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The Secret Horsepower Race - book by Calum Douglas

edwest

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Another aside if I may. Google was sued by authors for copyright infringement. I post the following only to substantiate my claim:


In the present, I continue to find infringing websites that have illegally copied, and offer for sale, books produced by the company I work for.

On a prominent website, the history of my company is given, complete with glaring inaccuracies. But, since any idiot has access, at least one attempt by a person within my company to remove those inaccuracies has resulted in unnamed pesons simply putting them back. The internet can be used for bad ends in terms of muddying the waters between fact and fiction.
 

steelpillow

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On a prominent website, the history of my company is given, complete with glaring inaccuracies. But, since any idiot has access, at least one attempt by a person within my company to remove those inaccuracies has resulted in unnamed pesons simply putting them back.

If that happens to be Wikipedia, drop me a PM with the page name and I will see what I can do.
 

edwest

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Thank you for your kind offer. This matter can only be handled internally.
 

Calum Douglas

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Just like to make a big shout of thanks to everyone on this thread who has:

1) Bought a copy
2) Pointed out errors/typos
3) Made suggestions
4) Made encouraging noises
5) Made reasoned critique

We`ve nearly sold 5000 copies, which is well over double what I assumed would be the total lifetime sales of the book.

My editor @newsdeskdan also deserves a lot of credit, due to his own work on WW2, his contribution has been more significant than that of just any old "editor", also
to Mortons for signing me up.

The greatest credit must however go to a select few Archive curators (you know who you are), who went far beyond the call of duty and basically threw me the keys and said "go wild", and literally just left me to it with a camera for weeks on end. The primary reason this book is any good is because of the huge volume of documents I managed to copy.

2016-10-03_VISIT-NARA-Film-Room_002.JPG
 

pravg

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I'm afraid this will be another British minded book. I hope to be wrong.

If you wish to have a full answer for that you will have to define VERY SPECIFICALLY what the phrase "british minded" means to you.

For example, if I were German and I critisised the British Air Ministry, would that be regarded as a "german minded" book,
even if I were correct in my point ?

Given that I speak German, used to live and work there (as a piston engine designer) and am on good personal terms with the son of the chief designer of Daimler-Benz, places
me in a difficult position, any compliments I make towards Germany can be regarded as trying to please Germans, and being British, any comments
I make lauding the achievements of Britain can be regarded as jingoism; and any critisism I make of Americans could be regarded as
trans-atlantic sour-grapes.

I can promise that the book exposes scullduggery, fraud, deception and incompetence in fairly equal measure between all nations,
but the key to who won, was how this was dealt with and at which positions of influence these problems manifested. That was the
deciding factor. (a rather horribly paraphrased answer, but the proper explanation is 220,000words long :) )

FYI, I am currently also preparing the technical memoirs of Professor Dr-Ing Karl Kollmann, dated 1947 for publication, this was given
to me personally by his son to translate to English. No other person in the world has this document in their posession, so I consider
myself, unapologetically, to be in a suitable position to point out errors in German policy and to explain why they occured.

The book contains scathing critisism for British pre-war technical policy, and delivers astonishingly candid views on American failings, written
by a very famous engineer in 1942 (again, never previously pubished). Never for the purpose of creating controversy gratuitously, but
because it is impossible to explain what happened and why, without understanding the errors made.
Just received your book. Amazingly complete. One of the most interesting books on engine development I have read. Living in Munich and having been a member of the Royal aeronautical society over there, I searched for similar information in the early 1980's but never got that far as you. Congratulations!
 

Calum Douglas

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I'm afraid this will be another British minded book. I hope to be wrong.

If you wish to have a full answer for that you will have to define VERY SPECIFICALLY what the phrase "british minded" means to you.

For example, if I were German and I critisised the British Air Ministry, would that be regarded as a "german minded" book,
even if I were correct in my point ?

Given that I speak German, used to live and work there (as a piston engine designer) and am on good personal terms with the son of the chief designer of Daimler-Benz, places
me in a difficult position, any compliments I make towards Germany can be regarded as trying to please Germans, and being British, any comments
I make lauding the achievements of Britain can be regarded as jingoism; and any critisism I make of Americans could be regarded as
trans-atlantic sour-grapes.

I can promise that the book exposes scullduggery, fraud, deception and incompetence in fairly equal measure between all nations,
but the key to who won, was how this was dealt with and at which positions of influence these problems manifested. That was the
deciding factor. (a rather horribly paraphrased answer, but the proper explanation is 220,000words long :) )

FYI, I am currently also preparing the technical memoirs of Professor Dr-Ing Karl Kollmann, dated 1947 for publication, this was given
to me personally by his son to translate to English. No other person in the world has this document in their posession, so I consider
myself, unapologetically, to be in a suitable position to point out errors in German policy and to explain why they occured.

The book contains scathing critisism for British pre-war technical policy, and delivers astonishingly candid views on American failings, written
by a very famous engineer in 1942 (again, never previously pubished). Never for the purpose of creating controversy gratuitously, but
because it is impossible to explain what happened and why, without understanding the errors made.
Just received your book. Amazingly complete. One of the most interesting books on engine development I have read. Living in Munich and having been a member of the Royal aeronautical society over there, I searched for similar information in the early 1980's but never got that far as you. Congratulations!

Thanks !

One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the information was not declassified until recently. Not of course due to any actual national security considerations, but probably just that either they had a "fixed" period of classification or that they were only released after someone wrote angry letters protesting how stupid it was that they were not released. Because of this, it was in fact, absolutely impossible to write this book prior to about 1972 (when all the AIR-40 files of British Air Intelligence were released), so basically anything written before then is (through no fault of the authors of the time) so incomplete as to be useless. In fact some of the files I used were "closed" until 1991, if you can believe it.

In addition, an even bigger consideration, is technical. I would never have been able to write this without the RLM stenographic record digitised with OCR onto PDF. This is about 100,000 pages of 35mm microfilm, about 35% of the characters were recondnisable to the OCR software on scanning. So basically I could do keyword searches of these pages and find all the critical discussions, and also track the dates when certain specific problems were discussed, or when certain persons were present in meetings.

Maybe even 15 years ago this would have been impossible for a private individual (it cost me a lot of money even now).

One can easily imagine how any other researcher/author would just have given up without such digital resources. I was the first person to ever have these records digitised and OCR scanned, so its not surprising that your attempts in the early 80`s did not succeed. At the time I would also have failed.
 

Trident

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That is some interesting perspective Calum - still working my way through the book, and I find your participation here an enlightening complement to it for comments like this!
 

steelpillow

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I'm afraid this will be another British minded book. I hope to be wrong.

I think your best indicator of this is that THERE ARE NO SPITFIRES ON THE COVER. Your fears are groundless. The book is wholly preoccupied with the technology and its history, as revealed through recently-opened original sources. And many of those are German voices.
 

Hood

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I think your best indicator of this is that THERE ARE NO SPITFIRES ON THE COVER. Your fears are groundless. The book is wholly preoccupied with the technology and its history, as revealed through recently-opened original sources. And many of those are German voices.

The Tempest is in the lead though, with those pesky Jerries and Yanks trailing behind the product of Camm and Halford's genius! (I jest of course!)

As I have said before, this is a remarkably even-handed book, every side gets their fair share of praise and criticism. In any case the reader can assess all the evidence presented and make up their own minds.
 
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