It is always good to obtain a new book covering the subject closest to my heart, Rhodesian Aviation. Here are listed the books I have found over the years, some more directly concerning Rhodesia, others having some content relating to the aircraft used. As time goes by accurate reporting of what happened becomes harder, memories fade and what was written at the time or soon after 1980, when Rhodesia ceased to exist, becomes the source of reference even though the facts detailed are not always correct, fiction becomes fact when the information is presented in an authoritative way by 'Experts'. I say this not to put down any one book, the work involved, research, chasing around, production, in fact everything concerned with getting a book into print and then into the book shops is to be congratulated and admired.
From my limited knowledge, having lived, worked and flown in the Aircraft World of Rhodesia for the few short years from early 1960s to mid 1970s, what does come out is that the most reliable books are those written by the people who were living and working in Rhodesia or in one instance Biafra, their books record their own experiences and they have been able to speak to others First Hand about the information which has been included to complete their books.
In particular I pick out 'Africair', 'They Served Africa with Wings' and 'Shadows' as being the best and most reliable books I have. I mention also 'A Pride of Eagles' as being a must have book, I have been told that there are mistakes, but not having gone through the book with a fine tooth comb have not noticed them myself, but then, I am not an 'Expert'. For this website I have relied on 'Britain's Rebel Air Force' for fine details, the three authors have a good record and Dudley Cowderoy lived and worked in Rhodesia for some years, taking note of what I say about the Beechcraft Baron in the next paragraph, they have the correct details!
A test could be the facts published about the Beechcraft Baron which was operated by the Rhodesian Air Force. in 'A Pride of Eagles' there is a photograph of this aircraft in Royal Rhodesian Air Force markings, ie pre 1970. I worked on the aircraft in 1971 onwards and had seen the aircraft flying before then, but have been firmly told that the aircraft was obtained by the Rhodesian Air Force in 1974, as stated in another book by an 'Expert', therefore asserting 1974 was the year this aircraft was procured, whatever I say or any photograph might prove to be the actual case. It will only be people like me to whom this sort of thing is important, I accept that, but, all I ask is, PLEASE try to make the FACTS correct, if in doubt say so, if someone points out a correction, with proof, then accept it with good grace, especially if you did not live in Rhodesia at the time. History is important and it is vital for the record to be correct.
I recommend all the books listed, buy them if they are available, any others you know of please, let me know the details, I am always keen to expand my knowledge, maybe one day I will be an 'Expert' too!
The Reluctant Assassin
- Rhodesian Air Force
The Sanctions Busters
- They Served Africa with Wings
- DH Vampire
- War in the Air
- Winds of Destruction
- Rhodesian Air Force - 'A Brief History 1947-80'
- Bush Horizons
- Canberra in Southern Africa Service
- The Chopper Boys
- de Havilland Biplane Transports
- A Pride of Eagles
- Britain's Rebel Air Force