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When the first American squadrons went into action in World War I, they flew the Nieuport 28 biplane. Rejected by the French themselves, the Nieuport 28 was utilized by the United States Air Service in large part because the Americans had nothing else to fly. The biplane’s combat career with the Yanks was checkered at best, the aircraft having several dangerous flaws. Theodore Hamady examines the career of ‘America’s first fighter’ in this wonderfully-done 2008 release from Schiffer Publishing.

Make no mistake about it: THE NIEUPORT 28, AMERICA’S FIRST FIGHTER is aviation history at its very best! Exhaustively-researched, engagingly-written and marvelously well-illustrated, Theodore Hamady’s book is absolutely first-rate! Hamady, a well-respected aviation historian just happens to have been the project researcher for NASM’s restoration of their Nieuport 28, and his expertise shines throughout the book.

Hamady covers EVERY conceivable aspect of the Nieuport 28′s career – its development; service with the 94th, 95th, 147th and other U.S. Aero Squadrons; its postwar military career in America, Switzerland and Argentina; civilian use including work in classic aviation films like DAWN PATROL; surviving Nieuports 28s and so on. Hamady even includes information on modelling the 28! The book’s appendices, which total almost 80 pages, are also quite interesting since they include sections on flying the 28, the design evolution of the aircraft, analysis of the 28′s technical flaws, camouflage and markings, etc.

To say THE NIEUPORT 28, AMERICA’S FIRST FIGHTER is wonderfully illustrated is an understatement. Hamady includes hundreds of vintage and present day b&w and color photographs, diagrams and maps throughout the book. Juanita Franzi contributes ten pages of nicely-done color profiles. I’ve sometimes questioned the price Schiffer charges on its books but Hamady’s is worth every penny of the $59.95 price tag.

While the Nieuport 28 will always have a second-stringer reputation among warplanes, the same can’t be said of Hamady’s book. It is magnificient and will undoubtedly become THE definitive book on America’s first fighter! Highly recommended.