Red Ladies in Waiting

Review by Martin Koenigsberg

Just finished my 91st Book Review of the Year!! this book now- with a Russian instigated war in the Ukraine and many areas of Africa and the Middle East dealing with Russian aggressions- it seems the euphoria over the “end of the Cold War” might have been misplaced. It’s basically a big picture book of decaying Soviet Military Aircraft seen at various Cold War airfields , a triumphalist romp amongst rusting steel and corroding aluminum. Where most Squadron/Signal publications discuss a aircraft or vehicle type “In Action” – there is no action at all in the book- just row after row of MiGs, Sukhois, Ilyushins and Yakovlovs in states of disrepair, with the occasional Mi helo thrown in for good measure. The range is impressive- and so are the number of airfields visited. It’s a big kid’s picture book- with a sort of double nostalgia- first a remembering of these Cold War Birds in their former glory- and then a second yearning- for a Soviet Union in the dust and a humbled Russia. Interesting pictures for sure- but more a relic of a certain moment in time. I remember 1994- vividly, as I got married that year. We in the west were still giddy at the end of the Cold War- more thinking we had a chance for global peace- than actual triumphalism at beating communism, although there was probably some of that too. you can look it up- we talked of a “Peace Dividend”. We imagined a Russia as part of the Global Family, free of authoritarianism, even a real partner with the US and Europeans on all sort of world matters. We had no way of knowing- well most of us anyway, that Putin thought all this freedom and peace was awful and needed reversing as soon as possible. We didn’t know he was already angling for power… This book and its gleeeful tone does capture that period – but sure falls flat now. This book is as much a historical document of the early 1990s as it is a visual trip through the whole Soviet Cold War in Aircraft… All the adult themes are political , and there are no graphic injuries- save to airframes, so this is a book for the Junior Reader over 8/9 years, for whom this is all ancient history. For the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast a very mixed bag. Not much for the gamer- unless you want to make a “boneyard” scenario or objective marker. The modeler does see some interesting paint jobs (pics are both b/w and colour) and I have seen some very cool “boneyard’ dioramas where plastic kits became amazing cannibalised old birds, so this may have some appeal. For the Military Enthusiast- a quick look and back to more focused resources. This is a nice to have book- but by no means required in the Cold War Squadron/Signal bookshelf.#WhatAreYouReading #BookReviews #20thCenturyHistory #MilitaryHistory #AvGeek #SovietHistory #WarsawPactHistory #RussianHistory #ColdWarHistory #GDRHistory #NATO #AviationHistory #RedLadiesInWaiting #SovietAircraftInStorage #HansHeiriStapfer #SquadronSignalPublications #MiGs #Yakovlevs #Ilyushins #Sukhois #Boneyard #MiHelos #MiG21s #BloodRedSkies #MiGAlley #TeamYankee #BattlegroupNorthag #ColdWarWargames

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