by Henry Jesuadian
Himalayan Eagle - A classic in its own right for lovers of aviation - is a chronologically well documented, engaging narrative on the formation of the Indian Air Force.
Spurred on by an evident love of flying, the author has delved into the realms of flight and military aviation history. This noteworthy research spanned the early 20th century to date, culminating in the achievement of a literary work, which is perceptibly understandable, informative and interesting.
A little-known fact of this writer is his artistic talent, evidenced by the attractively simple book cover artwork. Lucidly, it invokes a sense of peace; one imagines a magnificent eagle gliding over placid mountainous border peaks and during troubled times, casting a watchful eye … as the title suggests.
Not being particularly interested in either military aviation or Indian historical border conflicts for that matter, at the outset this appeared scarcely a choice read. However, the book proved enjoyable! Contrary to being boring, "history bookish", dry or wearisome, I found it progressively engaging, even inspirational, and intriguingly entertaining. The graphic incidents, dates, names, ranks, squadrons, and other pertinent details are plainly the result of exhaustive research by the author and can be fruitfully verified, as an excellent Bibliography and Appendix form the end of the book.
The officers, pilots, and engineers mentioned by name, etc., during the initial formation of the Air Force, were exceptional beings, the likes of whom will never exist again. What courage and bravery stemmed from those men! Their dedication and ingenuity - priceless, whilst their humour - unparalleled! Fancy an ammo delivery via sock? Or shelter-bound Japs, by unfused bomb drops? That's cunning strategy for you! Oh, there is the tragic touch too, like that of an aerobatic display, and for fantasy, try whistling bottles and blood-red turbans! What a life, what an age!
Whilst Himalayan Eagle is an engrossing read (5 stars for sure), it is also immensely informative, historically. I do sincerely recommend it to all aviation enthusiasts out there, particularly new recruits and those planning to join the notably esteemed Indian Air Force, especially India's young female pilots - for whom a beckoning stage awaits!
As an aside - whilst the author's English is impeccable, undoubtedly the grammatical flaws perceived can only be that of shoddy publication output.
R M Printer
Copy Editor / Technical Writer
Perth - Western Australia
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]