Monday, September 24, 2012
Review of Spies in the Sky by Taylor Downing (Little Brown, 2011)
Spies in the Sky provides a popular history overview, written in a breezy, accessible and engaging style. The narrative does suffer from some over-generalisations and assertions, for example, that a new science was developed at Medmenham, that of photogrammatery and military photo interpretation, which is not the case (though some new technical developments were achieved), and sometimes the pace is a little too fast. It would have been nice to have a bit more technical detail at times, also some more biographical details of some of the key players and the political machinations they were caught up in, and more information of aerial intelligence in other arenas. That said, this book is aimed at wide, generalist audience, rather than the specialist. And in fulfilling that brief, the book succeeds admirably. It certainly makes a strong case that aerial intelligence played a very important, but unappreciated role, in the Allies strategising and execution of war plans.