John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest US fighter pilot ever - the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than 40 seconds. Some recall him as the father of our country's most legendary fighter aircraft - the F-15 and F-16. Still, others think of Boyd as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu. They know only half the story.
Boyd, more than any other person, saved fighter aviation from the predations of the Strategic Air Command. His manual of fighter tactics changed the way every air force in the world flies and fights. He discovered a physical theory that forever altered the way fighter planes were designed. Later in life, he developed a theory of military strategy that has been adopted throughout the world, and even applied to business models for maximizing efficiency. On a personal level, Boyd rarely met a general he couldn't offend. He was loud, abrasive, and profane. A man of daring, ferocious passion and intractable stubbornness, he was that most American of heroes - a rebel who cared not for his reputation or fortune, but for his country.
©2002 Robert Coram (P)2016 Tantor
Read the book in 2005. Thought it was a topic long overdo. Was excited and still impressed by its long bull session quality. Coram spins a good yarn. While I can enjoy from his go get them style, it tends to blanket the narrative. He goes to the trouble of showing the cost Boyd's career choices cost him as a father, but his family is never a serious part of the narrative. The bureaucracy is equally superficial. In some ways listening to the story bought out more of the flaws than reading it did. I think I down play the awkward parts. I get the idea that Boyd was confrontational, but the narrative managed to make him buffoonish, not a maverick. Still it does convey a sense of the man and his ideas quite well. 8 17 2016
History buff and Heraldic Artist...
This was not what I expected at all but turned into a fascinating story about the military machine. At first it seems as if it is written by a Boyd evangelist (and it occasionally takes a trip back to that feeling throughout) but it is an amazing story none the less. It is not so much about a fighter pilot as about a man whom I believe was somewhere on the autism spectrum and managed to do some pretty amazing feats inside of a huge government bureaucracy. Do not get this book expecting dogfight descriptions, though there are some. Just get it and let it take you down the path it wants to. You will not regret it if you like a good story.
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