Graf & Grislawski Book: Reviews and Readers' Comments
Review by Generalleutnant Günther Rall, 21 October 2003:
"I salute this initiative! I found it totally wonderful. This is an outstanding work. It is matchless when it comes to books about aviators. Everything is absolutely correct, a great research work!"
Statement by Mrs Ilse Grislawski, widow of Alfred Grislawski, 15 January 2004:
"I am deeply impressed by the book. It makes me sense my husband again and the time we had together." ("Das Buch hat mich sehr beeindruckt. Ich erlebe meinen Mann noch einmal in Erinnerung an den Zeitabschnitt unseres gemeinsamen Lebens.")
Review by Mark R. Steers at Amazon.com, 12 September 2007:
(Five Stars out of Five Stars):
Excellent text highlighted by well placed photos throughout the book. Very complete documentation of pre and post Luftwaffe service by these extraordinary aviators. The outstanding aircraft profile artwork is a bonus to modelers. This book is a fine addition to any WWII historian's library.
Review by Michael D. Barrentine at Amazon.com, 29 August 2006:
(Five Stars out of Five Stars): A really good book to read!
I enjoyed reading this book which surprised me after reading some of the excerpts I saw on line. If your interested in JG 52 of the Luftwaffe this is a book to have. I found it to have as much of the excitment as I found in the book " The War Diary of Helmut Lipfert". It gave a balanced view point from both the German side and the Russian side which made it like being a part of the story. It also busted some of the false myths about Herman Graf, also showed both pilots to be very decent men. It was well worth the money. There is a few grammar problems which was a translation problem or editing problem (very minor) but it's the story that is important and enjoyable.
Review by ViktorViktor "VV" at Amazon.com, 26 June 2006:
(Five Stars out of Five Stars): Impressive research!
This is a quality book, from beginning to end. An interesting feature of this book is that the author has taken great pains to identify the foes who Graf and Grislawski flew against, both on the Eastern and Western front. This gives us the opportunity to see what an opponent thought and experienced during an encounter against these aces. The author has also checked the official records of the Luftwaffe and Allied air forces in order to confirm that an opponent claimed shot down was actually shot down. (Not surprisingly for me, it seems that about half the time, claims for kills are exaggerated by 50% for both sides.) Through such research, he is also able to identify that aircraft from the 354th FG and 4th FG were responsible for 2 incidents of 'chute-shooting'. And that Grislawski and Hub Zemke from the 56th FG dueled each other later in the war.
Being a historian, the author has also takes pains to describe the big picture, be it a German offensive, or an 8th AF attempt to cripple German synthetic oil production, in conjunction with the specific activities these aces' air units were engaged in during a given period. Thus, for example, when 7/JG 52 transfers to Kerch, we know why, and the excellent map provided with the book lets us pinpoint where.
The book has quality (shiny) paper, which allows photos to be printed on any page (some are even in color). In fact, this book and Hermann Buchner's 'Stormbird' are much alike in terms of features and quality. The only negative I found with this book is the writing, which I rate as mediocre, primarily because the author, whose native tongue is not English (I hope), bungles common expressions here and there. For example, instead of writing 'his predication came true', Bergstrom writes 'his predicament came true'. Regardless, this book rates a 5.
Jet und Prop No. 2/2005, review by Peter Cronauer:
". . . Da Alfred Grislawski noch selbst an diesem Buch mitwirken konnte, erhält der Leser eine Fülle an persönlichen Erinnerungen und Details, die auch demjenigen, der keinen der beiden engen Freunde gekannt hat, einen nachvollziehbaren Eindruck ihrer Persönlichkeiten vermitteln. (. . .) Haben die Autoren - wohlgemerkt: zwei Schweden und ein Russe! - in zwanzig Jahren Recherche eine Fülle an Dokumenten und Unterlagen vermittelt, die vorherigen Autoren nicht zur Verfügung gestanden hatten. - So zu Beispiel Grafs aus seiner Zeit als Kriegsgefangener in russischen Lager. (. . .) Aber auch offene Fragen aus der Kriegszeit werden behandelt: Wer war tatsächlich an der 'Verschwörung der Jagdflieger' beteiligt? - Graf oder Steinhoff? (. . .) Die Autoren wollen dabei keine alen Wunden aufreissen, sondern bemühen sich um eine an den Fakten orientierte und möglichst faire Darstellung. Das dies gelungen ist, [wird] bestätigt (. . .) Die Darstellung der beiden Lebenswege ist absolut empfehlenswert, wenn man sich mit deutscher Geschichte im 20. Jahrhundert anhand von Biografien befassen möchte. Vor diesem Hintergrund ist das Buch auch für jüngere Leser geeignet, die den Nationalsozialismus und den 2. Weltkrieg nicht mehr selbst erlebt hat."
("Since Alfred Grislawski himself participated in this book, the reader is provide dwith a wealth of personal memories and details, which gives even those who never knew the two close friends a deep understanding of their personalities. (. . .) Through twenty years of research, the authors - actually two Swedes and a Russian - have attained a wealth of documents and material which previous authors did not have. - For instance, the POW files from Graf's captivity. (. . .) But also open questions from the war time are covered: Who in fact participated in the 'fighter pilots' mutiny'? Graf or Steinhoff? (. . .) The authors do not intend to open up old wounds, instead they strive to provide us with a fair description based on facts. It is confirmed that this has succeeded (. . .) The story of the two personal fates is highly recommendable, also when one approaches German history in the 20th Century from the viewpoint of biographies. In view of this, the book also is recommended for young readers, who have no personal experience of World War II and National Socialism.")
Jägerblatt, review by Christiuan Reimers, October 2004:
". . . Lesenswert, Inhalt und Ausführung sind hervorragend." ("Recommendable, content and disposition is excellent.")
Aviation Historian Jan Bobek (Heinz Bär biographer) on Graf & Grislawski book in e-mail 14 May 2004:
"I just read some parts. Book looks great. There are few points where I will have different opinion or where I will disagree with you, but that will have no impact on the overall positive impression that I have from you book. I wanted to read it all and write review, but it will take some time. I have more and more feeling that your book seems to create pattern for biographies written about Luftwaffe airmen. I am thinking what other book is comparable with your, but I can't find it. Everything is balanced there--the human story, the air operations, the opponents, pictures and color artwork. BTW: the hamster story with Rossmann made me laugh greatly. I was suspicious about the Rall/Fadeyev fight when I read it, but as soon as I looked into the records I agreed with you. I also think now that Rall sent down Fadeyev."
Aviation Historian Don Caldwell on Graf & Grislawski book in e-mail 16 January 2004:
"Outstanding job! With a unique
Review Oberfeldwebel Fritz Presoli, Grislawski's former First Mechanic, 20 October 2003:
"I am so grateful that you have created this marvellous book on these two fantastic men Graf and Grislawski. I hope it will be read by many people."
Review by Morten Resell, 6 September 2005:
"As a WWII aviation and Luftwaffe enthusiast I had to buy this book even though I had not read anything by the author before. I was very curios to see how the the author could manage to write a biography around two of the highest scoring experten in WWII in the same book. After reading the book I found it quite natural to read about the war records Graf & Grislawski in the same book, even though they had quite different personalities and ambitions. With 312 pages I feel that the combat history of Graf & Grislawski is very well covered in this book and I feel the histories of both pilots are covered equally.
When I started reading the book I jumped right to the chapter dealing with Hermann Graf´s captivity. I found it most interesting to read in detail about that period of Graf´s live as experten like Erich Hartmann criticised Graf for collaborating with the Russians during his captivity. For me that chapter really brought new light to the controversy. When it comes to the war record of the two pilots I find the book wery thourough when it comes to air engagements and victory claims as Bergstrõm uses VVS and Allied reports to confirm most engagements. Readers will also get a impression on how the situation at the front are as this is dealt with in each chapter. Further the book has a lot of exellent photos and scale drawings by Claes Sundin.
The only thing I miss about this book is more pilot notes about the aircraft and its armament Graf and Grislawski flew and how they compared their aircraft with what the opposition had at its disposal. Overall I found it to be a exellent book who was impossible to put down once I started reading it. To bad black Cross Red Star volume 1 is out of print, because I would really love to read more from Bergstrõm. I will be looking forward to his next project, Messerschmitt Ace Walter Schuck: From Me 109 to Me 262!"
Review by W. B. Smith at Amazon.com, 19 February 2005:
(Five Stars out of Five Stars): 1st Class Account of Two Luftwaffe Aces!
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 was able to join the navy as 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 vetrans 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 realise 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 to read, (exciting to read at times), 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. I highly recommend this book.
Review by Czech Aviation Historian Ota Jirovec, 27 March
Recently, I have become a happy owner
of Graf & Grislawski, A Pair of Aces. It is a very good book -
in fact one of the best aviation history books I have ever read, definitely
a result of very long and careful research work.
The story presented is written very vividly
and provides us, WWII aviation enthusiasts, with a lot of interesting details
about the career of two notable Luftwaffe aces, about the units in which they
served as well as about their opponents from VVS, RAF and USAAF. I am very
glad that the author kept the tradition from the Black
Cross Red Star series, i.e. identification of individual pilots, or at
least units, who fought against each other including finding out who Graf´s
and Grislawski´s opponents were on numerous occassions (among others
I very liked your description of dogfight between Alfred Grislawski and Aleksandr
Klubov on 2 November 1942). I am grateful for the information coming from
Russian archive materials this can shed some more light to Eastern
Front Air War.
Graf & Grislawski, A Pair of Aces
also provides the reader with interesting information which fills some gaps
in the JG 52 history, e.g. info about the occassions when Graf or Grislawski
were shot down (and thus adding to Niko Fast´s JG 52´s loss list,
where Grislawski´s downing on 18 January 1943 is not reported), or clarifying
the fates of some III./JG 52 pilots (Kurt Schade, Johann Kalb and Kurt Ratzlaff
come to mind...).
There are many interesting chapters in the book I particularly enjoyed the chapters about the air battle over the Kuban region, including the text about JG 52´s encounters with 57 GIAP Spitfires and about Grislawski´s employment on the Invasion front.
The photos, victory lists and profiles
made by Claes Sundin are also very interesting.
Review by Swedish Aviation Historian Håkan Gustavsson, 26 November 2003:
Christer Bergströms book Luftstrid över kanalen back in 1983 was the book which initiated my own structured research in aviation history and thus he had a specially place on my bookshelf. After the start of the very good series Black Cross/Red Star it was with great expectations I started to read the Graf & Grislawski book. The expectations were fulfilled and this is a book which I can highly recommend being one of the best biographies Ive read about pilots. The authors have managed to get a balanced book with focus on the aviation but without missing what was happening around the pilots with an especially interest in Grafs soccer passion. In addition on Grafs soccer interest the book gives good account on both pilots and especially Grislawski seems to have been a strong-willed guy with a tough attitude with several descriptions on dressing downs of higher ranking pilots when they hadnt acted correct in combat situations.
The combat claims of these two highly successful pilots are very well researched with a good account on the opposite side and in many cases opposing pilots and units are identified with their own account of the combat.
The book looks (and feels) very nice with good quality photographs, sideviews and complete claims listings for both pilots in the appendices.
Conclusion: A must have in the bookshelf!
Large Scale Planes review, by Mark Proulx, 7 November 2003:
(Five Stars out of Five Stars):
An important new book has just been released by Eagle Editions. The book, entitled Graf and Grislawski: A Pair of Aces, details the lives of two of the Luftwaffe's famous Experten. The book is written by Christer Bergstrom and is assisted by Vlad Antipov and Claes Sundin. Alfred Grislawski also co-operated with the project.
Alfred Grislawski and Hermann Graf fought side by side in some of the harshest conditions that were found on the Eastern Front. The authors detail their experiences from the outset of hostilities, thru their missions on the Eastern Front and the Goering Mutiny of January 1945. It culminates with their captivity at the hands of the Russians. The later is the most controversial, given the harsh treatment received by Graf from his former colleagues, as a result of his alleged co-operation with the Russians. The authors detail this period in time with recently uncovered documents from Russian POW archives, which included Graf's complete file.
There is also two complete appendix's listing the confirmed aerial victories accredited to these two pilots. Page after page details the type of aircraft destroyed by date, location and Opponent.
The book is 312 pages in length and is extensively illustrated with more than 300 photos, many never before seen. The majority of the photos are from Mr. Grislawski's private collection or Traditionsgemeinschaft JG 52. Claes Sundin provides 26 superb color profiles.
I am sure that the color side profiles created by Claes Sundin are familiar to many. The profiles are superb, and have to be considered among the best available today. Unfortunately, color data is not included leaving many modelers to speculate. Decals for each scheme will be available soon from Eagle Editions, available in all popular scales.
Unfortunately, Alfred Grislawski recently passed away being pre-deceased by Hermann Graf. At least he was able to see the final results of his efforts. I am informed the book was at his bedside when he passed away. I hope it brought a measure of peace to him. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the famous Aces of WW II.
Review Sample Compliments of Eagle Editions
Review by Russian Aviation Historian Nikita Yegorov, 2 November 2003:
The book Graf-Grislawski really overwhelmed all anticipations I had before I had read it. After investigating this book thoroughly for two weeks, re-reading it many times, my conclusion is that it simply has got no point that could be questionable. The well-known German writer Johann Paul Richter once said: "It is easy to flatter; it is harder to praise." But the situation with Graf-Grislawski is just the opposite.
I was really shaken by the scope of information presented in this book. I thought I was going to meet an ordinary biography, though written in a rather unusual style. In reality I faced a fine example of a painstaking research. The book's 37 chapters and four appendices contain a wealth of previously unknown facts, a great immense of rare photos, and brilliant profiles by Claes Sundin. The lists of Graf's and Grislawski's victories are outstanding. No one else has ever managed to match any German pilot's victories in the East against Soviet and Russian sources.
Graf-Grislawski is a real
two-sided image of the air war on the Eastern front. It not only spotlights
the air combat activities but, what is even more important, vividly describes
the relationship between different personalities in Luftwaffe. Ordinary people
with their fears, emotions and actions appear on the scene. (I especially
liked the episodes in pairs: Graf - Göring, Grislawski - Ihlefeld).
The authors concentrate on how Graf and Grislawski led battle-weary German fighter groups through the bloody battles of Stalingrad, the Kuban, and the Defense of the Reich, revealing all blunders, ignorance of the high command, and obstacles that our heroes had to overcome in their way to victory, which couldn't be on the cards. Returning to the large amount of previously unknown facts given in the book, I was, among other things, very surprised to learn that one of Graf's victories was achieved through an air-to-air ramming.
To my mind this is the best non-political book about ordinary soldiers, only two of many millions who participated in the Second World War. Besides, this book is another considerable step forward in creating coherent and minute-images of the war on the Eastern Front, which unfortunately, yet is hidden in many ways. I think it is a substantial bid to remove the spigot that impeds all us from contemplating and researching this great and notorious drama of the Twentieth Century.
I can add only that Graf-Grislawski invokes one feeling: a great desire to collect every book by Bergström, Antipov and Sundin!
Review by John McBride, 6 October 2003:
I've got Vol 1 and 2 of Black Cross
Red Star and most recently acquired Graf & Grislawski.
(Eagerly awaiting Black Cross Red Star vol 3.) These books are
just fantastic! They have captivated my attention in the past few months and
have assisted me in creating as historically accurate IL2 Sturmovik &
FB combat simulator missions as possible. (I don't think I would have found
these books had it not been for my addiction to the combat simulator, IL2
Sturmovik & FB). Very valuable resources!
I spent the past weekend diving into the Graf and Grislawski book. I think it's my favorite. I find personal anecdotes from the people that were there so terribly interesting. This book is chock full of great stories... I'm still chuckling over the "thunderbeam" incident. I do hope that Red pilot was fully aware of the circumstances and ramifications of his strafing run (unlikely at his speed)! What a hoot he would have had telling his buddies back at base.
I was a little worried that I would get the storylines confused reading about the interwoven careers of two pilots at once. So far, it has not been a problem in the least. I'm feeling like I know these guys. ...makes Grislawski's recent passing so much sadder. How fortunate for us that you got his story down in print.
Also, the pictures, maps and color plates are wonderful. Very impressive.
These books deserve high marks, and I'm encouraging my friends/ family to get them. Thank you for your hard work--it is greatly appreciated.
Graf & Grislawski: A Pair of Aces
by Christer Bergström and Vlad Antipov is immediately a "must-have"
for any WWII aviation historian. I will do the reverse and immediately say
that I highly recommend this book instead of waiting for the end of the review.
The book presents an interesting dichotomy
between Graf and Grislawski. There is the quiet super star of the Luftwaffe
and the common, faithful friend with lion-like qualities in the air and the
ground. Graf & Grislawski shifts back and forth, surveying the early lives
of both men, their fledgling careers as pilots and then follows them throughout
their various postings through the war. The reader will see many of the leading
figures of the Luftwaffe and Germany. Adolf Galland, Herman Göring, Günther
Lützow, Erich Hartmann, Günther Rall and Adolf Hitler. Göring
appears throughout the book and both Graf and Grislawski have encounters with
In Graf we can see the victory chasing
side of the Luftwaffe, where gifted pilots flew sortie after sortie in a desire
to hunt down the enemy for decorations and laurels. Grislawski presents a
practical vision of a Luftwaffe pilot - reserved, calculating and tactical.
I was surprised at the amount of detail presented with the victory by victory
accounts of Graf and Grislawski. After so many years, I thought it would be
difficult to piece together all the various air battles. Bergström and
Antipov manage to do so. Even the Russian and American sides of the air battles
is presented, giving texture to the history and not the just the sterile numbers.
In a few instances the readers get to know who shot down whom. For example,
there is a chapter called "Zemke's Lucky Shot" and it involves an
encounter with Hubert Zemke and Grislawski.
The authors try to resolve the controversy
concerning Graf's imprisonment with the Russians and whether he collaborated
or was "turned" while being held captive. I found the treatment
of prisoners by the Russians and the Americans to be particularly disturbing.
Grislawski's account with an American processing officer is particularly telling
of the existing hatred. Speaking of hatred, I found it even more disturbing
to read about the numerous times Luftwaffe pilots were strafed in their parachutes
or on the ground by American pilots. I've read other books where German pilots
were just as guilty of such an atrocity. The description of the American and
British bombing campaign against German cities is also devastating. Again,
it's not numbers presented but the human costs.
As usual, the Claes Sundin profiles of
the aircraft of both pilots are superb. The detail and colors of the profiles
in the book really leap off the pages. The effect can be attributed to Claes
artistry as well as the excellent printing quality. The reader should know
that I have a biased eye while regarding Claes' work. He had done work on
my website and I know his own website is regularly visited to check on the
latest release of profiles. I do know Claes pays critical attention to accuracy
and the reader should be aware that all source material was likely consulted
before the first pixel was placed on the profile.
Most Luftwaffe afficiados will be pleased
to see the victory lists of Graf and Grislawski presented. I always like to
refer back to a victory list while reading a biographical work of the pilot
to relate to the current chapter I'm reading.
In conclusion, Graf & Grislawski is required reading for the avid reader of the air war over the Eastern Front and the Luftwaffe in general. Much like Bergström's Black Cross / Red Star, the book is destined to be in many book collections.
Review by Werner Hoppe, Germany, 27 September 2003:
The book "Graf & Grislawski. A Pair of Aces" is a must-buy for any WW2 enthusiast; the information is well researched and gives a great understanding to the events that took place around these two very interesting people.
When I received the copy of "Graf & Grislawski. A Pair of Aces", I was amazed by the overall quality of the book. As I paged through for the first time, I was very interested in the photos (I am building a scale model of Hermann Grafs Personal FW-190A-5), for they proved to be giving a great deal of small details needed in the final phases. I looked at the pictures in detail and found that the quality of the images are excellent and well detailed, not forgetting the profiles at the back by Claes Sundin; these are of exceptional quality and for a scale modeler, they prove to be a great help when trying to replicate an aircraft.
Once I started reading the book in more detail, I became very impressed by the facts that were put through in the book. The details of all the air victories of both Hermann Graf and Alfred Grislawski is simply amazing. The book is really entertaining and I love the detail that it goes into regarding event date and times. An excellent book - well done!
Additional comment by Blake Field (see below), Chicago, in e-mail to author, 25 September 2003:
How sad to learn that Herr Grislawski
has passed away! I just now read this on the site for the book. It is good
that he lived to see the publication of the book. I was commenting to myself
as I read it that it was good that he is still with us. I am sorry that it
was not for much longer.
Well, he can be proud of his story that was told in your book. You and Mr. Antipov did an excellent job telling the story of the men - not just the fighter pilots - Hermann Graf and Alfred Grislawski. I took as long as I could to read the book, as I wanted to savor every page and photograph. It is, in my opinion, exactly the way a book of it's type should be presented: allowing a good look into the personalities of each man. I admire most the aspect that they were both their own men, and very independent minded - especially Grislawski. It is especially heart-rending to read about the meat-grinder that was the Western Front air war in mid to late 1944. Some of the most interesting parts to me were the correlation of the histories from different countries, such as the opposing combat reports from the Soviet Air Force and the stories from the 95th Bomb Group and Hub Zemke.
I have always most enjoyed reading and hearing from the sergeants and lieutenants (unteroffiziere und leutnante, right?) much more than the generals. Those stories are to me the most compelling of them all.
Thanks once again for a great job on that book. I hope to see more added to my growing collection of your work.
Review by Floyd S. Werner, Jr., at Luftwaffe Discussion Group, 22 September 2003:
With the passing of Alfred Grislawski on 19th September, 2003, I felt compelled to write a review of the new Eagle Editions book: Graf & Grislawski: A Pair of Aces. Alfred passed away less than a month after this book was published. His story is told the way he wanted and for generations to come. God speed.
When this book was announced on the Eagle Editions website last year I couldnt wait to get my hands on a copy. Finally someone would tell the story of Hermann Graf and Alfred Grislawski. For years after the war Graf was ostracized from the Luftwaffe pilots for what was determined to be his defection to the communists, hence very little was mentioned of his exploits. Well time and good research heals all wounds and Graf and Grislawskis story is told in a new book by Christer Bergstrom.
When I read a book about a pilot or a unit I dont want to hear rote dates and aircraft shot down. That is very boring. What I want to know is the person and the story. I want to know what made the man. I want know how a particular fight developed. I want to know some of the words spoken and the feelings felt. Air combat is not an impersonal endeavor. With this book I was not disappointed. With the help of Alfred Grislawski, this book tells the pilots story. While there is plenty of air to air action, it is more the small personal stories that make this book a must have.
The book is a 312 page hardcover labor of love. The stories of the two men are so intertwined that it would have been impossible to tell one without the other. From the first meeting in May 1940 until Grafs death in 1987, these two men fought the savage air battles on both fronts.
For the modeler, this book is a treasure trove of new an interesting aircraft. There are 13 pages of color drawings by Claes Sundin. All the aircraft are beautiful renderings of Bf-109s in every version from the E-1 to the K-4 and the FW-190. Ive talked to Jerry and Judy Crandall of Eagle Editions who informed me that there will be no less than four decal sheets. Some of the profiles provide new interpretations (Grafs FW-190A-5 and Bf-109K-4). As we all know, Luftwaffe colors are just too open to interpretation in photos to be conclusive. This in no ways detracts from the profiles as they are first rate and excellent. The pictures are in the book to draw your on conclusions.
For the historian, this book has many previously unpublished photos. Some exceptionally colorful Bf-109s, including another tulip nosed Bf-109G-6 Red or Green 2 on page 251, which unfortunately is not a color profile. There is also proof that Grafs Bf-109 in JG 50 had main wheel doors on a G-6. Also explained is the meaning behind the pierced heart with womens names in them.
For the person looking for a good book, this book is well written and easy to read. Once you start you will find it hard to put down. The thing that makes it fascinating is that the events actually happened.
Is this book worth the price? You bet. I highly recommend this book as it is one of the easiest and fun reads Ive had in quite some time. It gives an unbiased and non-judgmental look at these two heroes. It gives an insight into the men and the events that shaped their time.
Thanks go to Christer for writing such a good book and to Claes Sundin for the exceptional profiles. Im sure when Grislawski died, he died in the knowledge that his story did not die with him.
Review book provided by my wallet. The book is available through Eagle Editions at http://www.eagle-editions.com or by phone at 1-800-255-1830 for $54.95 plus s/h. or an autographed, leather bound edition for $115.
Review by Brett Green at Hyperscale's Kitreview.com, 17 September 2003:
At more than 300 pages, "Graf & Grislawski - a Pair of Aces" is a weighty and very impressive tome.
The quality of the content and presentation is consistent with the excellent earlier major works of Eagle Editions, and of the author Christer Bergstrom and his artistis collaborator Claes Sundin.
Hermann Graf and Alfred Grislawski both had humble origins, but worked their way through the ranks of the Luftwaffe, ending the war with the respect of their comrades and impressive records. Graf's final tally was 212 victories, with 132 for Grislawski. Their legacy was not solely victories over enemy aircraft however, as these friends were supportive of, and made sacrifices for, their fellow officers and men.
The author briefly covers the birth and flying education of both men, before the bulk of the book which focuses on their wartime records. Several controversial stories are tackled, including rumours of co-operation in Soviet captivity, are covered in the text.
The active co-operation of Alfred Grislawski in the preparation of this book contributes much valuable first-person perspective of the event from the wartime Luftwaffe.
The book is generously illustrated with more than 300 black and white photos. Claes Sundin also teams up with the author again, presenting 25 very attractive colour profiles of Bf 109s and Fw 190s - almost a book's worth of illustrations here alone! Seven more recent photos are presented in full colour, as are portraits of both the pilots inside the back cover of the book. A map of Europe during the Second World War is supplied across the facing pages inside the front cover.
"Graf & Grislawski - a Pair of Aces" is an attractively packaged production of these two famous Luftwaffe pilots. Much of the detailed history will be appearing for the first time, so the book will be considered essential to Luftwaffe buffs; while the 300+ photos and 25 profiles makes this volume a valuable source of reference and inspiration to modellers.
Mike Crosman posted this to Luftwaffe Discussion Group, 12 O' Clock High, Sat Sep 13 18:19:43 2003:
I want to congratulate Christer Bergstrom (and his assistants) on a tremendous addition to my Luftwaffe library! I receieved the book Graf & Grislawski yesterday, and am very impressed. I am amazed at how fortunate all of us Luftwaffe enthusiasts are to be able to have these types of books at our disposal. Books like Assi Hahn and Graf & Grislawski take aviation history to a new level. I for one, appreciate the level of expertise such authors as Christer, Claus Sundin, and others have brought to the table in "raising the bar" on what we can expect on future WWII aviation subjects. Now that this format has been so well received, I'd like to see a book like these on Gunther Rall! I have have met him twice and with his personality and his ability to remember minute details, he has got to be a publisher's dream. I hope his wealth of knowledge and expertise can be put together in a definitive volume before he too, passes on. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication in making WWII history come alive, and at the same time, injecting the human element.
Blake Field posted this to HyperScale's Aircraft Scale
Modelling Discussion Group Tue Sep 9, 00:07:47 2003:
Graf and Grislawski - First Look
Well, it is here! I am so happy to have received this book today. I have been looking forward to it ever since I saw the first news about it at Jerry and Judy's site. My curiosity about Hermann Graf - beginning when I read Toliver and Constable's writings, then Mr Bergström's (In "Luftwaffe Fighters in Profile I") - is about to be satisfied. As well, I have been most curious about Alfred Grislawski, since reading about him and his association with JG 1.
As we have all seen at the Eagle Editions website, the heavy paper dust cover has photos of both Graf and Grislawski framed by a dark red background - dare I say Rot 23? The cover itself is of rich red leather (yes, I buckled and bought the autographed edition). Inside the front cover is a color map of "Europe During WWII" with a key to major cities in the story.
The signature page is covered by a transparent sheet that protects Mr. Grislawski's autograph, which is under a photo of him in front of his well-known Fw 190A-7. (I have #7 of 100, I see...).
The foreword is written by M. H. H. Wägenbaur and Hans Renz of Traditionsgemeinschaft JG 52. Also present is a foreword by Mr. Grislawski. There follows an introduction by Christer Bergström as well as one by Vladislav Antipov, the authors.
Then follows the main text, nicely divided into smaller chapters. Then there are about thirty pages of appendices, covering confirmed victories, photos and some extremely well-done color profiles from Claes Sundin - who needs no introduction here.
Among the interesting chapters are ones such as "Mölders, Udet and Rall are Gone", "The Two Hundredth Over Stalingrad", "JG 50" and "Hub Zemke's Lucky Shot". Couldn't resist and read that last one.
The book itself is well made. The 312 pages are heavy, glossy stock, and feel nice under the fingers. The type set is nice and clear and easily readable. There are many many photos - most of which I have never seen before. There is even a black-white-red-white-black striped ribbon attached for a bookmark.
At first look, I already know that I will not at all be disappointed in this book - and I am expecting a lot from it. It is perfectly in line with Eagle Editions other first-rate offering: Axel Urbanke's "Green Hearts, First In Combat With The Dora" - well made, extremely well presented; A great read. I still pick that one up quite frequently.
Based on what I have seen so far, this
one is a must-have guys and gals. Get it, or get it on your Christmas lists.
More by Christer Bergström -
the detailed history of the air war on the Eastern Front 1941 - 1945: