Updated edition to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. It is difficult to overestimate the excitement that accompanied the birth of the Spitfire. An aircraft imbued with balletic grace and extraordinary versatility, it was powered by a piston engine and a propeller, yet came tantalisingly close to breaking the sound barrier. First flown in 1936, the Spitfire soon came to symbolize Britain’s defiance of Nazi Germany in the summer of 1940. Spitfire: The Biography is a celebration of a great British invention, of the men and women who flew it and supported its development, and of the industry that manufactured both the aircraft and the Rolls-Royce engines that powered it. It is also about the ways in which the sight, sound and fury of this lithe and legendary fighter continue to stir the public imagination worldwide more than eighty years on.