This is a good technically detailed book on the development and production of the various Supermarine Spitfires. Numerous photographs of forerunners, prototypes, and modifications provide details on the differences or changes from version to version. Although the printing is very good, a handful of the source photographs are not the best quality. This is generally understandable, but in a small number of cases there would seem to be other options, including photographing examples in museums.
The text is easy to read and flows well enough so that it can be read like a novel. In fact, some of the passages are so good and intriguing, the reader is compelled to continue into the next chapter. Each chapter includes supporting documents, whether memos between the designers and factory or the factory and the RAF, or official RAF evaluations of prototypes undergoing testing.
The author is very proud of the fact he has obtained access to memos previously unknown to exist and extensive time with Jeffrey Quill, one of the test pilots directly involved in the development. In fact, the constant references to Quill and quotes from him at times can cause the reader to wonder whether wartime England had other test pilots.
The only real drawback is that the author makes some emphatic statements about minor historical controversies. He declares one interpretation to be "wrong," without providing any supporting evidence or explaining the opposing views. This only occurs a few times, but it is noticeable and leaves the reader wondering what the controversy was, what the "other side" believes, and what the evidence indicates.
Still, if a little opinionated and somewhat overly dependent on one first-hand source, the publishing of the source memos, summaries of their significance, and Quill's remarks are critical to preserving the history. The book is a very important and complete reference that any Spitfire enthusiast, modeler, or aviation/World War II history buff will want.
The book is published in England, and North American buyers might find better availability or pricing at amazon.co.uk than in the US.