GRAF & GRISLAWSKI: A PAIR OF ACES, by Christer Bergstrom, Vlad Antipov and Claes Sundin. Written in Cooperation with Alfred Grislawski. ISBN #0972106049, Eagle Editions, Ltd. Out-of-Print. NEW!
This excellent book follows the lives and careers of two German Luftwaffe aces, Graf and Grislawski and is written by the same authors of 'Black Cross - Red Star'. The two men were like chalk and cheese, but they complimented each other well and became good friends. Graf, the quiet conscientious type that belied his determination while Grislawski was brash, hot-headed and stood for no nonsense. Grislawski came from a working class background and hardship and his refusal to join the Hitlerjugend vitually railroaded his chances of becoming a pilot from the outset, but he was able to join the navy as a naval flier to receive flight training.
The book is extremely well written and thought out and we see two inexperienced flyers slowly develop in confidence and develop into hardened veterans and aces of immense skill. The book seems to interchange from a biographical mode to one that describes events and experiences first hand, providing excellent and enthralling accounts of some aerial combat. The book talks of German fighter pilots (including Graf) driven onward to fly as many missions as possible despite exhaustion and fatigue, to achieve the Knights Cross decoration. (Neck-Itches as referred to in the book). Graf was effectively grounded by the Nazi hierachy after becoming the first man to reach two hundred victories and this is when his obsession for the love of soccer became more apparant. Grislawski's fighter career continued and became the mentor to Erich Hartmann and Hartmann likewise Grislawski's protege. Despite all Grislawski's experience on the Russian front it was ironically his transfer to the Western front for him to realize the meaning of total war, for this is where he saw German pilots machine gunned in their parachutes by American fighter pilots. The unrelentless Allied aerial assualt became a huge mounting cost for the Luftwaffe. The book also covers the captivity of Graf and Grislawski and the authors find no evidence of Graf's alleged cooperation with the Soviets after examining his POW file.
Overall, this is a first class book, easy and exciting to read, with many photographs (many probably from Grislawski's private collection). It also includes a section of colour profiles of the machines Graf and Grislawski flew and a full tally of their confirmed kills. Highly recommended book.
This is a GIFT QUALITY book.