The Royal Air Force is synonymous with its heroic achievements in the summer of 1940, when Winston Churchill’s "famous few" held Göering’s Luftwaffe at bay in the Battle of Britain. For much of the 20th century, warplanes were fixed in the world’s imagination, a symbol of the modern era. But within the space of a hundred years, military aviation has morphed from the exotic to the mundane. Aviators have always seemed different from soldiers and sailors – more adventurous, questing and imaginative. In both world wars air aces dominated each side’s propaganda, capturing hearts and dreams. Writing with verve, passion and sheer narrative aplomb, Patrick Bishop brings us a rich and compelling account of military flying from its heroic early days to the present.