Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Pacific Air: How Fearless Flyboys, Peerless Aircraft, and Fast Flattops Conquered the Skies in the War with Japan Hardcover – May 31, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“A well-researched, well-written work…The different engineering of such planes as the TBF Avenger, F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat is well explained and will surely be of interest to the subset of readers fascinated by aeronautical design and how it affects combat success.”
“A nuts-and-bolts, briefing room viewpoint…An accurate, detailed narrative, covering the War in the Pacific at squadron level…Worth reading.”
“The stories in this book should be taught in every American history class, and in every military basic training course.”
“A great read...Bring[s] the war to life…A great look at the Pacific War from the air, capturing all the cockiness, drama, and heartbreak as friends are lost, some never to be seen again. Anybody with an interest in World War II will find this a valuable addition to their collection.”
“A compelling, readable account of aerial combat.”
Kirkus Reviews, 5/1/11
“As a former naval officer who served during Vietnam, Sears brings an insider's knowledge of combat to this comprehensive history of the air war in the Pacific during World War II…A lively depiction of America's development of superior air power.”
“[An] engaging historical narrative of air efforts against the Japanese.”
“If you are a WWII history buff, you will want to get a copy of this book. It is a well-written history of brave pilots, smart tactics, and timely engineering ll in a very readable format.”
“A most useful, readable, and far-reaching account…Sears brings a vitality and dedication to fully understanding the events about which he writes…Sears has covered a huge amount of useful and interesting information in a concise and extremely readable narrative.”
“Sears writes in an engaging and fluent manner, deftly selecting the telling fact or compelling incident to bring his subject to life…Will entertain military buffs interested in rousing tales of fighter pilots ‘yankin' and bankin'’ in aerial combat.”
About the Author
Top customer reviews
First-hand memoirs of the Pacific Theater have their place, but there is something majestic about a proper "bird's eye" view history like this. The Pacific is a vast location, and anyone attempting to wage war over it could not possibly keep track of everything that would be happening. It was pure chaos, where battle plans were dashed on a daily basis from both sides. The task of the warriors in the Pacific War was to control the chaos, and make order out of the various engagements where combatants would blindly grope towards each other with submarines, carriers, and patrol planes. David Sears' task was to sort through the chaff and relate the efforts of these warriors into a seamless narrative. It sure wasn't an orderly story for those involved!
Sears has succeeded in crafting order from chaos, and it is in that view that this book makes for page-turning reading. Not a quick read for the casual wargamer out there. Prepare to sweat this one out along with the combatants. War is hell where everything goes wrong, see it all happen again with this excellent theater-wide study.
Look at the end of the book first - there you have all the acronyms used, and there are a lot of them (did you know the difference between a TBS and TBM?). Many good personal accounts and detail, it makes you feel inside the carriers and planes. Best of all is the Grumman story: this is an important book for fans of the F4F and Hellcat (a lot less attention is given to the torpedo and dive bombers of other manufacturers).
To be critical: maybe this book was written for fighter pilots, but I found it a bit too technical, as if the reader should know quite a lot about aviation and dogfighting. I still do not know what a "high side deflection shot" is supposed to be. The story of dogfights gets a bit repetitive - those fighter pilots always shoot at the wing root of Japanese planes.
It was intriguing to learn how Grumman, when it turned over "Avenger" manufacturing to General Motors, delivered a dozen such aircraft to a pre-war rival, put together with sheet metal screws so the team at GM could easily disassemble the entire aircraft, study it in detail, and thus more swiftly retool their assembly line and continue mass production without let up. When you contrast that type of cooperation with the "feudalistic" rivalries and "secrets" within the Nazi system of industry it reinforces just how incredibly united we were during that war to see the task through to victory and a "thank God," that in spite of Speer's efforts to create a unified cooperative manufacturing system for Hitler, it was too little too late.
I was familiar with the famed "Thatch Weave" maneuver of Wildcat pilots as a counter response to the far more maneuverable Zeroes (if you try that maneuver while flying, definitely make sure your partner in the other plane knows exactly what they are doing!), but assumed it was something he had just "thought up," under the stress of combat in early 1942, and did not know the real story that it was a problem that Thatch was working on even before the war, sitting at the dining room table with match sticks or wooden blocks, pondering the reports about a mysterious new fighter plane the Japanese had in China that was out performing anything that dared to venture up to face them and how to turn the tables on the soon to be legendary Zero. Stories like that are intriguing and this book is replete with accounts that will resonant with both pilots and those who are interested in the aviation history of that time. So with that in mind I rate this one a five star and can forgive the errors that I noticed and a few other critics point out. Having been burned a few times myself with believing an account later proven wrong, or mixing a number up is darn embarrassing when the critics grab hold so I do understand how such things happen and it did not detract from enjoying this book and learning from it. (Now if only I had the horsepower to try the Hellcat maneuver of a vertical climb out until the guy pursuing me stalls!)