- Series: Aviation Classics
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Potomac Books; 1st edition (October 31, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1574886800
- ISBN-13: 978-1574886801
- Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,143,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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New Heavens: My Life as a Fighter Pilot and a Founder of the Israel Air Force (Aviation Classics) Paperback – October 31, 2006
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About the Author
Boris Senior retired as a colonel and deputy chief of the Israel Air Force in 1952. Senior continued to serve when needed, however, returning to active duty during the conflicts in 1956 and in 1967. He died in 2004.
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Top customer reviews
This is the perfect background for a thrilling story that Senior could easily have told, but unfortunately came over too brief, shallow and lacking important details. Coupled with a at best mediocre editing work (after the translation), we are left with a book that promised to be something it never reached. This is probably not the author's fault, as writing such a book so many years after the events happened must be tough and difficult to fill in details, so a strong editor might have helped a lot in getting the substance and content you need - and this story deserves to be told in much more detail!
After finishing the book I now want to know much more about this incredible time, what it was like for Israelies to fly Messerschmidts (!) against Spitfires, how they managed to trick and steal their way to so many airplanes. Senior was there and did that, but yet we only could read a few passing pages about it.
If you don't have any knowledge about this time period, than you will probably enjoy this book. But if you are seeking some more in-depth information and analysis of the air component in the Israel Independence Way, you will not find it here.
As Senior relates, the Israeli air force did not get off to an auspicious start. On May 15, 1948, when hostilities began, the entire Israeli air fleet was arranged in neatly parked rows on either side of the Sde Dov airport. They were hit by four waves of Egyptian Spitfires (two of the waves struck before most Israelis knew what hit them). Thus, the Israeli air force was badly damaged in the first hours of the war. Nevertheless, the Israelis rebounded from this terrible day. Perhaps its most glorious time came at the end of the war, on January 7, 1949, when the Israeli pilots shot down five RAF planes without any losses of their own.
I highly recommend this interesting book.
Into this situation entered Senior, an experienced World War II fighter pilot for the British Royal Air Force with a Zionist orientation. His autobiography engagingly recounts how a young man from a well-to-do South African family, along with other overseas volunteers acquired a mix of aircraft, learned to pilot them, smuggled them to Palestine, and engaged in battle. Senior recalls his World War II sorties, his flying experiences, and a close brush with death. These events prepared him for the challenges he would face as a fighter pilot for the Yishuv (Jewish settlements in pre-state Israel) and as a builder and founder of what would become the Israel air force.
Senior recounts how his ragtag air force secured victory by personally purchasing aircraft and sneaking them across international borders, and how they risked their lives on unfamiliar and untested equipment. He reminds us of the ingenuity, determination, and resolve that he and the fighters had for the creation of Israel. He emphasizes that the U.S. government was not a friend of the fledgling nation, curtailing the pilots' ability to transfer airplanes to Palestine. In contrast, the Russians rescued the endangered Jewish fighting forces from destruction by permitting "Czechs to assist us (training in and procuring Messerschmitts)." In addition, "Russian diplomatic and political support in the United Nations during that period were instrumental in helping Israel survive." This directly contributed to the success of the war in the air, which, through the efforts of the Mahal overseas volunteers, brought final victory to the nation and led to Senior's ability to initiate and build the Israeli air force.