Review Several Book Reviews in One Thread


SOF Support
Sep 8, 2006
Cold War Test Pilot: Surviving Crash Landings and Emergency Ejections: From Fast-Jets to Heavy Multi-Engine Aircraft by Ron Burrows
Ron's a retired RAF test pilot who flew a bunch of different aircraft over the course of his life. He spent several tours as a test pilot, culminating in commanding the RAF's test pilot wing. After retirement he went into the private flight testing and training arena. A graduate of the US Navy's flight test school at Pax River, he cut his teeth flying in Yemen, picked up a few ejections along the way, worked on the Panavia Tornado...basically the title says it all.

The book is well written and engaging with an obvious ton of stories. Usual auto-bio format and it sheds some light on the RAF's flight testing program(s) from the 60's through the 80's.

Escape from Java: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the USS Marblehead by John J. Domagalski
I first read about Marblehead in my teens. An old, obsolete light crusier when WWII broke out, she was badly damaged by a Japanese air attack during the Java campaign in early 1942. That theater was basically "everyone dies or is captured" with some managing to make it to safety in Australia.

Not the Marblehead. The "usual" warship story applies: bombed, bunch of dead, flooding, fires, heroism by the ship's captain and crew. Where the story becomes remarkable, and the book covers two facets, is how the Marbelhead made it back to the US AND how some of her badly wounded crew made it home alive. The former involved one jury-rigged repair after another before steaming to India, South Africa, Brazil (I think Brazil at least), and then eventually New York. An epic journey. The wounded suffered no less with an incredibly brave, resourceful, and lucky doctor shepherding them along the way. Just a fantastic story, little-known, about people and the dark days of WWII.

Silent Witnesses: The Often Gruesome but Always Fascinating History of Forensic Science by Nigel McCrery

Nigel's a British forensics guy who, as the title states, takes us through a history of forensic science. Much of it focuses on European cases, but they are quite relevant to the story. His breakdown of the science involved isn't too detailed. You can understand the science (or can you in this day and age?!) without becoming bogged down.

The book isn't dry at all and how we arrived at DNA and modern forensics is rather fascinating. A good read, not science heavy, I enjoyed the book.

SAS Bravo Three Zero: The Explosive True Story of the SAS Patrol That Got Away by Des Powell, Damien Lewis
We know about Bravo Two Zero, but this tells the story of the other SAS patrols, Bravo One Zero and Bravo Three Zero. The author was part of the latter, but he discusses the former along with bits of the SAS' overall patrol/ anti-Scud efforts during the Gulf War.

B30 elected to take vehicles and that probably saved their asses. All of the SAS patrols suffered from the weather, but the northern most teams (B20 and B30) caught the worst of the weather. Great story, not just the patrol, but the author's history as well. A really solid book about a bit of history overshadowed by B20's epic journey.