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Shooting the Front: Allied Aerial Reconnaisance in the First World War Hardcover – September 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0752460529 ISBN-10: 0752460528

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752460528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752460529
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,160,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A massive, expertly written and richly illustrated history . . . based on meticulous archival research . . . Finnegan's prose is precise and clear, and he provides the necessary historical context to make his work accessible to expert and layman alike."  —Thomas Boghardt, historian at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., for cia.gov



"Fascinating, well-researched . . . A significant work."  —Choice


"Truly a pathbreaking book."  —Ernest R. May, Harvard University, author, The Kennedy Tapes


"There is no chance that the work will ever be surpassed."  —David R. Mets, Professor Emeritus, School of Advanced Air and Space


"THE sourcebook for anyone wanting to understand the origins of modern airpower and overhead reconnaissance."  —Air Power History

About the Author

Colonel Terry J. Finnegan served 30 years in parallel careers in the Air Force Reserve and in the Department of Defense as a senior level civil servant supporting NATO and NORAD alliances. His assignments included the National Security Agency, European Command, NATO, Pacific Command and Central Command during Operation Desert Storm. Terry was also a senior civil servant with NORAD, Space Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has written articles for Studies in Intelligence, Over the Top and Over the Front, and was a contributor to Images of Conflict, Military Aerial Photography & Archaeology. He lives in California.

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Customer Reviews

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Terry Finnegan's book is a carefully researched and well-written piece of scholarship.
John Abbatiello
Furthermore, it is well illustrated with hundreds of rare photographs, including a 16-page color section, and is very well produced.
J. W. Herris
A useful demonstration of how fast technology changes in wartime is abundantly evident here.
Chris Sterling

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Maturin on August 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Most of us are aware, at least superficially, of the brave knights of the air of the First World War, chivalrously dueling thousands of feet above the muddy, bloody, and horrible trenches - men such as von Richthofen, Fonck, Mannock, and Rickenbacker. But, most of us - even modern military intelligence professionals such as I have been -- are fundamentally unaware of the incredibly important roles of the aerial observer and the photographic interpreter in that great conflict almost one hundred years ago. That war's ace-of-aces, the legendary "Red Baron," von Richthofen, understood this very well, remarking "often a photographic plate is more important than shooting down an enemy machine."
In "Shooting the Front," Colonel Terry Finnegan has produced a spectacular book to enlighten us on the remarkable contributions of Great War intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination and how these things in turn spurred aviation's development and application. Finnegan, with clear and precise language, proves that these intelligence methods, processes, and products markedly influenced the thinking of all combatants - particularly at the command level. The text is richly illustrated with a huge number of high-quality photographs, line drawings, maps and other images, including a stunning 14-page color section.
Moreover, this isn't just a magnificent historical piece; it also makes very clear that much of what was established in World War I became the foundation for intelligence throughout the 20th Century, and indeed up to the present day.
Anyone at all interested in the Great War, or in military intelligence, needs to own this invaluable book. In the strongest possible terms, I give it my highest recommendation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carl J. Bobrow on December 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Shooting the Front: Allied Aerial Reconnaissance in the First World War

With the thousands of books, articles and publications devoted to the history, technology, and memory of the First World War, it is hard to imagine that there is an area as of yet that has not been thoroughly examined and even re-examined but that is not necessarily the case.

With archival material becoming far more accessible and searchable with digitization initiatives, what was once obscure, if for no other reason than the shear volume of material to wade through, is now becoming far easier to peruse and material hitherto forgotten and in cases unknown have been emerging.

Yet even with this access there remain certain topics that require an individual with expertise or specialization to fully comprehend and disseminate. Such a person is able to synthesize, write and provide interpretive views for the research historian, enthusiast, as well as for the general public to understand. The author of this work Terrence J. Finnegan, who served in the Air Force Reserve with the rank of Colonel and in the Department of Defense as a senior level civil servant with NORAD, Space Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency has that experience and talent, and after reading this significant book it becomes quite clear just how comprehensible and relevant he has made the subject matter, aerial reconnaissance in the First World War available to us all.

The famed aces of the war were in fact a tactical response to both the need for and dealing with the overflights of reconnaissance aircraft.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Herris on December 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When WW1 aviation is concerned, the romance of the fighter pilot is what most people remember and is still by far the aspect most written about. This despite the fact that historians acknowledge the most important contribution of aviation in the Great War was reconnaissance, especially photographic reconnaissance. Regardless, there has been no general history of this most important aspect of the first air war - until now. "Shooting the Front" is the first comprehensive history of aerial reconnaissance in the first air war, and illuminates the most important contribution of Great War aviation in great detail. This makes the book especially important and a true breakthrough in WW1 aviation history. As such, it is indispensable for anyone interested in aviation in the Great War. Furthermore, it is well illustrated with hundreds of rare photographs, including a 16-page color section, and is very well produced.

The book's subtitle is "Allied Aerial Reconnaissance in the First World War". Hopefully the author will undertake a companion book on German and Austro-Hungarian Aerial Reconnaissance in the First World War.

Jack Herris
Contributing Editor, "Over the Front"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael G. Lavelle on December 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Today aerial reconnaissance is as vital and important as it ever has been. From a military perspective the concepts, theory and methodology demonstrated their genius during the early days World War I.
Terrence J. Finnegan's book "Shooting The Front" is a comprehensive, well organized, yet easy to read, complete history of the importance and technology of aerial reconnaissance and photography during the Great War. This detailed study has excellent foot notes. Shooting the Front contains numerous visual aids in the form of aerial photos, maps, charts, and explanations of cameras and processing equipment. The personnel that were developing and evolving this new form of intelligence gathering are also covered extensively.
Those who read this book will gain a new perspective of the Great War from the air and will quickly realize why protecting reconnaissance aircraft led to air combat and fighter development.
The book's format makes for an easy to read interactive experience throughout the entire 26 chapters. Finnegan has filled a gap in the military aviation history. Anyone interested in military history would find this work a desired reference and it is a "must have" for any military aviation historian.
Mike Lavelle,
Seattle WA,
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