish.
Dorr has produced a well balanced book, looking at the technical design of the aircraft, the high level decisions that affected the use of the B-29, and the stories of the men who actually flew the B-29 in action.
Author: Robert Dorr