There's no shortage of fantastic archival aviation photography from World War II. But photos from the period fall short in three major categories: the vast majority are black and white, most were composed under duress, and very few capture moments that have since entered the written record of aerial conflict.
Award-winning artist Jim Laurier rectifies the situation in this stunning, large-format, hardcover book celebrating World War II's top fighter aircraft. From design and weaponry to the daring tales of the pilots who flew the aircraft, Fighter! is a unique and lavishly presented look at World War II aviation through the imagination of military aviation's top artist and illustrator. The book presents chapters about ten legendary aircraft, each featuring paintings of the fighter in action, multi-view color plates (including cockpits), archival photography for context, and the stories behind the planes' design and service. The featured aircraft are: the Messerschmitt Bf 109, Hawker Hurricane, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Mitsubishi A6M Zero, Curtiss P-40, Focke-Wulf Fw 190, Supermarine Spitfire, North American P-51, Republic P-47, and Messerschmitt Me 262.
While each of Laurier's paintings and illustrations are breathtaking and technically exacting, the stories highlight key moments in battle and the nostalgia surrounding these fighters and their pilots, offering anecdotes that enhance the art's power. A complete appendix includes key statistics for each aircraft. A warbird history like no other, Fighter! brings the romance of aerial combat, the power of agile takeoffs, and the fury of deadly weapons alive on the page.