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Book Review

Book Cover

Agents' Technical Manual
50th Anniversary Edition


Author: Sam Denham
Illustrator: Graham Bleathman
Publisher: Haynes
RRP: £12.99
ISBN: 978 0 85733 823 5
Publication Date: 03 September 2015

“International Rescue… if only I knew their secrets!” The Hood’s quest to learn all there is to know about the workings of the Thunderbird craft could finally be about to end – the secrets of the most cloak-and-dagger rescue organisation have finally been revealed thanks to the Thunderbirds: Agents' Technical Manual - 50th Anniversary Edition.

In truth this Haynes manual of technical cutaways has been available before, although for this reprint a few extra pages have been added, albeit not enough to justify buying it again if you have the previous edition.

That said, it is the show’s 50th anniversary and interest in International Rescue is now at a high so there will be plenty of people whose love of the show will have taken a boost and for them this book will be part of the fun of rediscovering the world of Thunderbirds.

What I like about the book is its unashamed nostalgia – it harks back to the 1960s Thunderbird annuals that carried cutaway diagrams of the Thunderbird craft.

There’s also an echo of The Eagle comic and the How and Why series of books that also used cutaway images to explain the operations of the mechanical marvels of the age.

Of course, the difference is that International Rescue’s vehicles and their workings are all derived from a fantasy world that exists just around the corner in an alternative universe. So while The Eagle’s exploded diagram of a Lightening aircraft was fun and factual back in 1965, seeing the workings of Thunderbird 2 in 2015 seems both clandestine and also a glimpse into an amazing future that might just be real after all. How could it not be now that the construction plans have been published?

Thunderbirds: Agents' Technical Manual - 50th Anniversary Edition is fun because it takes itself so seriously, and essential for fans of the show because it treats the technology behind the programme as exciting fact [which is something we’ve long suspect was the case anyway].

Brilliantly daft and absolutely essential in equal turns... buy this book now before The Hood gets his hands on a copy.


Anthony Clark

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