This book contains a collection of aircraft cutaways which were published in several British aviation journals during World War II. The book offers a unique perspective because unlike most modern reproductions, the cutaways were drawn from real aircraft by artists visiting the factories. Some details on the cutaways have been omitted for contemporary security reasons.
Each aircraft takes up two pages -- a page of text where the author comments on history and personal experience with the aircraft in question as well as on the accuracy of the cutaways and the omitted details, and a full-page cutaway. The cutaways for some of the larger aircraft span two pages (mercifully, done as a fold-out so none of the detail is lost in the binding crease).
The text is well-written although I could stand less lamenting (justified as it may be) about the decline of British aviation industry. The cutaways themselves are hand-drawn and while they don't have hundreds of items labeled in the key, they do represent the pinnacle of this lost artform.
The book covers predominantly British aircraft, including some rather obscure contraptions. Covered are: Whitley III (twice, by two different artists), Lysander I, Oxford I, Blenheim I and IV, Spitfire I (plus a Spitfire V labeled as Spitfire I), Gladiator I, Anson I, Sunderland I, Hurricane I, Henley, Hampden I, Bombay I, Skua I, Ju 86, Bf 109E and F, He 111, Stirling I, Halifax I and III, Hs 126, Do 17, Bf 110, Ju 87, Do 217, Fw 190, Catalina I, Lancaster I, Me 210, Ju 88, Beaufighter IF, Airacobra I, Mosquito II, Auster IV, Firefly I, Mustang I, Miles Messenger, B-17G Flying Fortress, Tomahawk I, Battle I/III, Wellington II, Miles Master I, Albemarle I, York I, Typhoon IB, Barracuda II, P-38 Lightning, Hamilcar, and Tempest V.
The book also covers several aircraft engines: Bristol Hercules XVI (including a great illustration of the complex sleeve-valve mechanism), Bristol Pegasus X, Napier Dagger, Napier Sabre II, Rolls-Royce Merlin I and XX, Rolls-Royce Griffon, Bristol Centaurus, BMW 801, and Daimler-Benz DB 601.