The Booker-shortlisted Royal Flying Corps classic, reissued for the 50th Anniversary of its first publication
"Robinson is probably the best novelist ever to write about fighter combat: surprising, hyper-realistic and very, very dark' Spectator" Spectator
World War One pilots were the knights of the sky, and the press and public idolised them as gallant young heroes.
At just twenty-three, Major Stanley Woolley is the old man and commanding officer of Goshawk Squadron. He abhors any notion of chivalry in the clouds and is determined to obliterate the decent, gentlemanly outlook of his young, public school-educated pilots - for their own good.
But as the war goes on he is forced to throw greener and greener pilots into the meat grinder. Goshawk Squadron finds its gallows humour and black camaraderie no defence against a Spandau bullet to the back of the head.
Fit to sit on the same shelf as Waugh and Heller... Robinson's recreation of the exhausted savagery of 1918 is truly shocking... the descriptions of flying are brilliantly vertiginous; nobody puts you in the cockpit like Robinson. - Slightly Foxed.
'Robinson mixes the action with cynicism and hard-bitten humour that has you halfway between tears and laughter. Biggles was never like this' Express. - Express
'Robinson is probably the best novelist ever to write about fighter combat: surprising, hyper-realistic and very, very dark' Spectator. - Spectator
'Derek Robinson does for the Royal Flying Corps what the War Poets did for frontline soldiers' Sarah Edworthy, Daily Telegraph. - Daily Telegraph