Russell Miller's comprehensive biography of a tricky man whose fight often seemed to be as much with colleagues and superiors as with the enemy... Boom is an admirable primer on the early development of air power
Journalist Russell Miller uncovers the life of Hugh Trenchard, who joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps in 1912 and saw a rapid rise to commander of the RFC in France after the outbreak of World War I. Through persistence and hard work, he secured the future of the RAF after the war, and eventually became its first Marshal. An outspoken force even in retirement, his advocacy of offensive action and strategic bombing still divides opinion to this day
One of the most enjoyable paradoxes of Russell Miller's engaging biography is that, while instinct tells you that Hugh Montague Trenchard - grunting and bellicose, nicknamed 'Boom' on account of his habitual bellowing - must have been an utter horror to deal with, he none the less exerts fascination and occasionally sympathy, too . . . [Trenchard's] early adventures - involving everything from rampaging Boers to poisontipped darts and sabotaged cooking pots containing swarms of furious bees - are pure Flashman . . . Miller's coverage of the role of flight in the First World War is compelling and illuminating . . . Boom gives a magnetic and colourful portrait of the sort of life that could simply never be lived now.