Author Phillip Stewart gifts aviation buffs with a book that could cut through years of research for those seeking out rare motion picture footage of aircraft from 1929-1931. His book Aerial Aces of the Universal Newsreel: A Researcher's Guide to the Aviation Related Stories Released Nationally by Universal Pictures 1929-1931 catalogs for us more than just history through newsreels - he manages to capture the essence of that time and its people.
Although the book will appeal to only a very small segment of potential readers, it will prove to be indispensable for historians and writers and those who are looking for film footage of aviation's golden years. The book also reproduces many great old photos of which few or any have been seen publicly in the last 8 decades.
Maybe it is because I am an aviation buff or am someone who actually loves old newsreels - but this book was actually more fun to read then I had expected. It takes you on an emotional journey as your imagination kicks in with mental images that the words present.
This book is a wonderful tool for researchers now and in the future. It needed to be written - it is an important asset. I am grateful that people like Phillip Stewart have given this so much of their own time to do this kind of work. There is certainly little to no money for these kinds of books - they have to be written as an act of love for history.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2011)
Aerial Aces of the Universal Newsreel is summed up best by its sub-title, "A Reference Guide to the Aviation Related Stories Released Nationally by Universal Pictures, 1929-1931." It’s a useful and practical resource guide to the aviation people, places and events of August 1929 through December 1931, as seen through the camera lens of the Universal Newspaper Newsreel, as the reel was known back then.
Aerial Aces contains descriptions of 219 aviation-related stories released by Universal during that time period. Stories are listed in release order and each is identified with the title, reel number, event date, location, and length. Each story has a storyline based on the newsreel synopsis sheets, a description the moving images, a word-for-word copy of the original narration script, and production and historical information, as appropriate.
The stories contained within Aerial Aces of the Universal Newsreel, provide a timeless reference to moving images of the aviation related activities covered during the first three years of the Universal Newspaper Newsreel. To see history as it actually happened is enlightening, instructive, and often rather dramatic. Too read about it is pretty cool too.