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The reviewer who claimed that this book "plagiarizes" other works is way off-base and either needs to make a specific case or withdraw his comments--which border on libel.
In particular, the claim that this book relies heavily on Gillcrist's "Tomcat!" book is ludicrous. The Gillcrist book was published in 1994. Its chapter on the Iranian Tomcats is five pages long. If you subtract out the photographs, it has about three pages of text, covers only the years during the Shah, and concludes with the assertion that the Iranians were "unable to effectively utilize the aircraft."
In contrast, the Cooper/Bishop book covers the war during the 1980s (which Gillcrist did not) and has many pages on Tomcat operations under the revolutionary regime. Farzad Bishop is well known for having good sources within the Iranian Air Force, as proven by the photographs of the various aircraft. And this book totally disproves Gillcrist's claim that the Iranians could not utilize the aircraft. In fact, the Iranian Tomcats have shot down far more aircraft than US Navy Tomcats, and have also fired the AIM-54 Phoenix missile in combat (unlike the USN). The Iranians were very effective at using the Tomcat in its intended air-to-air role.
Actually, the bigger problem was with the Gillcrist book's coverage, because he ignored some of the publicly available information on Iranian Tomcat operations, including a few cases where American companies were caught supplying the Iranians with Tomcat parts. He took a rather arrogant position that the Iranians were too simple to operate such a complex aircraft, and he was completely wrong--there are more Tomcat pilots with air-to-air kills in Iran than there are in the US Navy.Read more ›
It does Tom Cooper and Farhad Bishop a disservice to compare this book to any other on the aerial aspects of the Iran-Iraq War. The aircraft enthusiast community is a competitive and often bitchy environment, but an attempt to detract from this book should be treated with the contempt it deserves.
The book is meticulous yet written with great passion. Literally dozens of forgotten episodes of this fascinating air war are brought to light for the first time. Only serious investigative research, including exclusive primary evidence gathered during in-country interviews, can generate the level of detail and colour contained in this book. Cooper and Bishop maintain an enviable contact book that many aviation journalists can only dream of. In a profession of bluffers, they are real experts. This is the reason for much of the criticism they face.
I can attest that the book is slowly getting read and recommended onwards amongst military and regional specialists in Washington and throughout the US military community. The reason is obvious. The book shows, in detail, how developing world countries (and particularly Iran) can use the higghest levels of military technology and even improve on their employment through local innovation. If you were wowed by laser-guided bombs and electronic warfare in the wee hours of 17 January 1991, then spare a thought for those who were fighting that kind of war from 1980-1988. This is what Cooper and Bishop have so expertly done.
Dr Michael Knights
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
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This is great book and a must for any airpower enthusiast.
It starts with evolution of both Iraqi and Iranian airforces, progresses through clashes between Iran and Iraq in '70s, revolution in Iran and it's effects on Iranian air force and on to war, dividing it into phases, with each phase analised at the end.
While detailling war in the air (especially long-range air-to-air battles) on chronological basis it also describes battles on the ground and sea, so reader gets good idea about context of the fighting and why airforces did what they did.
The book includes several interesting anectodes, disspells several myths (especially the one about "sabotaged" Iranian F-14s), is jammed with exceptional amount of info, and ends with comprehensive performance analysis.
There are several flaws - including numerous typos and setting mistakes. Better maps would be of more use (it's confusing when reading about all the places mentioned and you don't know where this is) as geography is seldom explained. But how anybody comes to idea to blame specifically one of the authors for plagiarising is mystery to me. It mentions Gillchrist's work in one or two places, but "Iran-Iraq War in the Air" has absolutely nothing to do with it. Nothing that can be found in this book was "lifted", nobody else described Iranians or Iraqis to such detail before.
Cooper and Bishop are acknowledged experts in describing tactical and technical issues faced by Iranian pilots and that is the biggest flaw of this book. It concentrates on Iran. Many people don't like this and declare authors for "propagandists". This should be understandable then authors have developed so many contacts in Iran (which is wonder in itself), but so this book shows only one part of picture.
In all, this is unique and excellent book, despite it's flaws. Not well done but highly recommended.
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