Northrop's Night Hunter: P-61 Black Widow
Author: Jeff Kolln
Publisher: Specialty Pr Pub & Wholesalers (2008)
Binding: Hardcover, 198 pages
World War II changed the face of warfare forever. Now enemies were fighting and flying all night, which mandated that a fighter be developed that could carry a new technological invention aloft radar. Guided by ground stations toward the target, the P-61 would acquire an enemy aircraft with its on-board radar and close for the kill.
Northrop's Night Hunter covers the development history of the P-61 Black Widow and the radar built specifically for its use. The P-61 was the most successful Allied night fighter of the war, and flew combat in the China-Burma-India, European, and Pacific theaters of the war. This book details the aircraft's offensive and defensive systems, its operations, and covers its unique uses from missile testing to flights by the U.S. Navy.
Well researched, definitive work on the most successful night fighter of WWII!
Jeff Kolln has provided the ultimate research tool for anyone wanting to know about the famed P-61 Black Widow. Full of outstanding photos and renderings along with thorough technical specifications, this book provides answers to operational, procurement, and technical questions in complete detail. In addition to providing a history of the plane's procurement, the book lists brief squadron histories for any unit equipped with the aircraft as well as histories of each individual airframe built. This last fact sets this book apart from any aircraft research book I've ever dealt with, and it is obvious that the author is unquestionably one of the most knowledgeable experts on the P-61.
The book is a bit technical for the average reader at times, but even a casual WWII aircraft enthusiast will appreciate the unique photos, schematics, and sketches throughout. There is just no reasonable question about the P-61 Black Widow that this book can't answer.
This book would be enjoyable to WWII aircraft aficionados, aircraft enthusiasts in general, and anyone doing research on night fighters, long range fighters, early uses of radar, early reconnaissance aircraft, or the war in the Pacific. Well done to the authors and publishers on a polished and professional product.
Reviewed by: Rob Ballister (2009)