Derek Robinson’s brutally funny appraisal of the contradictions of war follows the misfortunes of a British flight squadron on the Western Front.
World War One aviators were more than just soldiers - they were the knights of the sky, and the press and public idolised these gallant young heroes. But for Stanley Woolley, commanding officer of Goshawk Squadron, the romance of chivalry in the clouds is a myth. There are two types of men up there: victims and murderers, and the code he drums into his men bans any notion of fair play. This produces better killers. Despite this, Woolley believes the whole squadron will be dead in three months.