The firebombing of Tokyo. Strategic Air Command. John F. Kennedy. Dr. Strangelove. George Wallace. All of these have one man in common - General Curtis LeMay, who remains as enigmatic and controversial as he was in life.
Until now. Warren Kozak traces the trajectory of America’s most infamous general, from his troubled background and heroic service in Europe to his firebombing of Tokyo, guardianship of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in the Cold War, frustrated career in government, and short-lived political run. Curtis LeMay’s life spanned an epoch in American military history, from the small U.S. Army Air Corps of the interwar years to the nuclear age.
LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay, tells the whole story of the innovative pilot and navigator; the courageous general who led his bomber formations from the front, flying the lead bomber; the brilliant strategist; the unflagging patriot; and the founder of modern strategic bombing, who was both famous and notorious. The book is an unprecedented glimpse into the might and mind of one of the founding fathers of air power, whose influence, and controversy, continues to this day.
©2009 Warren Kozak (P)2012 Phoenix
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Curtis LeMay is one of the more misunderstood heroes of WW II. His legacy was tarnished by his decision to run with George Wallace in 1968. Yet he was one of the most effective military leaders of his era who simply has not gotten the credit he is due. I don’t recall hearing much about LeMay in the various histories of that era, but this book highlights the significant contribution this man made to the Allied war effort in both Europe and Japan. His success in whatever he undertook is quite remarkable.
LeMay was known to be a demanding leader. He came into difficult situations and figured out how to fix them. Perhaps the most controversial was his decision to use incendiary bombs on Japan. LeMay thought he could destroy all industrial cities in Japan by October, a few weeks ahead of the planned invasion in November. The atomic bomb brought an end to that. Later he organized the Berlin Airlift and set up the Strategic Air Command. Worth a read!
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