- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Grub Street Publishing (May 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1898697825
- ISBN-13: 978-1898697824
- Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,863,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Desert Hawks: An American Volunteer Fighter Pilot's Story of Israel's War of Independence, 1948 Hardcover – May 1, 1998
Find Rare and Collectible Books
Discover rare, signed and first edition books on AbeBooks, an Amazon Company. Learn More on AbeBooks.com.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
Nomis, who had flown fighters with both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) during the Second World War, had been doing some crop dusting and barnstorming work as a pilot for hire when the Israeli War of Independence broke out in May 1948. With the help of the Jewish Agency for Palestine in New York, Nomis is able to get to Israel, where for most of the year, he experiences limited combat service with 101 Squadron, flying Messerschmitts (which the Israelis had acquired from Czechoslovakia, where Nomis spent a few days learning to fly them) and Spitfires. In Nomis' own words: "I was sympathetic to the cause and the plight of the new Jewish State from day one and contacted the Jewish Agency - within five days I was aboard a Constellation which had been requisitioned by Jewish sources and scheduled to be smuggled to Czechoslovakia."
Nomis also conveys to the reader (from notes he had made at the time of his service in Israel) a sense of the daily lives of his comrades and people he had met both on and off base in places as diverse as Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jaffa.
"The Desert Hawks" is a rare gem describing a time in history in which most of its direct participants are fast fading away. For that reason, it is a book well worth reading.
Brian Cull, a well-known military aviation author, coauthored "The Desert Hawks" using Leo Nomis' journal as well as many oral interviews and consultation with Mr. Nomis.
With most of the material being from Mr. Nomis' journal, the book reads like a diary from the times, a sort of snapshot in time of the craziness and desperation that went on in 1948 Israel. The majority of the text flows very well, but for the less patient, some of the details may be a bit much. I enjoyed the details and, even more so, because this book is a primary research source. Many of the other histories of the 1948 Israeli Air Force have many less details (and in some cases much less accuracy) than "The Desert Hawks." In particular this book highly benefits from Brian Cull's editing who has filled in many of the blanks that were unknown at the time Mr. Nomis wrote his journal (such as the identity of the Italian-built fighter planes that Egypt used in the war's later stages). Perhaps, one of my greatest delights came from the photo insert, which has all of the photos fully labeled (many of which have appeared in other histories of the Israel Air Force). I have seen some of the photos in many other books about the Israel Air Force, but never with the men named in the photos. The book is also adorned with several useful maps, quite a few charts researching the early IDF/AF aircraft, and some other interesting appendices.
The book's full title is: "The Desert Hawks - An American Volunteer Fighter Pilot's Story of Israel's War of Independence, 1948." The title of the book comes from the name that Arab ground forces had for the early Messerschmitt 109G (called the Avia S199 by the Czechs) fighters that Israel first operated. Out of fear and awe, they called these early fighters "The Desert Hawks."
I highly recommend this wonderful primary resource about the history of the 1948 Israel Air Force.
I also recommend several of Brian Cull's other titles including "Spitfires Over Israel" and "Wings Over Suez."
Review by: Maximillian Ben Hanan