Alex M. Spencer earned his PhD in modern European history from Auburn University. His research focuses on British and Commonwealth military aviation during the twentieth century. He curates two collections at the National Air and Space Museum: British and European military aircraft and flight materiel. Together they include the Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane, de Havilland Mosquito, Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Me 262, Heinkel He 219, Arado Ar 234, and over sixteen thousand artifacts of personal items, including uniforms, flight clothing, memorabilia, ribbons, and medals. Spencer was the coeditor of Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: An Autobiography.
"One of the keys to understanding British air power in the Second World War is discovering what happened in the interwar period. Alex Spencer, in an intriguing and compelling work, examines imperial relations between Britain and its Pacific Dominions of Australia and New Zealand. Utilising extensive archival material, Spencer traverses the immediate First World War, the doldrums of the 1920s and the tumultuous years leading up to the war with Germany and Japan. For the first time, we now have an illuminating history and analysis of the direction and demands of air power policy and initiatives linking London to Canberra to Wellington. Eminently readable and informative."