Over and Above is Gurdon's first and best book, repeatedly reprinted for two decades, variously titled Winged Warriors or Wings of Death. Billed as a novel, it is not so much that as a fictionalized account of his own service flying career, with names changed, incidents rearranged. True, it tells of 'exciting raids over enemy lines and towns, desperate fights against fearful odds, chivalry shown to an unchivalrous foe...' but the narrative turns darker as men become wearier, new comrades arrive and are killed, and those who remain try to hold onto meaning in increasingly unintelligible circumstances, a mirror to Gurdon's own experiences.
Written in the style of the era and by and for a class which put great store in maintaining a slangy, backslapping cheerfulness, no matter how grim things were, with chums wishing each other 'beaucoup Huns' before embarking on a 'show' in 'beastly' weather, this book is a classic to rank with Winged Victory by V M Yeates, and which should never have been out of print. This new edition retains exactly the original script but has been updated with an introduction by John Gurdon's granddaughter Camilla Gurdon Blakeley and an extended illustrated appendix by renowned historian Norman Franks.
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