In World War II From Above, historian Jeremy Harwood profiles the fascinating story, unknown to many, of the battle waged by Allies and Axis spies in the skies to obtain accurate aerial intelligence during World War II. This book features dozens of eye-catching aerial reconnaissance photographs drawn from the archives compiled by all the major fighting powers. Hardwood's accompanying text profiles the daring pilots who risked death to shoot these photographs and the photographic interpreters who pioneered a totally new science to reveal the secrets they contained. Inspiring, informative, and entertaining special features focus on particularly crucial operations from both the Allies and Axis perspectives - from the American Doolittle Raid against Japan to the numerous battles against Germany's cutting-edge U-boats to the Battle of Monte Cassino and a score of other epic campaigns. Told through photographs that have largely never before appeared in print, outside of their reconnaissance origins, World War II From Above combines history with photography, placing the reader in the midst of the action like few books ever have.
"Harwood's (head of history and general reference publishing, Reader's Digest, UK; Dictionary of Battles) thesis is that superior photo-reconnaissance and a better understanding of the strategic use of air power was crucial to Allied victory in World War II. The Germans and Japanese showed tactical competence in aerial warfare but did not understand how air power could be used strategically to win the war. In addition, the Axis powers did not appreciate fully the value of having up-to-date photographic intelligence on Allied-held territory and military positions. As a result, Anglo-American air forces were able to cripple Axis industry, interrupt transportation, and terrorize civilian populations. Harwood makes the case that these actions significantly shortened the war and saved the lives of Allied soldiers. One hundred black-and-white photographs with captions make this book easily browsed. The prose is arranged chronologically by theater and gives fascinating details about the people who worked behind the lines to interpret aerial photography and exploit the intelligence it provided. VERDICT Harwood focuses almost entirely upon Anglo-American air forces; more attention to Soviet photographic intelligence would have been helpful. However, this book will appeal to fans of other pictorial histories of the war such as Richard Holmes's World War II: The Definitive Visual History." - Library Journal
"This lavishly illustrated text focuses on the vital role of aerial reconnaissance, offering photos never seen before and graphic maps of flight plans, with eye-opening and intriguing results." - World War II magazine