Now, a lot of Osprey books have been reprinted as many as twenty times over their lifetime, but most of the time these are quite simple reprints - not a lot changes in the book when it is reprinted. We tend to fix a few minor problems here and there within the text, but by and large the book is essentially the same. Because little changes, we do not consider these re-prints to be re-releases. They keep their usual ISBN and are not treated as new books.
But there is an Osprey book that has been released in six different editions. And is possibly due to be re-released in a seventh edition within the next couple of years. It is also quite possibly one of the most successful Osprey books of all time.
In itself, this book probably deserves an 'oddity' page all of its own, it barely fits into our remit, being part leftover of an early flirtation with commercial aircraft, part expansion into a more mainstream market.
And what is this mysterious book? Why none other than the fabulous The Concorde Story. Yep, not a book about fighter jets, or Roman soldiers. A book on the Concorde, as a domestic carrier. It might seem strange that we have re-released this book so many times, but the driving force behind it is the fabulous author of the book, Christopher Orlebar. Chris was actually a pilot of the Concorde, flying the famous London / New York route with British Airways. Because of his unrivaled experience with the Concorde he is in the perfect position to write such a book, and each time the book has been re-released he has added huge chunks of new information, from revealing new technical secrets, to relating more of his hilarious anecdotes about meeting huge celebrities onboard. He has written information about the tragic Concorde crash, and the subsequent grounding of the fleet. He added a chapter on the brief renaissance of supersonic flight, and its all-too-sudden disappearance. And he is now set to add one final chapter on the Concorde's final journey - the epic tale of how the Brooklands museum acquired a Concorde.
You may have gathered that I quite like this book. That is partly because I am in love with the Concorde. I remember, when I was a youngster growing up in Africa Concorde was scheduled for a one-off charter flight that was stopping over at our local airport. Tens of thousands of us turned up to watch it land, the roar of the engines silencing the crowd. Just thinking about it still sends shivers up my spine.
i also had the chance to meet up with Chris, and get a guided tour of the Concorde exhibit at Brooklands with him - which was fascinating, and quite easily the best day of 'work' I have ever had.
Here are a couple of pics of me checking out Concorde with Chris, and my colleagues Rufus and Sue!
And this is the most recent incarnation of The Concorde Story.
You may also be interested in reading the Shire book about the history of Brooklands - where the pics above were taken!