If Leo McKinstry were a Hollywood biographer rather than a political journalist turned popular historian, Hurricane would be the equivalent of following up a biography of Marilyn Monroe with a life of Katharine Hepburn or Bette Davis.
McKinstry’s last book, Spitfire, told the story of the glamorous star of the Battle of Britain, the fighter plane whose curving, womanly lines seduced the men who flew her. In contrast, the Hurricane, the subject of this book, was the plain Jane of the RAF, the solid, largely wooden workhorse that nonetheless, as McKinstry’s superb volume convincingly proves, won the Battle of Britain and saved this country’s freedom.
In January 1934, a year after Hitler was appointed Germany’s Chancellor, Sydney Camm, the autocratic and brilliant chief designer of the Hawker Aircraft Company, then based at Kingston upon Thames, began serious work on an idea he had been mulling over. Camm, who had made his name designing