Book: So, I bought an air force

Nicaraguan Mustangs
A pair of ex-Nicaraguan Air Force P-51D Mustangs, photographed at Veracruz, Mexico, while en route back to the U.S. (Photo: W.W. Martin.)

I am at odds to describe my opinion, because any book that deals with Latin American aviation is a welcome addition to our libraries and personal collections. But… (yes, there is a but…)

The book “So, I Bought an Air Force” by W.W. Martin is interesting as an insight into -if nothing else- the corruption of the Somoza regime, the author’s opinion on the ineptitude and corruption of Nicaraguan Air Force -FAN- personnel -both officers and mechanics- and gives us a little peek into life at the time in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It also dwells into the human being’s dishonesty, and we see through its pages, that there are many Latinoamericanos that are corrupt, but so are many Norteamericanos.

The main issues that I have, as an amateur aero-historian, are mostly related to the lack of hard historical data: Dates are very general and aircraft serials and registrations are non-existent. Those two are my peeves for this book.

I liked the images, great quality, many never seen at least by yours truly before now.

Still, I would recommend this book as a very interesting read, although not a data source for the scale modeller or the aero-historian. It does not bring us that “ah!” moment, when we are finally able to complete that missing piece of data, or pin a serial number, or a specific paint scheme.

But there is a lot of information still, descriptions of daily life in Nicaragua, people’s behavior: basicalle, a glimpse into the life back then.

From my e-mail exchanges with the author, I offer this excerpt:

Dear Mr. Martin,

One of the most important aspects of any historical research, is the personal point of view.  History comes alive when someone who was there describes what it was like, how people behaved, how they dressed, what they did.

This, in my personal opinion, adds the human perspective to history rather than the author’s dry recounting of events, dates and actors when he was not even present when the events took place.
This is why I find your book to be a valuable addition to my library.

We all “know” how bad things were during the Somoza regimes, but… do we really?  Your insight makes it better understood.

Book Cover
Book Cover

Book Details

Title: So, I Bought An Air Force – The True Story of a Gritty midwesterner in Somoza’s Nicaragua
Author: W.W. Martin
Date of publication: 2013
Printed by: Two Harbor Press
ISBN: 978-1-938690-36-5
Structure: Prologue and 31 chapters, plus index; 259 pages, 59 photographs, both B&W and color.

Copies of this book can be purchased from Amazon at very affordable price. Click here to get yours. Also, you can check the book’s website here.


Join the Conversation


    1. says: LAAHS Editor

      Hello Martin! Yes, it seems that only used copies are available. Amazon shows at least two at US$30.00 each. The other option is to contact the author’s daughter via their website.


  1. says: TS

    The review that I wrote on Mr. Martin’s book, was first published over 10 years ago, and not June 2023.

    I am sure more data and facts have surfaced during the last ten years, but I am not up to date on them.


    08 July 2023

  2. says: Carlos Rocha

    What Mr, Martin describe in hes book is not true, the airplanes where in wood condition of flight, he got a bunch of wana be pilos ferrying the planes and about the corruption He don’t no General somoza, He is just repeating what the media was talking about Somoza, we have Clinton, Carter, Biden ther are corrupt and the media cover it up but the 3rd word countries are full of corrupt people.

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