THE TIBBETS STORY by Paul W. with Clair Stebbins & Harry Franken Tibbets


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The story of Colonel Tibbets and the Enola Gay's A-bomb run over Hiroshima has been told, and filmed, many times and with far more thoroughness than he brings to this memoir. His present version is embedded in an autobiography that carries him from childhood to his current state as president of Executive Jet Aviation, an air-taxi company that first made its mark with Lear jets. His Midwestern childhood, years at military school and early years with the Army Air Corps in the mid-Thirties have a lively lift to them. Soon World War II begins and he becomes the outstanding bomber pilot for the first years, leading the first daylight raid on Hitler's Germany, ferrying such famed generals as Mark Clark and Eisenhower on secret missions, having a long, intimate friendship with Patton, opening up North Africa for bombing, falling into a lifelong spat with ""egotistical"" General Lauris Norstad who killed Tibbets' promotions, helping to test and develop the Super Fortress, and then being given charge of the 509th Bomber Squadron in its supersecret training in the Midwest and on Tinian to prepare it for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb missions. This is all quite readable but seldom intense. Only when Tibbets' help is thwarted during the later Bikini bomb tests does he realize that his Air Force career has been stunted by military politicians. He disposes of Major Claude Eatherly's various claims as ""the Hiroshima Pilot"" and gives his own defense of the atom-bombing of Japan. But this is more about the man than about the bomb, and it's strictly middleweight.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1978
Publisher: Stein & Day