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The Booker-shortlisted Royal Flying Corps classic, reissued for the 50th Anniversary of its first publication

With an Introduction by James Holland and an Afterword by Mike Petty

“Robinson is probably the best novelist ever to write about fighter combat: surprising, hyper-realistic and very, very dark” Spectator

World War One pilots were the knights of the sky, and the press and public idolised them as gallant young heroes.

At just twenty-three, Major Stanley Woolley is the old man and commanding officer of Goshawk Squadron. He abhors any notion of chivalry in the clouds and is determined to obliterate the decent, gentlemanly outlook of his young, public school-educated pilots – for their own good.

But as the war goes on he is forced to throw greener and greener pilots into the meat grinder. Goshawk Squadron finds its gallows humour and black camaraderie no defence against a Spandau bullet to the back of the head.

Reviews

Fit to sit on the same shelf as Waugh and Heller... Robinson's recreation of the exhausted savagery of 1918 is truly shocking... the descriptions of flying are brilliantly vertiginous; nobody puts you in the cockpit like Robinson.
Mike Petty, Slightly Foxed.
The most readable novel of the year . . . I laughed aloud, several times. And was, in the end, reduced to tears.
Nina Bawden
Goshawk Squadron has the authoritative ring of a little classic on the subject of war.
Claire Tomalin
A bleak and savage book, full of the terror of warfare and shot through with grim humour; a sort of First-World-War Catch-22.
Nicholas Lezard, Guardian.
Robinson has a narrative gift that sets up the hackles of involvement. A rare quality.
Paul Scott