|The greatest value that comes from "SKY FIGHTERS OF FRANCE" is that it is Henry Farré's account of the 4 years he spent (on attachment with the French Aviation Militaire) with a variety of aviation units (bombardment, reconnaissance/artillery spotting, and 'chasse' or fighter squadrons) on the Western Front --- and with a seaplane unit in the coastal city of Dunkerque.
Farré's remit, as an accomplished artist, was to capture on canvas various aspects of the lives of pilots in frontline settings. The greatest value that comes from "SKY FIGHTERS OF FRANCE" is that it is Henry Farré's account of the 4 years he spent (on attachment with the French Aviation Militaire) with a variety of aviation units (bombardment, reconnaissance/artillery spotting, and 'chasse' or fighter squadrons) on the Western Front --- and with a seaplane unit in the coastal city of Dunkerque.
Farré's remit, as an accomplished artist, was to capture on canvas various aspects of the lives of pilots in frontline settings. And judging from the reproductions of his paintings scattered throughout the book, the reader gets a palpable feel of what the thrills and perils of combat flying were like 100 years ago. For instance, there are paintings of nighttime bombing raids far behind enemy lines (Farré flew several missions as an observer with a night bomber squadron), a couple of crews from damaged seaplanes (referred to in the book as 'hydroplanes') barely above the waves being rescued by a French destroyer, and individual fighter planes engaged in 'mano-a-mano' aerial combat. There are also individual portraits that Farré drew of some of the aviators he met and with whom he established friendships. For example, one of the war's most famous and skilled aviators, Georges Guynemer, who, before his death on September 11, 1917, was credited with shooting down 53 German planes.
For me, as a First World War aviation enthusiast, "SKY FIGHTERS OF FRANCE" is a prized book that was easy to read. It enriched my understanding of what life at the Front was like for those aviators who took part in history's first air war. Merci, Monsieur Henry Farré.
To describe the decline of the European aristocracy in the late 19th century, Evans quotes from the memoirs of Hermynia von Zur Mühlen, the daughter of an Austrian aristocrat who married a Baltic German nobleman. It proved less a successful marriage of opposites and more a war of contrasting worlds:
Hermynia's father-in-law tried to intervene: 'He would stare at me as though he thought I had lost my mind, then he would roar louder than ever: "If I were your husband I should bet you to a pulp." "If you were my husband," I replied, "I should either have murdered you a long time ago, or else you would have learned how to behave like a gentleman."'
And just like that, another book was added to my TBR stack.
Spent the day after Memorial Day at the doctor's, as my son came down with Strep Throat (must be his yearly need for amoxicillian, lol). Counting down to summer vacation (son has 8.5 days left and daughter has 4 days) and the reading for our library's Summer Reading Program started today. I wish I could read faster, but my seasonal allergies are a doozy this year and I am either in a sneezing fit, sinus pain, or blacked out due to allergy medications.
I ended up finishing the Ann Rule book yesterday; luckily, I picked up the last book in the Beauchamp Family series, so I am reading Winds of Salem first. I am also going to buckle down and read The Sleepwalkers, even if it is just 50 pages at a time every day. For next week, I plan on reading One in a Million (last book in the last trilogy that forms the Lucky Harbor series), When Summer Comes (third book in the Whiskey Creek series) and Wishing Lake (third book in the Finding Home series).
Happy June and the beginnings of summer (which means daylight from 4 am to 11 pm here in England) or winter depending on which side of the equator you live on.