AIR FORCE SPOKEN HERE"": General Ira Eaker and The Command of the Air by James Parton

AIR FORCE SPOKEN HERE"": General Ira Eaker and The Command of the Air

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A biography of a pioneer in military aviation. Eaker is most famous for building the American Eighth Air Force in WW IFs early days and for insisting on bombing Germany in daylight, a decision of considerable importance. After he retired as a three-star general, Eaker wrote a syndicated newspaper column and worked for Howard Hughes. Parton was Eaker's aide for several years and in the war's later stages was chief historian of the air war in the Mediterranean. He remained a good friend of Eaker's for the rest of the general's life. Parton's attitude toward his subject is uncritical, and there is hardly any worthwhile analysis of Eaker's personality or what drove him to his many achievements. As an admirer, Parton recites career success after success, with only an occasional, mild and temporary setback. The reader is left with the impression that Parton never knew who his subject was, as distinct from what he was. Parton, in fact, has written a history of military aviation rather than a biography. As in most official writing, his prose is flat and unemotional. It is un-fortunate for the reader that official military histories are to history as military music is to music. Even as a historian, Parton lacks judgment as to what is history and what is not. The hook has much irrelevant detail, e.g., the hands each player held in a poker game in wartime London and who won the pot. We learn that Mrs. Eaker once sold her Cadillac and bought a Buick. Eaker was a fascinating man who was at the center of many of the great events in aviation and in WW II. He seems worthy of a real biography. Here he is only a cardboard figure.

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 1986
Publisher: Adler & Adler--dist. by Harper & Row