Most books of this type are organised by aircraft, or country by country. This book takes a different approach, and has a mix of chronological and thematic chapters. The first chapter covers the opening moves in 1914. The second looks the period from 1915 to the spring of 1917, the period that saw aircraft armed and the development of aerial combat. The authors move on to look at a series of themes - strategic bombing, maritime aviation and the other fronts (each of these chapters uses a chronological approach). Finally we return to the Western Front for the period from the spring of 1917 to the end of the war, when both sides became increasingly professional.
Most chapters are sub-divided into more specific periods, with sizable sections on some of the major aircraft, tables of relative strengths and brief descriptions of the main aircraft of each period (normally about a third of a page, with a colour illustration, paragraph of text and specifications).
This approach means that you don't get a great deal of information about any particular aircraft in any one place (although you can trace quite a bit of information across the book). What you do get is a better idea of how the war in the air developed - what aircraft were fighting on both sides at the same time, how the balance of power developed and how the air war influenced (or was influenced by) the ground war. The sections on the other fronts are also interesting, in particular the Italian Front, where many unfamiliar aircraft served.
This is a useful history of air warfare during the First World War, very well illustrated and with a nice mix of information on types of aircraft and on the wider history of the air war.
1 - Opening Moves
2 - Air Combat Turns Deadly
3 - Strategic Bombing
4 - Maritime Aviation
5 - The Eastern Front
6 - The Italian Front
7 - The Middle East
8 - Air Combat Comes of Age
Author: Jack Herris and Bob Pearson