It can be said at the start that this is a vitally important book to the student of world politics. The author, a distinguished British aviation writer, has taken a long scholarly look at the air power of the Soviet Union and detail by detail, has compressed its history, size, and striking potential into this one highly-informative view. The Korean War and the resulting tensions of the 1950's, he says, proved the Soviets had equalled or in some cases bettered the military aviation of the West. He tells how and why. From the 300 ill-assorted, worse-running old crates Russia owned in 1917, through the feverishly copied machines of the 1930's, to the gallant but unequal matching of forces with the Luftwaffe in the Second World War, he assembles and draws conclusions from facts which few writers have at their disposal. And not only does he tell the Soviet air story accurately, but he constantly shows how this growing power reflects in Soviet foreign policy and in the personalities of the nation's leaders. In conclusion he deals with the prospect of the 60's----Russia's supersonic aircraft, rocket power, tactical potential. And the great, growing ally which is China is not neglected either. A really excellent job which should be read by anyone in this country trying to evaluate what the Soviet Union is and what its people are capable of.