Book Review
Race With the Wind - by Birch Matthews
Review by Scott Germain / Warbird Aero Press

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Birch Mathews, one of our most knowledgeable and successful air racing writers/historians, passed away several months ago. Fans, enthusiasts, pilots and insiders are fortunate that Mathews finished "Race With the Wind - How Air Racing Advanced Aviation."

Published by Motorbooks, Race With the Wind is not what a lot of current air racing enthusiasts might expect. If you want another droll picture book of current racers, move on. This volume is packed with charts, aeronautical data, and in depth discussion on air racing and aviation since the 1909 Rheims Meet up to the dawn of World War II.

Even if this book had no photos, the text alone would be worth the asking price of $39.95 US. Mathews writes technically, but at a level that ninety percent of the audience will find readable. The text will educate and enchant the reader with facts and reason, making the advances these early racer fought for even more impressive.

Text aside, the collection of photos in the book is also well worth the price. Photos from the Rheims race to the XP-51 detail the advance of aircraft and racing technology. Everything from the Wright Flyer to the Schneider floatplanes to the Gee Bees, Curtiss's, the Turner racer  - and more - are represented.

The book is capped off by chapters on liquid and air cooled engines, and appendices dealing with performance calculations and engines.

The bottom line is the same as Mathews other air racing books; these really are required books if you are a fan of air racing and its history. The review copy was bought at Barnes and Noble, so it should be readily available at retail booksellers and mail order catalogs dealing with aviation books.

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