Walter Boyne, at one time the curator of the famous Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, spins an engrossing tale of the evolution of air power over the course of World War II. From the Japanese overreach and over reliance on a small cadre of irreplaceable carrier pilots--who demise spelled certain doom for their overextended empire--to the fulfilling of FDR's prescient claim of America's intent to build 100,00 aircraft, Boyne lays out a vast canvass that touches on many aspects of the aerial WWII. Russian aircraft are also given proper attention, including their redoubtable ground support aircraft the Sturmovik--a sort of armored flying bathtub that gained the enemy's respect as evidenced by its German nickname "Schwarz Tod" (i.e. Black Death).
Other surprising revelations include the fact that the B-29 Superfortresses, which dropped the atomic bombs that annihilated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were actually more expensive to develop than the atomic bombs themselves. Also interesting was the strategic decision of General Curtis LeMay (the model for George C. Scott's character in "Dr. Strangelove") to use the B-29 in the incendiary bombing of Japanese cities because conventional bombing required low-level flying that resulted in the downing of too many American aircraft.
German aircraft like the Stuka and the Me 109 are seen to have given Germany an early advantage, but were soon to be matched and then overtaken by American and British efforts that resulted in the Spitfire, P-51, and P-47--with allied long range bombers making their German counterparts seem like mere toys by comparison. Later German efforts such as the Folkwulf 190 fighter and the Me 262 jet aircraft are shown to be too little to late. German complacency early in the war idled German aircraft production while the British, American, and Russian factories were working 24-7 to churn out the fighters and bombers that blackened the skies of the Axis with their ever-increasing numbers. Likewise, the all-too-flammable Japanese Zero (later dubbed "The Flying Cigarette Lighter" by its own beleaguered pilots) was eventually undone by the American carrier-born Hellcat and Corsair. Nor were the Russians shown to slackers--as their fielding of excellent fighter aircraft drove the Germans from their skies--despite that fact that much of the superstructure of such aircraft relied on plywood construction.
Very good over view of air power use in WW II. Gives insight into how each countries perception molded their approach to design and implementation of aircraft into their war plans. You also get to see how failures were addressed and corrections made. The incredible amount of effort, raw materials, and construction time used to build and man these machines is laid out in good detail. Another great book by Mr. Boyne.
There are a lot of books on the air war in WW II. This has to be one of the better ones. Retired Air Force Col. Boyne brings a lot of experience to the subject and the opinions he expresses make good sense. I enjoyed the TV show and the book.