A close look at the controversial command and strategies of the Air Force Chief of Staff, Curtis LeMay--a terrifying, complex, and brilliant general.
In World War II, LeMay ordered the firebombing of Tokyo and was in charge when Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was responsible for tens of thousands of civilian deaths--a fact he liked to celebrate by smoking Cuban cigars. But LeMay was also the man who single-handedly transformed the American air force from a ramshackle team of poorly trained and badly equipped pilots into one of the fiercest and most efficient weapons of the war. Over the last decades, most U.S. military missions were carried out entirely through the employment of the Air Force; this is part of LeMay's complicated legacy.
Packed with breathtaking battles in the air and inspiring leadership tactics on the ground, LeMay will keep readers on their edge of their seats.
Barrett Tillman is a professional author and speaker with more than 40 nonfiction books as well as novels to his credit. His first book, published in 1976, remains in print today as do most of his subsequent titles.
He holds seven awards for history and literature including the 1996 Tailhook Association Lifetime Achievement Award and third place in the US Naval Institute Prize in 2009. Tillman has appeared in more than a dozen documentaries including The History Channel's Dogfights.
“Mr. Tillman finds much to admire in LeMay, a general who led his own bomber missions and was more familiar with flying equipment than his own men.” —Carl Rollyson, The New York Sun
“[Tillman] retrieves some of the enduring lessons of leadership that can be learned from one of America's greatest airmen...[and] skillfully blends elements from LeMay's personal and professional lives with the historical, providing a remarkably nuanced appreciation for this greatest of bomber generals.” —Naval War College Review
“A good start for anyone unfamiliar with this most influential airman of World War II.” —Clayton Chun, WWII
“He was the nation's top bomber hero. Yet Curtis E. LeMay is often portrayed as one-dimensional--a gruff, cigar-chomping brute. The man who defined combat leadership in the European war, wielded the B-29 Superfortress against Japan, and shaped the postwar Strategic Air Command, was far more complex than his detractors claim. Barrett Tillman, one of America's top history writers, gives us an authentic feel for LeMay and for the way LeMay left his mark on the twentieth century.” —Robert F. Dorr, author of Air Combat and columnist for the Air Force Times
“A brilliant book! Barrett Tillman describes the true magnitude of LeMay's achievements, while rendering the first posthumous biography of a complex, controversial figure. Objective and beautifully written, this portrait of history's greatest air commander is an absolute must for every aviation or military historian and for anyone interested in leadership.” —Walter J. Boyne, author of Roaring Thunder and former Director, National Air & Space Museum
“Thorough, balanced, and insightful, Barrett Tillman's masterful biography of Curtis LeMay is a long-overdue and thought-provoking study, one certain to become a standard reference on the life and work of America's most famous and controversial combat bomber commander.” —Dr. Richard P. Hallion, Aviation Historian, author of Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age from Antiquity Through the First World War