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

L Keeney
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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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: 29696 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:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,695 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 83 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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23 of 23 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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9 of 10 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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17 of 21 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent WWll Aviation History January 22, 2013
By golfer
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pointblank Directive is an excellent book on WWll aviation history focusing on the 8th and 2nd air forces, their fighter escorts and how air tactics shifted from strategic bombing to attacking the Luftwaffe and Germany's aircraft production facilities. It is well written for history novices and has enough detail to make it an interesting read. It could have included more specific information on the generals involved and their decision making and maybe a little less on the bombing raids which became sort of repetive reading. Good book overall and some interesting photos.
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4 of 5 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 Job well done.
Job well done by author Keeney and especially well done by General Tooey Spaatz and his aviators. It's worth remembering that no allied boots had been on the continent between... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Erl Gould Purnell
4.0 out of 5 stars Pointblank was interesting
I learned many things about the war in the skies that I never new before. For a history book it kept my interest and almost classified as a page turner.
Published 12 days ago by Jefferson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Read
Keeney presents an incredible insight into the plight of a bomber pilot. He narrates a great deal of the mechanism of the war machine that moved it from obscene failures to... Read more
Published 13 days ago by F. Ellsworth
2.0 out of 5 stars garbage
Poorly written and very confused structure in most parts. Pathetically emotional. A throwback to military history of the old type.
Published 14 days ago by blofeld0101
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost TOO true
Very well written account of the airwar using the words of those who fought it to illustrate how both sides approached the action. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Lennon's Keep
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
This is a very good information about the history of the air war in England by the Eight Air Force during the beiging of WWII
Published 18 days ago by Gene Kerr
5.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective on D-day.
The book examines the lead up to D-day from a perspective not as common, the air war. It answers a question I had not considered, where was the German Air Force on June 6, 1944? Read more
Published 23 days ago by David H. Dixon Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars War is hell
This book certainly shows how terrible war really can be, especially for the men who have go up in warplanes.
Published 28 days ago by P. Tamm
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Story Well Told and Worth Reading!
A wonderfully written and engaging book! Tremendously informative and often extremely moving. The author leaves no doubt that Allied air power and the Point blank Directive were... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gilberto Villahermosa
5.0 out of 5 stars I
An accurate account. I relived six months of my life as an 19 year old 2nd lt.navigator on a b17 prior to the invasion.
Published 1 month ago by Arthur J. Calace,
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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, and others. He is a frequent speaker 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 attributes his interest in books to his grandmother's attic. As a young boy in the 1960s, Keeney spent many happy hours digging through dusty boxes and an old desk, a project that occupied his imagination and gave rise to his work as an author. Oddly, it wasn't the objects he found in that attic that fascinated him but rather the crumpled newspapers wrapped around the mementos of his grandmothers life that triggered his interest in research and discovery. When unfolded, those papers spoke about World War II and events in American history that before were just words in a dull history book. Keeney was hooked

As he did years ago, Keeney continues to rummage through the attic - in this case the federal archives where American history reposes. Since his first book in 1992, Keeney has sifted through documents in 26 federal and military archives in 14 states. He discovered boxes of John F. Kennedy photographs at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida which JFK had visited during his presidency and from that discovery created a book with Pierre Salinger called John F. Kennedy: Commander-in-Chief. He found the first declassified copy of the US Government's doomsday scenario at the National Archives in Washington, DC, which was also released as a book. He unearthed long lost records of a nuclear accident in the Pacific at the Department of Energy archives in Las Vegas.

Keeney earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Southern California and was a sponsored post-graduate 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.

Keeney lives in Kentucky with his wife, the journalist Jill Johnson Keeney. and when he isn't working he is mowing the lawn - or organizing his own attic.

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