Synthesizing numerous secondary sources and combining them with some primary research, Black (Univ. of Exeter, UK) offers a synthetic history of air power that emphasizes the post–WW II era, when military aviation matured considerably, then carries his survey all the way to recent air operations and military aircraft acquisitions. Over the course of 13 chapters, this remarkable book shows the context of aerial combat not only through evolving technology but also through economic exigencies, political prestige, and shifting sensibilities on such matters as civilian casualties. By reminding readers that military aviation does not solve matters alone, the author also hints at the considerable intricacies associated with any aerial campaign, from political decision making to the incorporation of naval air power. . . . Lay audiences with a prior interest will appreciate the wider context offered as well as the brief glossary and supplementary reading list.