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Mission with LeMay: My Story Hardcover – 1965


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 581 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday & Company; 1st edition (1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1299067786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1299067783
  • ASIN: B0006BN17W
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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This is a surprisingly well written book, considering it is a military memoir.
Ted Morris
LeMay was always controversial, but his direction built SAC into one of the most effective military organizations of his time.
Warren
As a request from my hubby for christmas I purchased the book for him as a gift.
DKS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ted Morris on December 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
LeMay is the most important figure in 20th Century warfare. He transformed warfare from a suface conflict between armies and navies slugging it out toe to toe into a three-dimensional conflict in which air forces of incredible power could appear anywhere on the face of the earth and determine the fate of nations, ideologies, and millions of people.

This is a surprisingly well written book, considering it is a military memoir. The brilliant McKinley Kantor was the ghost writer, and you can tell when Kantor takes the typewriter to himself as the story smooths out and becomes hypnotic. But the majority of the work is in LeMay's voice, and it is raw and gripping as you come to terms with firebombing cities and killing millions. At times, the book dries out as LeMay gets into the minutia of building a modern Air Force during the 1950s and early 1960s. But everything in this book builds upon the theme of the work, something that could be call the "LeMay Doctrine" - that when it comes time to fight, hit them with everything you've got and get the damned thing over with. Even the tediousness of Wherry and Capehart Housing Bills in congress suddenly become important to the story, and seem to fit somehow.

This is a memoir, but at the time it was written it proved the saying "history is written by the winners". In just 20 years, LeMay had taken a good air force and made it invincible. Like it or not, in the days before ICBMs, the ability of the USAF to penetrate any defence and nuke any opponent back to the stone age (something LeMay claims he never said) was the only thing that kept America from being attacked. LeMay's book explains the ruthlessness required to make not just that transformation, but instill that willingness to kill millions without remorse.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Warren on March 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I was growing up in the 1950's the name of Curtis E. LeMay was always one that interested me. General LeMay, for about a decade, was synonymous with Strategic Air Command, the iron fist of the United States Air Force and the vanguard of the United States Department of Defense strategic forces. LeMay was always controversial, but his direction built SAC into one of the most effective military organizations of his time.

This book, written in a personal style, gives the best insights I have ever had of General LeMay, who began his career as a National Guardsman, was accepted for flight training and flew early fighters, and finished his career as Air Force Chief of Staff. After reading it I feel I know this man far better than I ever thought possible.

Somewhere, years ago, I read a statement that many Air Force people serve alone--fighter pilots, gunners on bombers, etc., and that a leader who can be self-sufficient is an ideal Air Force leader. During my years of active and reserve service with the Air Force I found that this service centers on people and teamwork far more than this simple statement would suggest. LeMay's hand in creating hobby shops, improving food service, and inspiring better morale was essential to the Air Force.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mastermindquiet on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
LeMay's autobiography is a surprisingly readable book, considering how often autobiographies tend to lean towards endless philosophizing and finger-pointing at peers and contemporaries. LeMay, for those who are not familiar with him, is one of those larger than life characters who not only made a significant impact on the course of WW2, but for the next twenty years was a major factor in shaping not only the United States Air Force but also American foreign policy through his development of the Strategic Air Combat and the commitment to around the clock alert status for the nuclear armed aircraft under his command.

He was a member of the United States Army Air Corps during the 1930s and participated in some of the most significant events of the Corp during that time, such as the "bombing" of the USN battleship Utah and the locating of the liner Rex 800 miles off the coast of the USA, demonstrating the ability of the Army Air Corps to act as a strategic arm. He describes these activities, as well as his later WW2 and post war roles, rather well (you can read the Wiki link for LeMay for more info, it's really rather impressive).

LeMay's style as a first person writer (the contributions of Kator versus LeMay are not defined) is fairly readable, although there is a definite sense of someone who knows he is right telling the story. Towards the end of the book he does lose his talent for telling a story and instead indulges himself in political diatribes, so many may just want to skip the last part of the book.

Recommended to anyone who would like a very "I was there" view of some of the most critical command decisions of WW2 and the early Cold War.
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By W. Theobald on June 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My old boss (steely eyed missile man) in his own words.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent autobiography of a famous general during the Second World War. He is an excellent storyteller, and you will laugh one minute and have tears the next.
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