Author: Andretta Schellinger
Publisher: Schellinger Research
Author Website: Schellinger Research
Overall Rating: 2.75 out of 5
Ms. Schellinger’s book From Knights to Skulls: The Cultural Evolution of Nose Art takes an expansive look at the development of aviation nose art in regard to the planes that battled in the sky during various wars including World War I and World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In addition to detailing the various types of artwork found on the various planes, the author also provides a wealth of detail concerning the cultural backdrop and influences of that helped to create the worldwide phenomena.
First let me state that the author does a tremendous job of painting the scenery when it comes to the story line. I have learned quite a bit about the culture, the history, and the overall personalities if you would that influenced the creation of the nose art that were seen on many of the planes. In fact, approximately 2/3 of the book was dedicated to creating such a detailed setting, as far as I can see.
Sadly, because of that desire to make sure that the reader understood the “why” of nose artwork – which arguably was the entire point of the book- it left very little room for the “how”, “what” or “who” questions that were lingering in my brain. Questions such as – Did Japanese planes during WWII have similar artwork? or Did the German or Italian artwork (if the Italian artwork existed- there was very little mention of it) serve the same purpose of being a reminder of home as it did for the US during WWI and WWII? Another perhaps mundane question that arose was what kind of paint was used? Also, who decided that nose art would no longer be tolerated in the Army after 1970?
Also, and this is perhaps a minor thing, but I would have like to see more inline citation of sources or footnotes providing more information. I did enjoy the fact that the author made mention of Langley and Balzer in the discussion of powered flight, but became slightly disappointed when she did not cite the references in text or at least provide a footnote with a bit more information about the rivalry.
Overall, this is not a bad introduction to aviation nose art, but it is by no means a comprehensive review. There are quite a few areas where the book could have been expanded on, but the areas that it does cover- essentially the cultural background that lead to the development of nose artwork- it does in a respectable manner.
0 Stars: Great for kindling or wasting space on your hard drive
1 Stars: Perfect gift for that person you can’t stand
2 Stars: Put it on your “to borrow” list
3 Stars: Buy it if you get the chance – worth a weekend read
4 Stars: Definitely should be added to your library
5 Stars: Impulse Buy Approved.
© 2014 – 2019, Laura Seeber. All rights reserved.