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January 2015 Vol. 52 No. 5

Potomac Books, Inc.

The following review appeared in the January 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
History, Geography & Area Studies

2014-632 CIP
European air power: challenges and opportunities, ed. by John Andreas Olsen. Potomac Books, 2014. 278p bibl index afp ISBN 9781612346816, $34.95.

The ten chapters and introductory sections of this book situate European military aviation’s stance in the 21st century by considering four major air forces (British, French, German, and Turkish) and four Scandinavian ones (Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish).  All contributors agree on the importance of air power to the backing of an effective foreign and defense policy.  Though each country’s priorities may in fact diverge from each other, the challenges all eight nations face are remarkably similar.  The end of the Cold War brought into question the dual matter of fighter costs and that of adjusting to new combat conditions.  Simply put, asymmetrical warfare, wherein air forces are engaged in unconventional guerilla conflict, has a parallel in the political asymmetry of a drawn-out conflict where strategic goals may depend on public support.  The maturation process of each air force is well discussed, though the book includes occasional internalist comments, notably by general staff officers, which may confuse readers who are foreign to such debates.  On the other hand, the strategic-political issues are well summarized, and will prove helpful to readers interested in introductory research on the topic of current air power.

--G. P. de Syon, Albright College

Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.