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August 2, 2013

The Noorduyn Norseman

Our readers respond to new Norseman book

Here are a few Norseman Vol.1 tidbits. If in the UK, you can pick up your copy of Vol.1 at The Aviation Bookshop in Tunbridge Wells. For the EuroZone, get your copy at the Aviation Megastore in Amsterdam. These shops also carry most other CANAV titles.

Some of our readers have already been checking in, having by now taken a serious look at Noorduyn Norseman (Vol.1). As usual, there is some pretty hard- hitting stuff bubbling up. Len Halloran from New Brunswick who, with his Eskimo companion, Irkotte, saved pilot Wiggo Norwang and his three passengers following their horrendous Norseman crash on the tundra on January 31, 1958, admits that he really isn't really all that interested in aviation. However, on going through his copy, Len's key phrase about it all is “out of this world”. “You sure put a book together, my friend,” is how he finishes.

Dennis Spragg, who curates the Glenn Miller Archive at the University of Colorado Boulder, also is delighted with his copy: “Your package arrived in the mail this morning safe and sound. It has perked up an otherwise dreary and wet day! I have gone straight to the AAF section and am pleased to see many of the photos that I, also, have gathered. Terrific! More importantly, I am very humbled to see your iteration of the AAF service issues … Your honest and clear description is aligned perfectly with my independent study of the AAF files, particularly the VIII AF Service Command where 44-70285 served [that was the Norseman in which Glenn Miller disappeared]. This has made me feel vindicated in my admiration for the aircraft. There were problems to be sure if the plane was mishandled by a pilot not paying attention to the manual or the updated pilot's information… It is very heartening to realize that there are others who are into the details of the Noorduyn Norseman. Thank you so much.”

From Roger Lindsay (one of the UK's leading aviation history researchers, writers and publishers) come these comments: “I haven't yet gone very far into the content of Vol.1, but it's clearly a fascinating subject. Bob Noorduyn's background was entirely new to me. I didn't know he came to the UK to work with Sopwith and Armstrong Whitworth. It's good that you have done him and his achievements justice in this highly meticulous CANAV treatment. Also, what a lovely selection of well-produced old photos that really recreate an atmosphere of the Norseman era.”

Bryan in BC writes:

Magnificent, Larry … your books get better and better!

Mo in Ontario concludes:

An airplane I always wanted to fly, Larry. Looks like another great read. I don't know how you do it, but keep going!

Bill in Ontario, who flew RCAF Norsemans in the Arctic in the 1940s adds:

Another victory for you, Larry – well done again!

Steinar's view from Norway?

I have been looking very much forward to your Norseman book. You publish the best aviation history books available!

From Jim in California, whose recent order included the Norseman, the word is even more effusive:

Man oh man, the books came yesterday. Wow, is all I can say! Not since my teens, when I bought mail order from Beachcomber Books in the great northwest, have a gotten a more exciting book shipment. Methinks that American ‘airplane nuts’ are doing themselves a great disservice if not frequenting CanAv books.

Ellis in Ontario, who grew up around Norsemans, then flew Beavers, etc., passes on his opinion:

Great job! Love the Norseman book. Names and places bring back a lot of nostalgia, as well as the very real exposure to one of the fine creations of Canadian engineering.

In reading the story on p.201-3 of how Gold Belt Air Service Norseman CF-BSG went down in the Quebec bush, Con in Quebec came up with a teeny bit of very local history, but it fits right in! (Gold Belt also had Norseman's CF-BSE and CF-PAA):

My parents worked for Gold Belt Air Service, running the base at Bachelor Lake, Quebec. “PAA” and “BSE” were the names of their dogs, while their cat was “Roger Roger.” “BSE” was killed by wolves, “PAA” by a bear.

These are my kind of hardcore “analysts”. Most of them can boast of distinguished aviation careers. Each knows and love airplanes and aviation books. Most, if not all, had parents who fostered that essential passion in their children – never be without a book. These aviation bibliophiles get the big picture, know what is required to produce a great book, and deeply understand and appreciate: 1) hard work 2) the synchronicity of historical research, writing and publishing. “Nitpicking” is not in their vocabulary – they get the big picture.

However … there also are some oddballs. No matter what you publish, they will go after it in their own passionate way. One poor sod recently was fuming to CANAV about what kind of moron (me) would waste his life writing about the world's crappiest bushplane – the Norseman! Well, we do need a bit of comic relief once in a while, right. Another fellow considers anything written about the Norseman in the RCAF to be a waste of paper and ink. I'd like to see his definition of what constitutes a well-rounded history of whichever airplane. Just leave out entire swathes of history? Duh!

Thanks, good readers – I couldn't do it without your fabulous support. Any other comments, feel free to send them our way! FYI, Norseman Vol.2 should be at the printer in 5-6 weeks. I'll keep y'all informed. Have a great summer!

Larry Milberry, Publisher

May 13, 2013

CANAV's Spring-Summer 2013 Booklist

Here is CANAV's Spring-Summer 2013 Booklist. Note that previous booklists are obsolete. However, if you find any titles on earlier lists that are not presently mentioned, let me know. I may still have a copy.

Have a look at canavbooks.wordpress.com for the latest news from CANAV, including the briefing for our upcoming book about the Noorduyn Norseman.

Larry Milberry, Publisher

October 5, 2011

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Thirty Years and Still Ticking … CANAV Books introduces Aviation in Canada: Bombing and Coastal Operations

Here it is … CANAV's 30th anniversary title! Yes, in spite of battling up hill since 1981, CANAV is still in business! How tough has it been? Well, if you checked the membership list of the 1981 Canadian Book Publishers Association and compared it with today's list, you won't find many of the 1981 members listed. From the mightiest to the smallest, they have fallen by the wayside, most recently Key Porter – one of those jet-setting, grant-groveling publishers that back in the day wouldn't have given the likes of CANAV the time of day. Well, Key Porter and all the rest of you who are gone … from my humble pew all I can say is, "How sweet it is!" Yes, it's been a tough 30 years, but the CANAV recipe of producing top quality books at the lowest possible prices still seems to be working, even if "barely" is the operative word.

Aviation in Canada: Bombing and Coastal Operations continues where Evolution of an Air Force ends, covering two major themes in the overseas side of the RCAF at war. If you have enjoyed other Bomber Command and Coastal Command books, this beautifully-produced title will be welcomed on your bookshelf.

Here in a new light is all the action with "the bomber boys" fighting and dying every night, whether in Wellingtons or Whitleys, Halifaxes, Stirlings or Lancasters. The same goes for coastal operations as the U-boat and anti-surface vessel wars rage with Ansons, Beauforts, Hudsons, Catalinas, Wellingtons, Whitleys, Liberators, Sunderlands, etc., also all the details about the men and machines battling from Berlin down through the Middle East and out to India-Burma. Tales of incredible deeds and sacrifice. Includes a detailed section covers personal wartime correspondence.

The first readers' comments about Bombing and Coastal Operations are already coming in from those receiving early copies. The first review comes from one of my sterner critics, Hugh A. Halliday, a historian and noted author retired from the Canadian War Museum and a frequent, much appreciated CANAV collaborator.

Hugh has posted these comments on the busy internet forum rafcommands. He comments (seemingly) favourably about the book's "anecdotes and insights from documents, personal recollections, contemporary letters and the contents of trunks and scrapbooks." Writing about my coverage of Laird Jenning's unique wartime career, Hugh finds that certain excerpts "make amusing and provocative reading, and some pointed remarks have relevance today". Then he generalizes how "There is plenty of drama, heroism and tragedy here (the reports of 'sole survivors' of downed bombers are striking). Larry does not skimp on indexes, paper quality, photo captions and clarity of reproduction." To get anything vaguely resembling a compliment from Hugh is a fair miracle at CANAV, so I'm cashing in on his "review"!

Also commenting in advance of our official book launch (October 8), RCAF history aficionado and aviation bibliophile, Ian Macdonald, observes, "Your new format with much larger pictures really is excellent – a wonderful addition to Canadian history." And, as the reviewers often say about any CANAV title, "The pictures alone are worth the price of admission."

So it's time for you to get in on this wonderful new book – order today by cheque or PayPal! ISBN 978-0-921022-40-4. 272 pages, large format, hardcover, bibliography, glossary, index, 550 photos, $50.00 A

September 26, 2011

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Canada's Centennial of Flight has come and gone, but CANAV's 100th anniversary heritage series continues. Vol.1 Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades, and Vol.2 Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years have been welcomed by those who know top-notch Canadian history books – make sure you have both on your bookshelf.

Now – here comes Vol.3 Aviation in Canada: Evolution of an Air Force (info, booklist) – the first book in the "popular" genre dedicated to the CAF/RCAF beginnings 1919-39, then the RCAF on the home front 1939-45. You'll be amazed at ACEAF's in-depth coverage. The text is extensive and authoritative, and the content original. Same goes for the nearly 800 photos of everything from the Avro 504 & HS-2L of post-WWI days to the Bellanca, Fairchild & Vedette of the RCAF bush era. As the RCAF matures, it adds its first combat types. These are well featured – from Atlas and Siskin to Wapiti, Shark, Delta, Stranraer, Hurricane, etc. Early Arctic expeditions are described from 1922 on Baffin Island, to the Hudson Strait Expedition, Ferry Command proving flights, and RCAF support for the first modern-day Arctic survey expeditions 1943-45. Talk about full coverage and all Cadillac style.

ACEAF's gives all the essential coverage of the home front 1939-45. A vast chapter covers the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan – Canada's premier contribution to the war effort at home (2010 is "The Plan's" 70th anniversary). This huge chapter includes profiles of aircrew trainees & instructors, supported by wonderful photos. If you had anything to do with the BCATP, you must have this book! Busy home front squadrons are featured in Ch.5, whether tracking & sinking U-boats, patrolling from Newfoundland in Hurricanes, defending the West Coast with Kittyhawks from Tofino to Annette Island and the Aleutians. Other units knit all this together with air transport and rescue services. All this will bowl over anyone with a love for RCAF heritage. Here is a book to absolutely delight any genuine supporter of the RCAF's great heritage.

Our first reviewer's comments for ACEAF come, not surprisingly, from Mike Filey in the Sunday Sun of September 13 (airshow weekend in Toronto). Mike always picks some solid new Canadian title – he has a good sense of what the average interested reader enjoys. Here's what Mike says about ACEAF: Fans of the International Air Show, and aviation buffs in general, will find the newest book in Larry Milberry's Aviation in Canada series fascinating reading. Titled Evolution of an Air Force this profusely illustrated hardcover volume records the history of the Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force (the "Royal" preface added in 1924) during the two world wars as well as the part the RCAF played on the "home front" during the uneasy and frequently disheartening 1939-1945 era.

Vol.4 Aviation in Canada: The RCAF Overseas 1939-1945 is shaping up for publication in 2011. Meanwhile, besides Aviation in Canada, be sure to have your set of Canada's Air Force at War and Peace Vols 1, 2 and 3 – more than 1000 pages of RCAF history that no true fan of our great RCAF heritage should be without. Other superb titles to double check: Canada's Air Forces on Exchange, De Havilland in Canada, De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk, A Formidable Hero, Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy, Words of Valediction and Remembrance, Destruction of a Dream, Grumman Mallard and Spartan. And lest we forget – do you have your set of Air Transport in Canada, the grandest ever Canadian aviation history title – 1030 pages and more than 3000 photos. All these fine books make ideal gifts – for friends, family (any keen young person will be inspired by something like Pioneer Decades), employees, retirees, customers, suppliers & there's nothing stopping you from donating some of these titles to your public or school library. What a clever way to spread the good word instead of just complaining that nobody's doing anything for our aviation heritage!

All the best!

Larry Milberry, Publisher

March 18, 2010

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CANAV Books introduces Spartan: Seven Letters that Spanned the Globe

Long associated with Spartan Air Services of Ottawa, Norm Avery has completed a fine opus covering in detail the story of this world-famous aerial survey company. From Spartan's 1946 originators – Russ Hall, John Roberts and Joe Kohut, backed by Barnet Maclaren – Norm describes now the company got its first work using Ansons, then quickly began expanding.

The fleet soon was booming with such types as the Dragon Rapide, Sea Hornet, P-38 Lightning, Mosquito, Ventura and Lancaster as photo mapping work came in involving the company across the Arctic and elsewhere in Canada, then internationally throughout the Eastern Hemisphere etc.

Spartan expands into helicopters first with Bell 47s, then Piasecki H-21s on Mid Canada Line duties. It also establishes a heavy transport division operating Yorks on the DEW Line. Norm describes all the excitement of these days, several of the company's infamous accidents included – Mosquitos, Lightnings, Yorks and other types all come to grief from the Arctic to the tropics.

Spartan: Seven Letters ends with the demise of the company in 1972. This is a book certain to enlighten and entertain any aviation reader for years to come. 170 pages, softcover, photos. Canadian orders Cdn$33.60 ($24.00 + $8.00 postage + $1.60 GST). US and overseas Cdn$35.00 postpaid.

Any cheque or money order paid on any Canadian or US bank. Mail your order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, ON M4E 3B6.

If using PayPal, contact larry@canavbooks.com for a PayPal invoice.

January 17, 2010

The following review of Aviation in Canada: the Pioneer Decades appeared in the January 2010 issue of the Royal Aeronautical Society's publication The Aerospace Professional.

Review of Aviation in Canada: the Pioneer Decades in The Aerospace Professional

December 17, 2009

Read on for a great review of Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years that appears in the January, 2010, issue of Aviation News!

Aviation Magazine, January 2010 review of Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years
Aviation Magazine, January 2010 review of Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years

December 15, 2009

If Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades is "a rather curious book", as Aeroplane Monthly "reviewer" Philip Jarrett proclaims in AM December 2009, his own effort certainly amounts to "a rather curious book review".

To begin, PJ boils down the entire book to being nothing more than "a vehicle" (yuk) for my views "on pioneer priorities", apparently an attack on the Wright brothers, and some bogus sort of case regarding Gustave Whitehead. His first claim is close enough, the others childish, especially as the Wright-Whitehead mention takes 1/2 of one page in a book of 176 pages. What gets into a fellow's head, one wonders! Right off the top, he's wandered away and is no longer a book reviewer. Just not a thing otherwise to fill in his day, I guess.

A "rather" stupid comment from PJ is that the entire book "leans heavily on the researches and writings of previous chroniclers". Hog wash. The record of CANAV Books is nothing if not about originality. It has published 30 titles, all of which have been praised since 1981 for (of all things, PJ) originality. Many of our titles were the first to cover their subjects: The Avro CF-100, The Canadair North Star, Woody:A Fighter Pilot's Album, The De Havilland Canada Story, Canada's Air Forces on Exchange, etc., so from whom would CANAV have been filching info regarding those books?

Meanwhile, one wonders where PJ obtained the information for his books The Colour Encyclopedia of Incredible Aeroplanes and Leading Edge Technology Since 1945. Guaranteed … 99% of his info was filched from "the researches and writings of previous chroniclers". Had to have been! So judge not, old boy, lest ye also be judged. (One hopes that PJ's filching rate was less for his biography of Percy Pilcher.)

It's the CANAV style to deal with new subject matter using original sources; or with well-known general topics giving fresh insights derived from solid sources not previously used in any book. Failing all else, for a very general book such as ACPD, the object is to provide accurate information in an enjoyable-to-read, good-looking format, making sure to credit sources as per the bibliography, photo credits, etc. The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945 or Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story are other typical such CANAV titles – old topics newly treated from start to finish. Being absolutely world-class books, each, naturally, was widely acclaimed internationally. Anyone familiar with the aviation press knows this. For PJ (who appears never before to have heard of CANAV or me) to make such a criticism is ignorant and suggests a lack of historical empathy. And how poor for a fellow to make blanket criticisms without giving clear, irrefutable examples. Talk about a lack of professionalism.

PJ also might consider that ACPD was created as an unpretentious, general, little Canadian aviation history. It's for the enjoyment of children, young adults and any ordinary grown-ups who have a simple curiosity about aviation history. How could a reviewer not see that from Page 1? Where in the Preface do I claim that this book is for the PJs of this world or his cronies, whom he alludes to as "hardcore" enthusiasts. PJ reviews a book considering himself "hardcore", so why did he chose an obviously non-hardcore book upon which to pour his sarcasm, bile and innuendo? Why not review Dick and Jane next? One also might wonder about how the editor at AM went along with this goofy "review", elevating it to "Book of the Month" status. Can you believe that! Surely there must have been some decent book to review for the edification of AM's first-class supporters? Why waste ink, Mr. Editor? It can't have been that slow a month, that some simple little book from the colonies required an air strike to liven things up.

PJ roars about ACPD including colour photos of airplanes he disapproves of, and of having insufficient treatment of Billy Bishop. Doesn't he know that all the Bishop books have been written? That controversy went on for 40 solid years, but it is dead and buried now. PJ/AM are the only ones in aviation who don't seem to realize this. Space in ACPD is much better used getting something new into print (such as some nice photos of the marvellous WWI flying replicas at the Great War Flying Museum).

Oh well, since 1981 CANAV has never had a negative book review from any of the world's great (or not so great) journals and magazines. Never until Aeroplane Monthly of December 2009. Meanwhile, ACPD has been beautifully reviewed across Canada and the world (by a bunch of nincompoops, PJ likely will say). AM, coming in about a year late, is the sole dissenter. Well, failing all else AM certainly now has book review "attack dog" status. Parting suggestion … before he gets into his next book, perhaps PJ might try a strong laxative. Might improve his disposition and the quality of reading material in that otherwise ace of a read – Aeroplane Monthly.

October 3, 2009

Check out this great new book in the Booklist.

Surviving Victory

September 29, 2009

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Introducing Canadian Aircraft of WWII, By Carl Vincent

Here is Vol.1 of a new series from AviaDossier and you'll really be wanting this book.

At 72 pages, softcover, large format, Canadian Aircraft of WWII (AviaDossier I) features an eclectic selection of 19 RCAF WWII types from the Blackburn Shark to the Bolingbroke, Delta, Hudson, Kittyhawk, Lysander, Mustang, Stranraer and Sunderland. Each chapter is rich in photos, colour profiles and the written word. Modelers will especially appreciate this handsome production.

All this comes great material comes from the renowned Carl Vincent, the Canadian pioneer in publishing major aviation profiles – his 1970s era books on the Shark and Liberator/Flying Fortress in RCAF service, which have been sought-after collectors items for decades. Carl's publisher, Terry Higgins, has produced the beautifully complementary colour profiles.

Get your hands on this beauty and you'll be chaffing at the bit for Vol.2, whenever it appears. Specs: 72 pages, biblio, glossary, appendix & index. Regularly $29.95, CANAV's mailorder price (Canada only, others enquire by email): $25.00 + $9.00 post + GST = $35.70. You can order by PayPal -- just email us at larry@canavbooks.com and we'll make that happen for you via a PayPal invoice.

September 21, 2009

PayPal Option

Should you wish to order using PayPal, drop an email to Larry. We'll email back with a PayPal invoice showing the cost of your order, shipping included.