• Whirlwind

  • The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945
  • By: Barrett Tillman
  • Narrated by: Mel Foster
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

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Whirlwind

By: Barrett Tillman
Narrated by: Mel Foster
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Publisher's Summary

Whirlwind is the only book to examine in depth the human drama behind the most important bombing campaign in history. While the air war against Nazi Germany has been covered in-depth by many books, Barrett Tillman, a renowned authority on military aircraft and the air war in the Pacific, is the first to tackle the air war against Japan.

For decades, historians and politicians have debated whether or not Japan was on the verge of surrender in August 1945 - before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tillman argues that for all the widespread death and suffering, the bombing of Japan remains a great example of air power's ability to end a long, bitter, and bloody war without invasion.

Writing from the perspective of the aircrews and the generals and admirals who commanded them, Tillman examines all aspects of the human drama of the war, combining historical analyses with the words of survivors from both sides of the bomb.

©2009 Barrett Tillman (P)2010 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“A blow-by-blow history of the Allied air offensive against Japan during World War II.... Tightly focused, sure-footed military history.” ( Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about Whirlwind

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Good, but ultimately disappointing

I misunderstood this book to be one about the entire air effort of the allies against Japan in the Pacific theatre. It is, however, limited to a study of the effort to bomb Japan itself. There is an interesting section about the attempt to bomb Japan with B-29's from China and discussions of the need to fire bomb and then to drop the atom and hydrogen bombs. Unfortunately there is way too much data and not nearly enough personal interest. The book suffers eventually from the constant narration of the numbers of planes in particular raids, how much tonnage was dropped, how many planes returned, etc. There is very little about or from the fliers themselves - though the introduction notes the veterans are dieing away and their stories with them. And there is too much about the generals and admirals. This book would have benefited greatly if it included much more about those whose rank was less than Major. It fits in my library of WW2 books and resources, but it is more of a reference book than an engaging and personal history that warrants a reread.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A great study of the Pacific Air Campaign

This was well researched, logically presented, full of great factoids & examples. I loved it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great book

This was a wonderful book to listen to- really brought the period alive. The narrator did an excellent job!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A workmanlike effort

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

For someone unfamiliar with the air war against Japan, this book provides a good summary of the history and some worth while glimpses into what it meant to fly in that struggle. For this sort of reader, it is well worth the read.

Any additional comments?

This is a good basic book. For readers with a more sophisticated grasp of World War II history, this book doesn't add anything new or startling. As I said, a workmanlike effort.

2 people found this helpful

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Outstanding in every way.

Another excellent book from one of the very best. From start to finish this book was compelling. Author Barrett examines the origins and execution of the air campaign against Japan in 1944 and '45. From India and China to the vast Pacific this is a thorough study of the last year of the air campaign against the Japanese Empire. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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Another great volume by Tillman!

For starters let's just say that Tillman has never failed to provide great history, great writing and substantial works to the fields of Aviation history. his scholarship knowledge of the men involved personal interviews and intimate knowledge of the aircraft themselves makes this another great volume from which to learn.
This book provides a balanced look at both the Navy and the Army Air Force in the second world war in the Pacific. It is not just another set of gun camera stories, but typical Tillman's scholarship, it discusses the logistics, the tactics, the strategies, the aircraft as technology and weapon, and Japan as a strong willed enemy while still giving one a close look into the people involved on all levels of the campaigns to victory.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, questionable pronunciations

Overall, a very good book and generally speaking a very good performance. However, some of the narrators pronunciations of words are unbelievably questionable. For example, how any any experienced narrator could mispronounce the word “angels” as “angles” is beyond me.

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Profile Image for PAUL A HERBERT
  • PAUL A HERBERT
  • 12-19-20

Punished!

Those flyers were so brave...you can imagine the frustration. An incredibly interesting account of a demanding air war. Interesting to review from our modern perspective. It’s hard to believe that from the Japanese leadership down to the POW camps guards - that they got off so lightly...

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Profile Image for Anonymous (Australia)
  • Anonymous (Australia)
  • 10-24-15

Excellent Book

While I was expecting a more detailed assessment of the use of air power against Japan in the Pacific, such as in the notable carrier battles, this book is specifically focussed on operations against the home islands. Nevertheless, it is a brief and insightful read. The book is primarily informational, but the author does draw some conclusions of his own (which are all backed up by facts).

I would have preferred the book was longer, as operations against many Japanese cities are not detailed individually, but all of the key themes regarding strategic bombing in Japan(technical, military, political, moral, historical) and their effects are detailed in an engaging and readable way.