This book falls into something of a gap between the two main types of aircraft books - detailed examinations of individual types and encyclopaedic books covering as many types as possible. Instead the author has chosen to provide medium sized articles covering a smaller selection of the most important types of fighter aircraft of the last seven decades.
There is a good split between the major players in the post-world world, with fourteen American, seventeen Soviet or Russian, twelve European and eight Chinese aircraft (or families of aircraft) examined. This works out at one or two types per decade across the period being studied from each area, enough to give a clear idea of how fighters were developing in this period, without leaving any really obvious gaps.
The individual aircraft aren’t just examined in isolation, but also as part of the overall evolution of fighter tactics, so we see fighters getting faster, reaching a peak with speeds of well over Mach 2, but then getting slower but more manoeuvrable, as the very fastest aircraft turned out to have problems intercepting slower but more nimble targets. The articles are organised by manufacturer and only then by date, but without losing that connection between the types. The book is well illustrated, with some spectacular flying shots, and the text is supported by brief technical references, without getting bogged down.
This is a good overview of the development of fighter aircraft since the end of the Second World War, and would make a good introduction to the topic.
Soviet Uniom/ Russia
People’s Republic of China
Author: Frank Schwere
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2017 edition of 2015 original