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Black Fokker Leader Hardcover – May 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1906502287 ISBN-10: 1906502285 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate Publishers; First Edition edition (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906502285
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906502287
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #884,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Kilduff is an acclaimed American historian and the author of fourteen aviation books covering biplanes to jets, including 2009's Black Fokker Leader and 2010's Hermann Goring Fighter Ace also published by Grub Street.

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Customer Reviews

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Good quality, well written, lots of pictures!
Dennis
The main story in Black Fokker Leader is that of Degelow's experience as a fighter pilot in the German Army Air Service.
Patrick D.
A good read, wwi air warfare also seen from a personal perspective.
Linus Boman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Barrett Tillman on March 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes history needs to be updated, and World war I German fighter ace Carl Degelow's story benefits from Peter Kilduff's revision of his 1979 biography Germany's Last Knight of the Air, which is long out of print. Kilduff had the tremendous benefit of corresponding with a significant German airman and recipient of his nation's highest bravery award, the Pour le Merite. Such opportunities are extremely rare, and Kilduff--one of the senior WW I aero historians--took full advantage of the potential.

When Degelow died in 1970 he left a wealth of material. Acquiring additional information from German, British, French and American archives, Kilduff has expanded the first edition's content over the past 30 years. The result is an intimate portrait of the last recipient of the "Blue Max," Degelow's award being approved two days before the armistice. He was decorated for scoring 30 confirmed victories, and Kilduff provides convincing proof of at least 25.

The book concludes with Degelow's difficult postwar years (including conflict with the Nazis) and his brief service in WW II, during which he was quietly sent home as being useless to Germany's second global war effort. Well illustrated with photos and black & white and color aircraft profiles, Black Fokker Leader is the kind of biography that could not be written today. Not only are there no remaining Great War airmen, but knowledgable historians who knew that generation are themselves becoming "rare birds." As such, Black Fokker Leader represents irreplaceable history.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James Streckfuss on March 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Black Fokker Leader: Carl Degelow - The First World War's Last Airfighter Knight by Peter Kilduff, Grub Street, London, 2009; 192 pp., 7" x 10", hardcover, profusely illustrated with black & white photos, color profiles, chapter endnotes, appendices, bibliography, index; ISBN 978-1-9065-0228-7; £20.00 (UK), $39.95 (US); distributed in the USA by Casemate, Drexel Hill, PA

In 1979 Peter Kilduff published Germany's Last Knight of the Air, an annotated translation of Carl Degelow's 1920 memoir Mit dem weißen Hirsch durch dick und dünn. In that volume, Kilduff noted the project began when he was introduced to Degelow so he could write the article "Reminiscences of Jagdstaffel 40" for the Autumn 1971 Cross & Cockade Journal (Vol 11, No. 3). He also wrote that "historical articles rarely end with publication." Flash forward three decades and the modest article project has spawned a second and more complete book, Black Fokker Leader.

Black Fokker Leader goes beyond the earlier volume, tracking the last blauer Max recipient's military career in both world wars with Kilduff's customary exhaustive research and attention to detail. World War I aviation historians have covered a great deal of ground over the last 30 years and Kilduff utilizes every bit of that work to document Degelow's victories and the various British and French units that opposed Jastas 7 and 40. The book offers many new photographs, black & white profiles by Greg VanWyngarden, color profiles by Ronny Bar and completely documented victory lists both for Degelow and Jasta 40. But Black Fokker Leader is far more than a synthesis of modern research.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Patrick D. on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whether you're new to the history of the Great War in the Air or a serious student of the topic, you'll find Peter Kilduff's biography of German Empire ace Carl Degelow a thoroughly enjoyable read. The main story in Black Fokker Leader is that of Degelow's experience as a fighter pilot in the German Army Air Service. The book spans his wartime career from his earliest days of training mishaps to his leadership of Jasta 40 where he achieved 30 victories and became the last person to be awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite (the "Blue Max"). To tell this story, Peter Kilduff skillfully weaves a narrative that includes the development of military aerial operations, the campaign history of World War I and the experience of flying wood and canvas aeroplanes into combat. Along the way we are introduced to the personalities who shaped Degelow and assisted his rise; men like Josef Jacobs, Degelow's CO at Jasta 7 and another WWI ace, and Willy Rosenstein who became his second-in-command at Jasta 40.

Black Fokker Leader is based on several years of correspondence between the author and Carl Degelow prior to his death in 1970. Peter Kilduff successfully captures this conversational flow and the style of the book is very much Carl Degelow telling his story in the first-person voice. The picture of Degelow that emerges is one of a middle class "everyman" who volunteered to serve his country when the call came and did so with distinction. He fought with a strong sense of duty that was unmarred by any personal hatred of his foes -- in fact, nothing delighted Degelow more than to have his opponent survive combat, and those who did were frequently given a meal and a drink or two in Jasta 40's officer's mess before heading off to captivity.

Highly recommended!
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