Synopses & Reviews
An epic up-to-the-minute history of the airplane in combat--the pilots, the strategists, the weaponry, and the high-tech battles they increasingly dominate. Within a decade of the Wright Brothers' historic flight at Kitty Hawk, pilots were dropping the first crude bombs out of airplanes in combat while visionaries were predicting that the crushing power of an aerial assault would end warfare as we knew it. Yet for much of the first century of flight the myth of the airplane's unstoppable power often surged far ahead of technological reality. It would take both brilliant new inventions and bold new thinking for air power to triumph at last--as it did with such devastating effect in the two Gulf wars. This sweeping history includes the latest inside details of air operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, where precision weapons and unmanned drones quickly determined the outcome of the fight against the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. Stephen Budiansky draws on combat memoirs, government archives, and museum collections to create a sobering and dramatic account of the air wars of the last hundred years. A story of ideas and men, of intricate machines and fierce passions, Air Power is an edge-of-the-seat drama of contemporary warfare and technology crafted by one of our most gifted writers.
"A truly fascinating and insightful perspective on the history of air power." —Norman R. Augustine, former chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation
"A splendid job." —The Wall Street Journal
With "Air Power," a gifted writer pens an epic up-to-the-minute history of the airplane in combat--the pilots, the strategists, the weaponry, and the high-tech battles they increasingly dominate.
No single human invention has transformed war more than the airplane—not even the atomic bomb. Even before the Wright Brothers’ first flight, predictions abounded of the devastating and terrible consequences this new invention would have as an engine of war. Soaring over the battlefield, the airplane became an unstoppable force that left no spot on earth safe from attack. Drawing on combat memoirs, letters, diaries, archival records, museum collections, and eyewitness accounts by the men who fought—and the men who developed the breakthrough inventions and concepts—acclaimed author Stephen Budiansky weaves a vivid and dramatic account of the airplane’s revolutionary transformation of modern warfare.
On the web: http://www.budiansky.com/
About the Author
Stephen Budiansky, journalist and military historian, is the author of nine books about history, science, and nature, including Air Power: The Men, Machines, and Ideas That Revolutionized War, from Kitty Hawk to Gulf War II. He publishes frequently in The New York Times and The Washington Post and currently serves as a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Kitty Hawk to Saint-Mihiel, 1900-1918
1. Visions 3
2. Bogeymen 32
3. Realities 55
4. Grand plans 90
Part 2: Versailles to Madrid, 1919-1939
5. Lessons learned and mislearned 125
6. The quest for precision 153
7. The fight for the fighter 184
Part 3: Warsaw to Nagasaki, 1939-1945
8 Finest hour 219
9 Air versus sea 255
10 The temporary triumph of tactical aviation 281
11 The allied bomber offensive 308
Part 4: Omaha to Baghdad, 1946-2003
12 Strategic air command 345
13 Hard knocks 376
14 Precision, at last 406