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Phillip W. Stewart

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Publisher:  pms press ISBN-10:  0979324378 Type: 


Copyright:  August 2010 ISBN-13:  9780979324376

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A Researcher's Guide to the Aviation Related Stories Released Nationally by Universal Pictures, 1929-1931.

Film-sleuth Phillip W. Stewart is at it again!  After four years of digging, probing, and analyzing the evidence he has created a book with the long but very descriptive title of AERIAL ACES OF THE UNIVERSAL NEWSREEL: A Researcher's Guide to the Aviation Related Stories Released Nationally by Universal Pictures, 1929-1931.  This “detective of celluloid” discloses the title and description of 219 aviation-related stories produced during the first three years of what was known then as the "Universal Newspaper Newsreel."  This is a well-researched landmark work for anyone with an interest in the Golden Age of Aviation.  There is nothing like it on the market.

The historic aviation newsreels featured in this book are distinctively formatted for easy reading and are chronologically listed in release order.  Each title has a storyline based on the unique Universal Newsreel synopsis sheets, a description the filmed action, the words from the original narration script, and concludes with production or historical notes.  The stories are also identified by title, reel number, event date, location, and length.  All 219 titles were cross-referenced by the author against various National Archive inventories and only those that are known to currently exist are list and available for your viewing pleasure.  


One of the discoveries made by Mr. Stewart during his research for Aerial Aces was the black and white publicity photographs of many of these stories--60 of them are featured in the book.  These photos were usually shot by Universal Newspaper Newsreel movie cameramen just before or after they filmed the story.  To the best of his knowledge, the photos have not seen the light of day since they were used to publicize individual stories eight decades ago.


Aerial Aces is the fourth book in Mr. Stewart’s The Historic Footage Project. Previous titles in this series include -- Battlefilm: U.S. Army Signal Corps Motion Pictures of the Great War; War Wings: Films of the First Air War; and America's Film Vault: A Reference Guide to the Motion Pictures Held by the U.S. National Archives.  More information is available at the author's website,  All of the author’s books are available from

It’s one thing to read about, or see a photograph of, a flyer, an airplane, or event in aviation.  But to see these historic moments with the element of motion, as it actually happened, is enlightening, instructive, and often rather dramatic.  Aerial Aces of the Universal Newsreel is truly a visual reference time machine and well worth adding to your aviation research toolbox.  


The ultimate goal of Aerial Aces is to lift the veil of mystery surrounding these historic film treasures and to provide a guide to finding them. So, if you're ready to investigate the moving newsreel images of aviation's Golden Age at America 's film vault, you need a guide--and this is it! 

Professional Reviews

Walter J. Boyne, Historian and National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinee.
"Aerial Aces of the Universal Newsreel is an absolutely invaluable contribution to aviation history for which authors, historians and media producers will be grateful for years to come. Phil has, with his customary loving care, unlocked a gold mine of information with his usual succinct precision. No serious aviation historian can do without this book."

Military Writer's Society of America
Author Phillip Stewart gifts aviation buffs with a book that could cut through years of research for those seeking out rare motion picture footage of aircraft from 1929-1931. His book "Aerial Aces of the Universal Newsreel: A Researcher's Guide to the Aviation Related Stories Released Nationally by Universal Pictures 1929-1931" catalogs for us more than just history through newsreels - he manages to capture the essence of that time and its people. Although the book will appeal to only a very small segment of potential readers, it will prove to be indispensable for historians and writers and those who are looking for film footage of aviation's golden years. The book also reproduces many great old photos of which few or any have been seen publicly in the last 8 decades. Maybe it is because I am an aviation buff or am someone who actually loves old newsreels - but this book was actually more fun to read then I had expected. It takes you on an emotional journey as your imagination kicks in with mental images that the words present. This book is a wonderful tool for researchers now and in the future. It needed to be written - it is an important asset. I am grateful that people like Phillip Stewart have given this so much of their own time to do this kind of work. There is certainly little to no money for these kinds of books - they have to be written as an act of love for history.

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