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The Pointblank Directive: Three Generals and the Untold Story of the Daring Plan that Saved D-Day (General Military) [Kindle Edition]

L Keeney
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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The Wars in Europe
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Book Description

Where was the Luftwaffe on D-Day? Historians have debated that question for six decades, but in 2010 a formerly classified World War II D-Day history was restored, and in it were a new set of answers. Pointblank is the result of extensive new research using that newly restored history to create a richly textured portrait of air power and leadership, and perhaps the last untold story of D-Day: Three uniquely talented men and why, on the single most important day to the survival of the Third Reich, the German Air Force was unable to mount a single effective combat mission against the invasion forces.

After a year of unremarkable bombing against Germany aircraft industry, and with just five months to go until D-Day, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, commander of the United States Army Air Forces placed his lifelong friend General Carl A. "Tooey" Spaatz in command of the strategic bombing forces in Europe and gave his protégé, General James "Jimmy" Doolittle command of the Eighth Air Force in England. For these fellow aviation pioneers and air war strategists, he had but one set of orders: Sweep the skies clean of the Luftwaffe by June 1944. Spaatz and Doolittle couldn't do that, but they could do what Arnold really wanted: Clear the skies sufficiently to gain air superiority over the D-Day beaches. The plan was called Pointblank. In Pointblank, L. Douglass Keeney carefully reconstructs the events in the air war that led up to D-Day while painting an in-depth portrait of the lives and times of these aviation pioneers.

Editorial Reviews


"A thoroughly satisfying read: informative and entertaining. What is always mind-boggling is the sacrifice made in any war. Pointblank Directive shows quite clearly what the airwar leading up to D-Day cost both sides of the conflict. More importantly, it fills a needed gap in knowledge of exactly how critical the proper air campaign can be in determining the ground conflict. Historians and students of World War II history alike will be well-served reading this book."
--Bernie Chowdhury, author of The Last Dive: A Father and Son's Fatal Descent into the Ocean's Depths (Harper)

About the Author

L. Douglas Keeney has been writing military non-fiction for sixteen years and is a well-known researcher among archivists where formerly classified documents repose. His work has been reviewed by Newsweek,, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. Keeney has appeared on The Discovery Channel, CBS, The Learning Channel, and The Military Channel (which he cofounded), and he has been interviewed by scores of radio stations and syndicates. He is presently the on-air host for On Target. Previously, Keeney worked for fifteen years in marketing and advertising in Los Angeles and New York with Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather, and internationally with a subsidiary of British-American Tobacco. He was nominated to the Institute for Advanced Advertising Studies (NYC) and was nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year by both the Graduate School of Business at the University of Southern California. Keeney has a BA in Economics from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business.

Product Details

  • File Size: 29190 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (December 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009U9S4YG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,738 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 88 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Emotional and not 100% Fact based January 16, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ordered this book for my IPad Kindle after seeing it advertized in The AirForce Times.
From the beginning, the Author made an excuse as to why he wouldn't be using certain "facts" but generalizations instead. Turns out, there were ALOT of generalizations, and many stories that were more emotions than facts.

The worse part is that whenever he would reference a certain item, the reference material is something that is today considered outdated.
A couple of examples-
He talks about "Heinkel" Fighter planes and German Airborne Bombing of formations.. yet there were no such fighters and the airborne bombings were a trail operation by the Luftwaffe.
Just one of the many items I found incorrect in the book.

If you know nothing about WW2 and the Air War over Europe, maybe you'll find this book enjoyable. If you have even the faintest knowledge, you will probably finish with some serious questions and scratching your head.
If you are an Aviation/Military History Buff, you will be disappointed.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rushed to Print February 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There was a fair amount of good information in this book. Although I suppose I was expecting to read about something I was not aware of, something that until now had not been common WWII historical knowledge; this was not the case. The author did however compile a lot of Allied and Axis air battle information. In this book the author tells the Pointblank Directive story in what seems to be a piecemeal format; plugging in air combat information and loosely tying it together with other information. The result being a lack of continuity, leaving the reader to try to smooth it all out. In several cases it seemed as though a given scenario were repeated verbatim as though it had not been mentioned earlier in the book! An apparent effort to represent it as though it were something new. The book was very poorly edited and appeared to have been rushed into print. I have never read a book with so many editing errors. Having said all of this, I still enjoyed the book but was much distracted by the poor editing.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right to the Point January 4, 2013
By Ted D.
A well explained description of the operational and tactical changes to the plan for the air war in Europe and their implementation by Spatz, Doolittle, Quesada and the pilots and crews of the VIII and IX Air Forces. Just when you think you've read everything about a topic and have an understanding of what happened along comes a book that makes you aware of what really happened and why. The author uses many personal examples of how the air war was fought by those pilots and crews. Except for the many typos, well written and an informative read.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
While perusing the Amazon website the other day quite by accident I happened upon a brand new book chronicling the planning and execution of the D-Day invasion. Although I am a huge history buff books about World War II and military history have never been of particular interest to me. Knowing precious little about the military I have always been intimidated by the nomenclature and as a result I usually have tended to shy away from these subjects. But there was something about this book that drew me in. In the opening pages of "The Pointblank Directive: Three Generals and the Untold Story of the Daring Plan That Saved D-Day" author L. Douglas Keeney made a point of telling his readers that he was going to make this book as readable as possible for general audiences. And that he did. I simply could not put this book down.

As early as the fall of 1938 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt could see the handwriting on the wall. On October 16th, FDR approved a secret plan that called for the production of 15000 war planes annually. This critical decision helped pave the way for the United States to enter the European Theater shortly after Pearl Harbor. There was no getting around it--this was going to be a long, drawn out, costly and extremely bloody affair. We learn that the Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO) aligned the operations of the British Royal Air Force with those of the United States Army Air Forces into a cohesive battle plan for an attack against various targets in Germany. However, as the summer of 1943 approached things were not going particularly well for the allied forces. Thus, a new strategy was devised at the highest levels and was dubbed "The Pointblank Directive". According to Mr.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Destruction Of The Luftwaffe February 5, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Pointblank Directive was the mandate given to the Eighth Air Force to focus on the destruction of the German Luftwaffe. This objective was to be completed by the time the Allies were ready to invade Europe in June, 1944. Led by generals Carl Spaatz, Jimmy Doolittle, and Pete Quesada, the bombers and fighters of the Eighth Air Force began an unrelenting attack on German airfields, factories, ball bearing plants, oil production facilities, and transportation networks. The goal was to completely neutralize the Luftwaffe and its ability to interfere with the D-Day landings.

Led by Doolittle and Spaatz, the Eighth's B-17s and B-24s attacked such targets as Schweinfurt, Regensburg, Rheine, Munster, and others. These attacks, ever-increasing in size, were focused on destroying the vital components in the aircraft production process.

While the heavies were hitting the production facilities of the Luftwaffe, Quesada and his fighters were causing havoc of their own. Freed by Doolittle to roam ahead of the bombers to engage German planes, the P-51s, P-47s, and P-38s went about destroying German aircraft in the skies. Further, the American fighters began to strafe and dive bomb German targets of opportunity.

Operation Pointblank was a big success. When the D-Day invasion came in June, 1944, the Luftwaffe had been so decimated by the bombers and fighters of the Eighth that they were only able to mount token resistance. The skies over Normandy were safely in Allied hands.

"The Pointblank Directive" is a very good book. Written in a style that is easy to read, author L. Douglas Keeney has done a fine job in describing this important part of the European air war.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad I read it
I'm glad I read it. Having read many many books on WWII in Europe, I think the author does not have a clear vision of the true effectiveness of our bombers. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Historic account.
I'm more interested in first-person narrative and this book is more about the big-picture. If that's your interest it's a good book. Good, but not quite my cup of tea.
Published 1 month ago by Mike P.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read about the air war in Europe
Good read about the air war in Europe, how it progressed, and how the Normandy battlefield was prepared and isolated prior to D-Day. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the REAL story of hoe Air Power brought ...
This is the REAL story of hoe Air Power brought the Allies to victory. It wasn't strategic bombing as the Air Force would have you believe. Read more
Published 1 month ago by CAPT James Kent, USNR (ret)
5.0 out of 5 stars Good history of the Army Air Force battle for European ...
Good history of the Army Air Force battle for European air superiority to ensure the success of the D-day landings. Interspersed with interesting personal stories of veterans. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Herb Hurst
5.0 out of 5 stars great behind the scenes history not well known
World war 2 still surprises when you read books like this that tell history behind the scenes where a few changes can mean everything
Published 2 months ago by Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed reading
Well written, well researched. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this
Published 3 months ago by T. Samoska
3.0 out of 5 stars For me a good introduction into the details of the WWII European air...
For me a good introduction into the details of the WWII European air war. A major surprise was the poor editing with a number of obvious typos and a narrative style that frequently... Read more
Published 7 months ago by LostInSpace
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great insight of the air war over Germany.Way the Air Force went on the offensive and way it worked.
Published 7 months ago by Donald Marsh
5.0 out of 5 stars A special world war I I story
What a great book because unlike most history novels that are too tedious with details, this story is flush with insights. My dad was a radio man but he never made it to Europe. Read more
Published 7 months ago by retired reader
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More About the Author

L. Douglas Keeney is the bestselling author of more than a dozen histories of the events that shaped American and world history. He has been well reviewed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Newsweek, The New Yorker, The Courier-Journal, Publisher's Weekly, the Portland Book Review, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Fox, and many other media outlets. He is a frequent speaker and keynoter, and a dedicated researcher.

"Keeney's passion is to unearth the lost voices of American history -- the stories of unselfish sacrifice, as he calls them -- and through those voices tell the stories that are the fabric of the nation we know today."

Keeney earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Southern California and was a sponsored post-graduate student at the Institute of Advanced Advertising Studies in New York City. He worked for 18 years on Madison Avenue and Wilshire Blvd before writing his first book. During his years in marketing he was the recipient of numerous awards and served as a board member of several industry associations.

Keeney lives in Kentucky with his wife, the journalist Jill Johnson Keeney. He is a pilot and scuba diver and spends his free time visiting archives to further his research.

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