THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE: A Turbulent History by

THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE: A Turbulent History

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

An enthusiastic narrative of individual heroics and technological expansion in the US Air Force, beginning with Lt. Benjamin Foulois' one-man, one-plane aviation crew of 1909. Until FDR purged him, ostensibly in a dispute about mail transport, Foulois championed the concept of air power along with Billy Mitchell, whom he considered an unstable upstart. Lack of funding left the US with only a dozen B-17 long-range bombers when Hitler's Stukas leveled Warsaw in 1939; much of the book is devoted to WW II and the Army Air Corps' accomplishments in turning out not only planes but great numbers of skilled pilots. Mason, author of other military chronicles and an honorary Air Force pilot, outlines the debates over air power as troop support versus air power for heavy bombing, and then over whether heavy-bombing targets should be military and industrial or civilian. Terror raids like the ones against Hamburg and Dresden are viewed with dismay, although when it comes to Korea or Vietnam, Mason shows no qualms about carpet bombing, and complains that civilians in Washington kept the Air Force from doing all it could. A self-contained, conceptually unexciting account for general readers which ends with a call for ""staying power"" against ""the Communists.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Mason/Charter