Eagles Illustrated: Allies in the Pacific
By Thomas A. Tullis
Eagle Editions Ltd., © 2000
Suggested Retail Price: $18.95
Following the same format as the first book in this series, Tom Tullis presents his lovely aviation art in an infuriatingly haphazard fashion. This book is more specific than the first, narrowing the scope to the Pacific, and features 38 profiles of fighter aircraft. However, if you’re looking for a good representation of the Allies in the Pacific, forget it; there are no Hellcats, Airacobras, Thunderbolts or Spitfires, the omission of which casts question upon the title.
There are nine profiles of various Flying Tiger H81s, and four Pearl Harbor P-40B/Cs; there are also 14 Corsairs depicted. The other 11 profiles are split among the P-38, Wildcat and Mustang. One Corsair is an “update” from the previous volume.
While the images are very nice, the text is extremely lacking. There is no need to inform us that the Flying Tigers were the recipient of the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s “Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award” nine times, for instance, or to reiterate four times that the “U.S. ARMY” legend on the bottom of the early USAAC P-40s was insignia blue instead of black. Elsewhere, the text leaves out information. VF-17’s Dan Cunningham merits only a first initial; many aircraft are identified only by their unit, or, in the case of two RNZAF Corsairs, by their serials and nationalities! Very little of the history behind these beautiful machines is included; since the artist has gone to the effort to research these machines, one would hope he or a collaborating author would include some of what he has learned beyond the markings information. The simple, consistent inclusion of the pilot, unit, location, and date on which the aircraft is represented on every profile would greatly help this book. For instance, the profile of Lt. Richard E. West’s P-38 does not include a location, but it does mention that it dates from July 1945 and claims that the book “Attack and Conquer: the 8th Fighter Group in World War II” was used as a reference. If so, would it have been so hard to scan the book to se which fields the 8th FG operated from in July 1945?
For those looking for inspiration--especially for a Flying Tigers H81A-2--the pictures included here might provide a bit of inspiration. Unfortunately, that might entail the inspiration to search the rest of your library for the data needed to complete the story of these aircraft.